June 19-24, 2017
Shelburne, New Hampshire
We arrived at our new home for the week into a heavily wooded campground. Pulling in we were excited to see the trees and firepits, but no sooner did we open the doors, we were bombarded with mosquitoes. They were attacking from all sides, in your mouth and nose. Poor Guy stayed outside to get us all hooked up, while I was very happy doing the inside set up. I did get out the spray with 40% deet, we sprayed like crazy…very thankful that those nasty critters didn’t like the stuff and left us alone.
There was a walking trail along the Androscoggin River, just down from our site. After our 4 hour drive we needed a little exercise, hoping the spray would keep the mosquitoes at bay. The trail was a loop, along the river and thru a meadow filled with flowers. The river was large and very fast moving, there were kayaks we could to use but the current was so strong you could be miles away in minutes with no way of getting back.
There was rain almost every day we were there, but luckily the afternoons were dry so we could have a fire…the hotter the fire…less mosquitoes. We never did eat or cook outside…we were not to excited to find out what mosquitoes tasted like.
There are 2 other towns not to far away, Gorham and Berlin. Berlin seemed to be a dying town, most of the stores and restaurants were closed and boarded up. Gorham was a more thriving town, they even had a Walmart and a Dollar General. Carolyn and I had decided to go have a girls day…lunch and shopping…between the two towns we found pizza and chinese buffet. Luckily they had a McDonalds, chicken nuggets and burgers!! What was amazing were the signs that said “Lobster is Back”…a lobster roll for $8.99! At McDonalds?? Who knew.
For weeks Carolyn and Gary had been talking about all the “Moose” they had seen in this area, momma’s with babies, dads with big racks! They made it seem like we would see a plethora of “Moose”!!! How exciting was that…we had not seen a moose since Alaska about 7 yrs ago.
We see one “Moose” in the trees, far, far away, we can’t see his face, he hears us, and moves back among the trees…does this count as a “Moose” sighting?…not in my book…
so far these are the “Moose” we have found..these don’t count!
We drove many miles checking out the area around us and even into Maine up in the high country where there is only one main road. We checked out many streams and rivers…so many I have almost lost track. Looking for the proverbial “Moose”, we even waited until dusk when they would be at the watering holes, munching on the grass. Nope no “Moose”.
Outside of Gorham is Mt Washington, the mountain is 6,288 feet, there are two ways to get to the top, the “Cog Train” or the Mt. Washington Auto Road. The cog train is $69 – 75 round trip, while the road trip is $29 for car and driver and $9.00 for each additional person.
Yes, we choose to drive the auto road, which is not for the faint or heart. The road is very narrow, no guard rails, the average grade is 12%, hard packed gravel road, very high winds, at about the 4,200 foot level you are above the treeline.
Crystal clear days are rare on the summit of the mountain, under perfect conditions you can see the Adirondack peaks over 130 miles away. There are days you can see 60 miles to the Atlantic Ocean along the coast of Maine. The day we were there was very windy and cold. The clouds would surround us the in minutes move on, one minute we could see forever the next nothing.
The highest wind ever observed was recorded on Mt Washington. From 1932 was operated in the Summit Stage office during the storm of 1934, the wind measured 231 miles an hour. Weather observers staff the observatory 236 days a year, 24 hours a day, thru fierce, fast changing weather, heavy snow and icing collecting weather data.
Most of the moutainous area of Mt Washington is part of the White Mountain National Forest. The 725,000 acres are public property and is managed for its timber production, hunting and fishing and recreation.
The Cog Railway was the first cog train in the U.S. and started its trip up the mountain in July 1869. There are vintage steam engines and replica coaches. A cog railway is a steep railway with a toothed rack rail, usually between two smooth rails. Trains are fitted with one or more cog wheels that follow the track, this allows the trains to operate on steep grades, 7-10% grades.
The hunt for “Moose” was still on.. we kept driving the roads of New Hampshire, down to the Kancamagus Pass, that reaches 2890 feet, over to Lincoln, checking out the views as far as we could see, and then back over into Conway. Cameras ready, eyes always on the look out…
The NH map had little pictures to show where the “Moose” hung out, where waterfalls were located and even the old covered bridges!! With all that information we should be seeing so many awesome things…well, off we went to find Thompson Falls, it took many wrong turns and at least 1/2 hr to find the hiking trail. We prevailed and started our short .7 hike, along the stream, spirits high, after atleast a mile with no falls, we were all thinking we must be on the wrong trail…so we gave up…later we found out we had not gone far enough…
The trail wasn’t a bust for me as I found “Ladies Slipper” flowers all along the trail, I had not seen these flowers since I was a kid in Mass.
We even drove along hwy 17, into Maine up to MooseLookmeguntic Lake, (seriously that’s the name) timing our drive to arrive in the area of Errol, back in NH where the “Moose” have their own crossing signs….
On our way to Errol we stopped on the Sunday River and found this awesome covered bridge, it was built in 1872.
We did find a couple of covered bridges but even these were hard to find..about 3 we never did find…oh well, there is always next time.
We also went thru Rumford, ME, where we stopped at the visitors center to pick up some maps and information. Paul Bunyan was there with his blue ox, Babe. Paul Bunyan is a giant lumberjack in American folklore. There are tall tales that revolve around his superhuman labors. His character originated with the North American loggers.
At the visitors center Carolyn and I met up with 4 men just sitting in the office and talking away…they wanted to know about us and if we needed a partner to tag along! They gave us some great info on Coos Canyon.
Coos Canyon looked like a popular place for a warm day as there were people in swimsuits climbing the rocks and swimming! There was a store across the street that served lunch, ice cream and had a gift shop attached. It was decided we all needed ice cream, we sat outside looking at the waterfalls, in the sun and enjoyed the cool refreshing treat.
We have heard that the best time to view “Moose” is between dusk to dawn. So we timed our drive so we would be driving down hwy 16 at dusk about 6:30. Drive slowly they said… so slowly we went down hwy 16 thru the town of Errol…heading back to camp.
We are on our last day here in the White Mountain area, it’s getting dark we are heading down from Errol, it’s beautiful as the sun sets on the water, the trees look darker, you can see the reflection on the water of the big puffy, white, red and gray clouds, the many ponds with ducks swimming, reeds swaying with the breeze around the edges of the water, “Moose” prints in the mud, our necks are hurting from turning in all directions, our eyes have eye strain from trying to see thru the trees, we are hungry and headed for a pizza dinner, but where the heck are the “Moose”?
Stay with us as we head into Jackman, Maine, while we look for the proverbial “Moose”. We will be about 15 miles from the Canadian border, with only one road going that up to Canada and the border crossing. The big question is “will we find “Moose”.
Until next time, y’all have a very Blessed 4th of July holiday.