Fall Road Trip, Day 5: Hiking and cabining

The morning light was barely peeking over the mountaintops when I awoke in the log cabin on Monday morning. It was weird waking up to find the heat on. What New Hampshire considers fall weather, we Southerners would consider winter weather.

After breakfast Ryan and I headed into downtown Littleton where we sipped cappuccino and hot chocolate while catching some internet time. After that, we checked out the town’s covered bridge and discovered a very fabulous mid-century modern furniture store, Just L, before heading out to Franconia Notch State Park.

The drive down I-93 was spectacular. I never in my life have driven on a more gorgeous highway, and if you asked me, the trees covering the tall mountains were most definitely at “peak” color. We decided to hike the Flume Gorge and surrounding area. The cooler temperatures and overcast skies kept the crowds at bay, which was quite a feat considering the swarms of tourists in the White Mountains.

Fall 2010 Flume Franconia Covered Bridge

A red covered bridge flanked the beginning of the trail. What is it about New England, fall, and covered bridges? They just seem to go together.

Red Covered Bridge in Fall

Almost immediately, the trail started to follow the rocky river upstream:

Fall 2010 Trees, Rock, FlumeThen suddenly the granite walls came up around the river, creating a deep and rushing gorge. The gravel trail turned to a boardwalk as we began to climb up the side of the gorge.

Beginning of the Flume Gorge

Fall 2010 Franconia Flume Channel

After we reached the top of the flume, the trail crossed the waterfall and wound into the woods.

Fall 2010 Top of The FlumeFurther down the trail, we crossed Liberty Gorge and came to the Sentinel Pine covered bridge, aptly named for the large tree that fell across the gorge and was used as the base support for the construction of the bridge. The Pemigewasset River rushed beneath the bridge. It was amazing to see how the water had carved swooping curves out of the rocks and created a large pool.

Fall 2010 Flume Gorge Bridge 2

Then, as the trail began to climb back up the mountainside, we came to a clearing from which we could see Liberty Mountain in the distance.

Fall 2010 Backdrop Liberty Mountain NHThe rest of the hike was uneventful, leading us up more inclines and through the trees back to our starting point.

After the hike it was time to take it easy. We stopped at the Littleton Co-Op, an awesome locally-owned grocery store, where we stocked up on chocolate, local veggies, and local free-range meat for dinner. We returned to the cabin, which was made extra cozy by the fireplace coupled with its lack of TV, cell phone reception, and certainly no internet. Ryan settled in with a puzzle and I whipped up a homemade beef and veggie stew while Beethoven symphonies and Bossa Nova tunes played over our laptop speakers. I remarked to Ryan that somehow chopping root vegetables and sautéing garlic and onions on the tiny stove felt like the perfect vacation activity for me.

The air was crisp and cool (maybe in the 40s at 6 pm?) and though the trees were awash in color, it really felt more like Christmas, or at least winter. Maybe it was the log cabin, or maybe it was the weather. But either way was really nice to be curled up in a cozy log cabin, with nothing to do but relax. After some more puzzling, lighting the fire, and eating dinner, we put on our coats and went outside to look at the stars with the sound of the rushing river for company.

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