The Journey is the Destination

Franconia Notch State Park in New Hampshire

in Day Trips/Hiking/Nature/New Hampshire by

10462326_715986091790031_3765277779485824203_nWe have driven through Franconia Notch State Park in New Hampshire a hundred times as it is the half way point between where I used to live in Maine and where we live now in New Hampshire. We always look up at the amazing mountains, see the signs for various attractions and just keep on driving. There is so much to do in the Franconia Notch area of New Hampshire but honestly, you have to like the outdoors. Luckily, we both do!

 

We met my sister in North Conway on Saturday and then explored Franconia on Sunday. We would have met sooner but we had been at the Charles River in Mass the day before. I’m glad we chose to do it this way because Saturday was overcast and our views wouldn’t have been as breathtaking.

 

I booked a great hotel deal for all of us right in Lincoln, NH for a fraction of the normal price through Hotels.com. The hotel offers a package for meals so we ate a yummy breakfast right at Woodward’s Resort and then hit the road to explore! Our first stop was the  Flume Gorge at the base of Mount Liberty.

 

The Flume Gorge was nothing like I expected it to be even though I looked at pictures of it on Trip Advisor when planning this trip. It was discovered in 1808 when a 93 year old woman wandered on to it while fishing. Her family didn’t believe her at first. It is a slit in the mountain with a beautiful waterfall (Avalanche Falls) at the beginning of it. Along both sides, vegetation grows vibrantly green and reminds me of the Rain Forest. Even on this hot summer day, it was cool and damp as we walked on the wooden path that had been constructed up the middle. The walls on either side are 70-90 feet tall and 10-20 feet apart, depending where you are.

The path up is about 2 miles and a few spots get your heart pounding. Overall, it was intermediate and we met a couple 4 or 5 year olds walking up with their dad.

 

On the way up to the Gorge there are a couple other views to check out. My favorite was the covered bridge. As a walker we were not allowed on it but it is a beautiful red covered bridge and the view of the river on either side is wonderful!

 

10676234_715985988456708_5612994495454995250_nAlso on the way was an area where the flat rocks wash over with the cold river water and are flat. It is like this probably a quarter of a mile. We noticed where people had thrown some rocks in one section so the water spouted up. It looked like the water was bubbling out of the ground.

 

Near the top of the gorge is The Pulpit, a naturally hollowed out groove in the rocks that really does resemble a pulpit. Because it was so dark in that area our picture didn’t come out the best. But for all of our pictures, including that one, (you guessed it!) check out our Facebook page for Wayward Wanderers.

 

 

10377988_715986658456641_4656126705851311649_nAt the very top of the gorge is Bear Cave. Bill and I ventured in to it and got a nice picture of a couple bears there. Look closely at his teeth… scary!

 

At the top, there is a choice to go down the other side of the stream, back by the covered bridge, but we felt we already saw that part and opted for the other route.

 

This path took us down a nice road and to another covered bridge for walkers called Sentinel Pine Bridge. Interestingly, the bridge got it’s name from a large pine that once stood near this area. It fell in 1938 during a hurricane though and now part of this massive 175 foot tall pine is the main beam of the bridge.

As you walk down to the bridge, there is opportunity to look over the edge and down 80 feet to The Pool. The Pool is part of the Pemigewasset and is beautiful. The water is so clean and inviting, even at over a hundred feet above it! The Pool is 150 feet in diameter and is a breathtaking surprise.

 

The Pool on the Flume Gorge trail in Franconia NHWhile we were wowed by the Flume, we were equally impressed with The Pool. And it what came after it, on the other side of the Sentinel Pine Bridge…

 

Once we crossed over the bridge, we saw a sign for the Wolf’s Den. Bill and I both were excited to check out and quickly went down the stairs and started making our way in. My sister, on the other hand, said it was no place for her! It could be because she was wearing a dress or because it just looked creepy. Either way, Bill and I were the adventurers with this one… or so we thought.

 

10570296_715987111789929_9052825921067688879_nWe didn’t make the whole way through. Once we started in, we saw they weren’t kidding about having to crawl on hands and knees in some spots. I loved how cool and damp it was in there though!

 

We back tracked just a little ways to meet up with our party and carried on. But then we heard others making their way through the den and went and watched them. We never would have made it through the NARROW passageway.

 

Overall the loop was an easy walk and I would recommend it to just about anyone. For those that can’t do the small climb in the beginning, there are buses that drive up there. We met some small children and their dad on our way down and while they were asking how much further it was, they did it without problem.

 

Tip: If you are making a day of the area, be sure to buy the Discovery Pass. It Includes Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway as well.

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