Northern Tier 2010

September 5, 2010

Live Free or Die

Filed under: Geology, New Hampshire, Section 11 — Henry Scott @ 1:00 pm

New Hampshire isn’t very wide at this latitude (or any latitude, for that matter). I had to stop early again to ensure that I’d spend a full day here, a necessary step to justify using the state motto for a title. Actually, I suppose I’m dragging my feet a bit and savoring the last few days of the tour. In any event, my camp has been totally set for the night since mid afternoon.

I got an early start this morning and was rewarded with breathtaking views of the Penigewasset River valley once I finished the last bit of climbing up from the Wildwood Campground, and began the descent to North Woodstock, where I stopped for breakfast.

As Jennifer’s father, Bob, pointed out in the comments a few days ago, that put me within five miles of Franconia Notch State Park, which is home to the Flume Gorge. During breakfast, I got to know Dean and Nancy, who vacation in the area, and they were able to give me specific directions to the park. They left before me, but it turns out the cabin they’re renting was on the way. They were sitting outside on Adirondack chairs, waiting to greet me, as I made my way to see it — a very nice surprise.

The wonderful folks at the visitor center allowed me to bring my bike inside and stow it in a safe place so I could enjoy the short hike to the Gorge, and a few other park attractions, without worrying about it. Bob’s comment already provided some details about the Gorge: it is a steep-walled granite canyon with water still actively flowing through. The fracture was once filled with a basaltic dike, but most of the more-readily eroded basalt is gone, leaving the gorge in its place.

I rejoined the Adventure Cycling route on highway 112 in Lincoln, and after stocking up on food I continued east on 112, which is better known as the Kancamagus Highway as it heads up into New Hampshire’s White Mountains. Being a holiday weekend, traffic was heavy, and I didn’t stop for photos as much as I may have otherwise, but the “scenic overlooks” were excellent.

At the pass I decided to make camp at the first good spot I could find in USFS land. Because tonight is the last night of the holiday weekend, I didn’t want to risk finding the official campgrounds already full. I found a perfect spot close to the Swift River sooner than expected, which is why I’m all set up so early. Other than the occasional roar from a Harley, all I can hear is the stream working its way through rounded granitic boulders. It is cooling off quickly, and there are almost no mosquitos; I suspect I’ll sleep well.

I should still be able to make Bar Harbor by the 8th thanks to some long days the past few weeks — the Adirondacks, Green and White Mountains have been so beautiful, it feels good to be taking my time.



  1. So glad you were able to get to the Flume. It’s been years since we have visited the Flume, but I remember being there on hot summer days–so refreshing and cooling.
    Glad to hear about the lack of mosquitoes. When Bob and I camped on the Kancamagus Highway back in 1970, we were nearly eaten alive by mosquitoes!

    Comment by Sally — September 6, 2010 @ 3:49 pm

  2. Hi Henry,
    It was very nice to meet you, we were glad to hear you enjoyed the Flume Gorge and that the staff kept your gear safe for you. I was very interesting to talk with you, glad you had a safe return home.

    Dean and Nancy

    Comment by Dean and Nancy — September 16, 2010 @ 1:47 am

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