2011 Vacation: Day Twelve: Franconia Notch and White Mountains National Forest

Entrance to the Flume Gorge, Near Lincoln, NH
Entrance to the Flume Gorge, Near Lincoln, NH

The weather didn’t cooperate with us much today.  I ran a few miles toward the entrance to Franconia Notch State Park in the morning.  After breakfast in our room, we headed to the Flume Gorge.  The Flume Gorge is a gorge created by falling water over many years that has cut its way through the rock.  Many of the views were spectacular.

Walking up the Flume Gorge
Walking up the Flume Gorge

It drizzled and rained on us throughout our visit, but the views were nonetheless exciting.  Because of the rain, the water was falling a little faster than normal through the gorge.

Side note:  I found that in general the employees at the New Hampshire state parks are neither helpful, friendly, nor personable.  It seems like the rangers at the national parks are much more friendly.  We had no major incident, but this is just my general impression.

The falls at the head of the Flume Gorge
The falls at the head of the Flume Gorge

The falls at the top of the gorge fall in a series of small drops over rock worn smooth over years.

Sammy discovers who is living in the "Bear Cave"
Sammy discovers who is living in the "Bear Cave"

There were a number of naturally-formed caves along the various trails we walked through the gorge.  One is this “Bear Cave.”  Another is the “Wolf Cave,” which gave the kids an opportunity to crawl through a dark tunnel formed by several large boulders resting next to and atop each other.

More falling water in the Flume Gorge
More falling water in the Flume Gorge

It’s difficult to capture the magnitude of these various falls in photographs.  You can’t really get close enough to them to put a person in the picture for perspective and scale.  Throughout the gorge the sound of rushing water is quite loud.

Driving through the White Mountain National Forest
Driving through the White Mountain National Forest

After visiting the Flume Gorge we went for lunch, hoping that the rain would clear up (as predicted) so that we could go on some SUNNY afternoon hikes.  Somehow those weather folks who can forecast global calamities associated with climate change over hundreds of years (with little real science behind those predictions) can’t seem to forecast the weather three hours from now.  The predicted all-afternoon sunshine only poked through for a couple of hours between three thirty and six in the afternoon, to be followed by rain of biblical proportions in the evening.  In any event, it was clear enough to go for a drive along the scenic highway through the White Mountains National Forest.

View from one of the many scenic overlooks
View from one of the many scenic overlooks

Despite the dreariness of the afternoon (partially compensated for with computer image manipulation magic) and the low clouds, we were able to get some nice views of the mountains and valleys between Lincoln and Conway, NH.  The low-lying clouds made some of the pictures better, while completely blocking all views from other overlooks along the highway.

Sabaday Falls
Sabaday Falls

We took a very short hike out to the Sabaday falls about halfway between Lincoln and Conway.  These falls seemed as tall as the ones in the Flume Gorge, but they didn’t have the same drama of having cut a deep crevasse through rock.

Sabaday falls with some people blocking part of the view
Sabaday falls with some people blocking part of the view
Our hotel
Our hotel

We really like our hotel in Lincoln.  Many of the hotels in Lincoln have retained a nostalgic feel, including many separate, small cabins.  The Mt. Coolidge Hotel is no exception.  It has the feel of a hotel in the early 60’s.  It is immaculately maintained, so it doesn’t feel like an old, run-down hotel; it feels like stepping back in time a bit.

Another view of our hotel
Another view of our hotel
Sammy's balloon animal from Mo the Clown
Sammy's balloon animal from Mo the Clown

After a couple of hours at the hotel pool, we went to dinner at a family restaurant that had a clown making balloon sculptures every Wednesday night.  Sammy received this cute balloon dog.  We had planned to follow up dinner with some miniature golf, but the torrential rain put the cabash on that idea.  Instead we went back to the hotel and played a card game, called Phase 10.  Despite the poor weather most of the day, we enjoyed seeing many interesting sites and beautiful vistas.

Tomorrow we’re off to Vermont.  Those accurate weather forecasters are predicting better weather tomorrow around Killington.  We’ll see…

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