North Conway, NH

Friday, July 8, 2022

Andover/Marblehead, MA, to North Conway, NH

Mostly sunny, 80

We left Andover about 10:30 and headed for Green Meadows Camping Area in Glen, NH, just north of North Conway. We’re familiar with the area because we participate in a cross country ski trip with the Kick ‘n Gliders every year.

We were set up in our nicely wooded campsite by 2:30 and, after a light lunch, headed out to do some shopping; Lucy hardware for a night light, Camping World for some roof repair tape, LL Bean Outlet and Hannaford’s for groceries. I had identified the source of the leak that allowed water to rot the floor of our slide out. The roof repair tape was to repair the leak in the slide out roof which was caused by improperly installed tape at the factory.

Dinner was leftovers including cod, shrimp, sweet potatoes along with a caprese salad.

Saturday, July 9, 2022

North Conway, NH

Gorgeous, mid 70s, sunny

The top of Mount Washington on the Great Glen Auto Road was today’s big event. We ski the beautiful Great Glen trails every winter and rode one of their tracked “snow coaches” half way up the mountain one winter. (It’s much too dangerous to try to take a coach any further in the winter.) At that time, it was minus 30°F and blowing 40 mph halfway up the mountain; cold enough for us!

In Winter this Space is Packed with Cross Country Ski Gear

The private road is family owned and they have a wonderful, free “Red Barn Museum” at the bottom which exhibits an array of vehicles used to carry people to the top over the years.  Driving the road is sort of a white knuckle event so we signed up for a guided coach tour instead of driving ourselves. That way we could pay attention to the scenery. It was a spectacularly clear day and 42°F and blowing 25 at the top; easy peasy!

1918 Pierce Arrow Used to Carry Visitors on the Auto Road

The 7.6 mile road climbs 4,618 feet to an altitude of 6,145 feet. The guided ride to the top takes 30 minutes. (The current record is 5 minutes, 28.67 seconds, set in 2021 by Travis Pastrana driving a 600 horsepower, “in name only” Subaru WRX STI rally car.) We spent our allotted hour at the top enjoying the views and watching Cog Railway cars arrive at the top from the west side of the mountain.

Look Carefully in the Background to See the Network of Hiking Trails
Obligatory Photo on Top of Mount Washington

In addition there is a visitor center with a museum, a NOAA weather station and a search and rescue facility as well as a reproduction of the original weather station that was chained down to bedrock to keep it from being blown away in the ferocious winds at the summit.

Reproduction Weather Station Illustrates How It Was Chained in Place

Dinner was pasta with red sauce, sausage, onion and zucchini.

Sunday, July 10, 2022

North Conway, NH

Gorgeous day, cool morning, high 70s

We started out to hike to the top of nearby Cathedral Ledge, a long, granite outcropping. We started on the trail but my knees began to rebel when we began the first of at least two long, steep rock hop sections of the trail.

Part Way Up First Rock-Hopping Part of Cathedral Ledge Trail

So, we descended and walked an alternate trail that led to Echo Lake in the like-named state park. The lake is a spring-fed glacial kettle lake with no inlet or outlet. It is beautiful, a true gem! Because it receives only a small amount of runoff from adjacent woodlands the water is both clear and warm. The beaches are mostly sand and visitors sunbathe on them and swim and kayak from them. The state parking lot is small so it’s not very crowded.

View of Ledge Across Echo Lake

Returning to our car we drove to the top of the ledge for the view and to rock spot climbers who favor the ledge. There, below us, was Echo Lake, as pretty a gem from overhead as up close and personal.

Climbers Prepare for Next Leg of Their Ascent

Finally we went into town to visit Whittaker Woods, a system of trails that we often ski. Since many of the trails are level we decided to ride our bikes on them. Well, now we know why they are so good to ski even when there is little snow. They are very smooth and covered with wood chips. Easy skiing and walking but not for biking. It’s like constantly climbing a hill. We were out of there in just a couple of miles!

Riding Wittaker Place Trail Not What We’d Hoped

Dinner was burgers, fresh corn on the cob and caprese salad. A great finish to a lovely day!