Tues. June 26, 2012- New Hampshire:
The morning started off great, I powered up for our hike with a delicious breakfast of Cap’n Crunch and Froot Loops topped with a chocolate covered mini-donut and a muffin with crumble on top. Then I bit into the muffin and yelped, it was banana. Things got better with the promise of breath-taking views along the Kancamagus Highway through the White Mountains on our way to the second hike of the vacation. Alas, the weather had other plans. At the first stop (one of many thankfully) we got out, complained that our ears had popped/were about to pop and stared out into the vast expanse of cloud cover. Only after we got to the third scenic stop did the clouds start to clear up, affording us scenic views of the mountains all around. The scenic pit stops were not just limited to mountain views; there was also a view of a gorge and a waterfall. At this point the previous days kayaking had started to kick in; I was slowly starting to hurt more and more. Thankfully I was distracted by the curvy road and the new set of mountains topped with clouds that popped up around every corner. As we drove back down out of the National Park we also stopped at the Lower Falls, which made sense given earlier and further up we had seen a river. Driving along we passed my favourite, a covered bridge, only this one was turned into a gift shop!
Our hike up Mt. Webster (second highest peak in New Hampshire at an elevation of 3911 feet, in my book I have it written down as “3000 ft-sih” ). We started our hike from Willey House Historic Site and it was fairly easy, we were on an easy trail. The only downside was the cold and the light rain. I had borrowed the inner shell of Brent’s waterproof jacket and I was amused for a while at the fact that I looked and felt like the Michelin Man. Michelin Man or not, I was warm and toasty (eventually too warm). From that trail we connected to a mildly harder one. And then on to one that pretty much wrecked me. First there were the giant, slick, 35 degree angled rocks that apparently people just climb right over, people like Brent, people in proper hiking shoes, which I was not. Running shoes sometimes are not enough. I tried; I made it to about the second rock, where in a manner reminiscent of playing Twister, I could not figure out how to turn or where to put my foot to get to the next rock. And then my foot slipped. I grumbled in a mild panic and headed back to solid ground. I refused to traverse the scary rock segment of trail and we turned back. In my defense, we did not have enough time to reach the summit anyways; we were near the time when we would have to turn back around anyways. And to add on to my misadventure I then slipped on some wet brush and slammed my thigh into a short tree branch jutting out (I had a swollen bruised lump on my thigh the size of a loonie for a week after). In total I had seen: a giant butterfly (easily the size of my hand), 2 chipmunks and a toad.
Thanks to our earlier than planned turn-around we actually had time to eat lunch! We ate at Fabyan’s restaurant (which is connected by shuttle bus to the hotel where we would be staying that night) where we were also considering eating dinner that night. I asked how big the bread bowl for the clam chowder was; the waitress mimicked the size of a hamburger bun. Perfect I thought, just the right size! What was plunked down in front of me was at least three times as big. And not only did I have more clam chowder to eat; I also had to eat the bowl. Needless, to say it was a battle I lost halfway through. Halfway through eating the bowl, I did manage to eat all the clam chowder. Admittedly it was one of the most fun meals I have ever had and it warmed me up all nice. The menu however was lacking in appeal. There was nothing that looked very appetizing for dinner. The plan for the afternoon was to ride the Cog Railroad Train to the top of Mt. Washington (the highest peak in New Hampshire). Before we boarded the train we piled on layers of clothes in the car. I had learned my lesson from the Lake Winnipesaukee cruise, it sucks being cold. From what I could see during the train ride, it must be very pretty on a clear day. It was however raining, so I only got to see the stuff close to the train, namely trees. Only when we got to the very top did we learn that Mt. Washington has the worst weather. And it was on full display that day, with horrible cold winds whipping the rain sideways. I shivered the whole way back down, my pants soaked from standing outside waiting while Brent climbed to the peak (was paranoid that he might fall and die, had to stay and make sure). The weather had worsened as our little train puttered along slowly back down the mountain, you could not see anything, just grey. At least on the way up at some point the trees were almost sideways, this was because the train was on such a steep incline (we were invited to try and stand up, and you would almost be parallel to the floor in an attempt to stand up straight).
Driving to the hotel, the Mt. Washington Resort, a wild turkey ran across the street (insert chicken’s day off joke here). This was a posh resort, because there was no self-serve parking lot, they only had valet. This threw us through a loop as we quickly scrambled to grab what we could. So much for driving somewhere for dinner, we were trapped in what looked like the Overlook Hotel from The Shining. We were trapped (it says this in notebook in all caps letters)!! Rain soaked and tired, we wandered around the hotel in our socks (our shoes were also soaked) looking at this and that. The Mt. Washington Resort really needs a map with a handy little “you are here” sticker. It took us forever to find most of the things written about in the binder. The wrap-around porch would have been great were it not for the rain, you couldn’t even see Mt. Washington from it. We went back to our room to discuss dinner options. The hotel was mysteriously devoid of candy vending machines and the soda machines left much to be desired. There was an overpriced candy store in the basement, but even their selection was subpar. Our only options were to not eat or to eat at one of the restaurants. The problem lay in the fact that half of Brent’s dress close was locked away in the car and we could not get to it. So we had to improvise. In the end I was overdressed and Brent was wearing smelly running shoes. Thankfully the tapas bar where we ate was empty. We split a bruschetta and cheese plate, chicken Caesar sliders and a tomato bruschetta pizza while Brent watched the Blue Jays game (it was weird because they were playing against the Boston Red Sox and we were in New England, as in Red Sox turf). It was a real kick to split three very messy tapas items while dressed up so fancy, but with Brent’s destroyed running shoes hidden by the table. It kept making me giggle. I was still craving sweets, but Brent was too full to split a tapas pie plate (three different types of pie!) so I caved and went to the candy store downstairs. Only I had to bum money off Brent, my wallet was also trapped in the car. Here again they did not have an extra-small, but a “kiddie” size and then a “small”, they may as well keep it consistent and call the small something like teenager. Again I ended the night enthralled by America’s Got Talent.