Thursday, October 1, 2015

September comes to an end

September Comes to an End

Can it be? Can it really be September 30? The calendar says so and we are seeing the leaves change here in Vermont, though they are not at their peak yet and pictures don't show what we see with our eyes.  We reached “100 Day” on Sept. 28 – 100 days since leaving Houston on this grand expedition. Camping in the wet is not too bad; camping in the cold is okay; but camping in the cold and wet is not much fun so we are sitting in a three-sided shelter at Smugglers Notch State Park tonight with a smoky campfire.

White Mountains, NH

Smugglers Notch, VT

We couldn't leave Maine without the obligatory stop in Freeport at the LL Bean Store. We browsed, but did not buy anything. A few miles down the highway brought us to the DeLorme Headquarters and the opportunity to see their 41 foot revolving globe named Eartha. Very cool, indeed!

 View of Eartha through the DeLorme atrium windows

Kris and Eartha

Looking down on Eartha from the third floor

We didn't get to spend enough time in the White Mountains of New Hampshire back in July, so we spent a few days exploring the area around Crawford Notch and the eastern slopes. Like other tourists, we took on the challenge of the Mount Washington Auto Road. We paid the toll and drove the 8 miles at 12% grade (without any guardrails) in first gear up to the highest summit in New England. We had a very clear afternoon to see the 360-degree panoramic view. Our timing was perfect as we were the last visitors to leave the summit and didn't have to deal with any cars coming up the road.

 We were lucky to have a clear day and a balmy 46 degrees

The cog train heading back down from the summit

We meet some tourists from Israel and they took our picture.

Back down from the summit looking back to where we had been 30 minutes earlier.

We experienced our first cold nights of camping (36 degrees) in the White Mtns. and hiked to some great waterfalls. We visited Saint Gaudens National Historic Site and saw the sculptor/artist's home and studio. Next on the itinerary: a return visit to Vermont via the Cornish-Windsor covered bridge over the Connecticut River. We spent an enjoyable evening in a state park in a campsite right along the river.

Looking at NH across the Connecticut River from our campsite in Vermont

We encountered our first instance of arriving at a state park only to find it was already closed for the season. We found a private campground near Barre, VT right down the road from the Rock of Ages granite quarries. The next morning, we went on a guided tour of the quarries even though it was raining all day. We made a stop at one of the cider mills near Stowe to sample the cider and cider doughnuts (we each ate only one, honest).

 Very deep granite quarry - rainy day

 Rock of Ages factory floor

 Brian tries out the granite bowling lane

We have seen many covered bridges and waterfalls in the past few weeks. Here are a few:

Albany Covered Bridge, White Mountains Nat. Forest, NH - we crossed this bridge to get to our campground.

Ripley Falls, Crawford Notch State Park, NH

 Arethusa Falls, Crawford Notch SP

Brewster River Gorge, near Smugglers Notch, VT

Since our last report, we have reached a few geocaching milestones: 1,000 finds since leaving home, found 47 out of 50 in the Maine State Star series, and made a valiant attempt at the New Hampshire State Star (6 miles of hiking in 5 hours netted us 20 of the 51 in the series). The weather was not looking favorable to do another day of hiking, so we decided to leave it unfinished.

Brian, here.  Kris pretty much summed it up.  We are still having a fantastic experience, and are now at the stage where we have to start thinking about what route to take to get home.  Thanksgiving isn't that far away!

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