2008 Keys 2 Canada travel blog

our Lost River campground

the road to Franconia Notch

it seems like overnight the colors got brighter

not a lot of green in the hills now

and up close the reds and golds knock your eyes out

this sugar maple has lost most of it's leaves

a lot of the trees on this hill have lost their leaves...

trees bordering the Visitor Center parking lot

beginning of the two mile hike through the Flume

the Pemigewasset River

granite boulder left by the last glacier

leaves floating down the river

sugar maple

trees send out lots of roots looking for a toehold in the...

one of the oldest covered bridges in the state - and one...

in case anyone is wondering what happened to the famous 'Old Man...

Table Rock

here Flume Brook has exposed an outcropping of Conway Granite that is...

now the water will go to work trying to carve a groove...

and eventually it will

as the video in the Visitor Center pointed out . .

the Flume gorge is always changing . .

and it will never again look exactly as it does today

the glaciers may be gone but every winter ice returns to do...

when the ice melts water continues to wear the rock away

aided by gravity of course

and the trees and plants

time does not stand still

and we are only passing through

walls of the Flume Gorge are 80 feet high in some places

and in places the gorge is very narrow

looking up you can see how deeply the water has cut the...

carving out the basalt dykes between the harder granite slabs

it works away at the granite too - but more slowly

Avalanche Falls was created by - an avalanche

it is one of the most beautiful features in the gorge

rushing over the rock in a torrent here

and raining lightly on the rock at the side

the upper end of the gorge - fortunately the state has built...

at the top of the falls we exchanged picture taking with some...

the trail leads on to the Pond and eventually back to the...

the old and the new

the 'root problem' is solved in many ingenious ways

lots of roots for a little tree

this guy has chosen to just sit on the rock

and this tree looks like it's growing out of the end of...

some leaves haven't turned yet

while others are long gone already

Liberty Gorge

Liberty Peak

Liberty Gorge


boulders kind of dwarf the people here

our baby waits patiently in the parking lot

I-93 and the road to the tram - that is Cannon Mountain...

the Cannon Mountain Tram

view from the tram as we start up

view back down at the valley floor

car at the top

ski map of Cannon Mountain

upper tram house

entrance to a ski run - all it needs is snow

visibility today is said to be 80 miles - but probably not...

cars on I-93 show how high we are

looking south toward the Flume

observation tower at the top

looking north

tram house (right) - ski lift (left) and a guy wire supporting...

from here you can see mountains in Quebec

the Old Man's profile appeared in many places and was used for...

his face on a plate

a memorial park is planned in his honor - and these stone...

Ski Museum mannequin dressed in the height of '30's fashion

the evolution of bindings

the famous rock is now without a face

below the face fly fishermen work the pond

while at night beavers work the trees

they'll be back tonight to finish this one off!

Movie Clips - Playback Requirements - Problems?

(MPG - 9.37 MB)

Table Rock - Lower Flume Trail

(MPG - 4.87 MB)

Boardwalk along Flume

(MPG - 1.99 MB)

Avalanche Falls-Top of Flume

(MPG - 2.99 MB)

Avalanche Falls

(MPG - 5.37 MB)

Avalanche Falls

(MPG - 3.50 MB)

Avalanche Falls

(MPG - 9.62 MB)

Fly Fishermen

Another geological wonder - Friday, October 10

Our destination today was the Vermont border, but first we wanted to see Franconia Notch State Park and it’s famous Flume Gorge. The Flume and park were so compelling that we spent the whole day there, and by nightfall we were still not far down the road to Vermont. But the New England states are small and we should make it tomorrow.

Franconia Notch State Park is a long narrow park that is bisected by routes 3 and I-93, which has been named the Franconia Notch Parkway through this section of the state. We followed route 3 to the Visitor Center where we joined a lot of other people who had come to see it too. This is one of the biggest weekends of the year for New Hampshire, when it is invaded by Bostonians who consider it their backyard playground.

A note about the people here:

The difference between Canada and the eastern U.S. could not be more distinct than in the attitude of people you meet on the street or on a walk in the park. In Canada everyone you meet looks you in the eye. They invariably nod and say ‘G’day’ (which is Canadian for ‘Hello’) and nine times out of ten this is accompanied by a friendly smile. Here it feels like we’re back in Jersey, where people look down or look away and almost no one looks you in the eye or greets you in any way. If you initiate contact by saying ‘hello’ to them a lot of them look nervous and uncertain how to respond. They give you this “What the hell does he want?” look, and mumble something unintelligible before scurrying on their way. This is not to say people in New Jersey are unfriendly - we met some wonderful people in New Jersey. They just have a different culture and it’s definitely not as open or outgoing.

At the Franconia Notch Visitor Center we watched an excellent video, that included a good commentary on New Hampshire’s famous Old Man in the Mountain. The ‘Old Man’ was a granite outcropping left centuries ago by a receding glacier. The rocks that made up the face like profile seemed to defy gravity, and the feature became synonymous with the State of New Hampshire. It became their unofficial logo and it is seen everywhere, in their literature, on stamps and on their state highway road signs. People came from all over the world to see it - at least until 2003. Then one night it tumbled to the valley floor, and when New Hampshirites woke the next morning the Old Man in the Mountain was gone.

The loss generated much anguish locally, but in truth the rocks should have tumbled long ago. For decades they were held together artificially by cables and turnbuckles that finally just could not hold them any longer. Visitors still come, but now they come to see where the Old Man was. The mountain is up the canyon, and we saw it later at the end of the day.

We paid the $44 fee for the privilege of walking the Flume trail and riding the aerial tram at Cannon Mountain, and we took off on the two mile hike to see the gorge. If the fee seems high it is because New Hampshire has no sales tax or state income tax. All of their revenue is generated by property taxes and a system of fees. The trail was a good one, and the walk was one for the memory books.

The Flume is a gorge cut deeply into the pink Conway granite of the park, by Flume Brook. The granite was formed millions of years ago beneath the surface of the earth. During it’s formation, molten basalt was forced into vertical cracks that formed in the granite as it cooled. Once the formation was forced to the surface, water and ice began to eat away the softer basalt, carving a gorge that is 80 feet deep in places. Flume Brook continues to flow through the gorge, and it is still working on both the basalt and the granite every day of the year. As the video said, the gorge is changing daily, and it will never again look the same as it does today.

The state has built a boardwalk to give visitors access to this beautiful place, and without it you could never see it because the gorge is too narrow and deep to be walked. In places the boardwalk clings precariously to the walls of the cliff, and below it the brook water rushes noisily over the rocks. Ferns grow in the shade here, and above you trees stretch high to find the sunlight. There are many visitors, and the boardwalk is crowded with people from all over the world. Hiking the trail you hear many languages spoken.

We followed the trail on it’s loop back to the Visitor Center, and there we had a good lunch before heading up the canyon to Cannon Mountain. That is the place where the Old Man in the Mountain once stood, and there is also a tram that takes you to the top of this long time New Hampshire ski mountain. We took the tram, and spent an hour or more walking the rim trail at the top, and climbing to the top of the observation tower. There was 80 mile visibility today, and we could see all the way to the mountains of Quebec.

At the bottom of the mountain there is a free Ski Museum which we found quite interesting. We topped our visit off with cones of Black Bear ice cream which is absolutely delicious. It is raspberry vanilla with chunks of raspberry filled chocolate in it. From the tram we walked down to the Old Man viewing platform, a quarter mile walk in the setting sun. There was really nothing to see but a blank cliff, but two fly fishermen and the work of many local beavers made the walk quite interesting anyway.

We got to our campground in a town called ‘Bath’ just before dark, and we hooked up and settled in with cable and WiFi to keep us company. It was very cold, and before the night was over it got down to 33.6 degrees. Time to start heading south once we’re clear of Vermont. The closing campground situation may speed that migration too. The next few days will tell.

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