Odds & Ends From Recent Travel

Here are a few places I visited recently that didn’t turn up in other blogs.

From the US Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville AL

From beautiful Portsmouth NH. A great walking city on the coast of New Hampshire.

View of Cape Cod MA out my plane window. I love the window seat.

Pat’s King of Steaks in Philadelphia. The traditional cheese whiz Cheesesteak at the original. It was good too!

Sunday Hikes:  The Mt Pemigewasset Trail

It was a cold, crisp November morning in Franconia Notch State Park in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.  I parked at the Flume Gorge parking lot and started down the 3.3 mile round trip trail.  The trail goes through three tunnels under the access road and I-93 before heading west towards the summit of Mt. Pemigewasset.  

It had rained heavily the previous few days,    so the trail was very muddy in spots and had a several small streams that were much more prominent than usual.  The first mile goes through mostly hardwood forest with a lot of the granite rocks commonly found in the White Mountains.  

After a pretty easy beginning the trail starts to seriously ascend with about 1500 feet in elevation gain.  Soon you start to come into more fir trees.  About half a mile from the summit I started to see little ice curls in the trail which really fascinated me.  I wondered how they were formed.  

Soon, I crested the summit as I walked out onto a granite bald facing southwest.  It was solemn and I enjoyed the quiet solitude.  There are expansive views of the forest below surrounded by other mountains.  Off to the south you can see I-93 weaving through the notch.

After soaking up the beauty at the top of Mt Pemigewasset, I started to descend and passed several groups who were working their way up to the top. I really enjoyed this hike and I’d like to do it again in the summer.  rk

Picture of the Day:  Silver Cascade in New Hampshire’s White Mountains

The Silver Cascade located in New Hampshire’s White Mountains National Forest is an amazing torrent of water gushing through a narrow crevice in the rock.  Not 100 yards away, the magnificent Flume Cascade flows similarly.  You can find both conveniently located right off the main highway in Crawford Notch State Park.

These next two pictures are of Flume Cascade.  rk

Sunday Hikes: Arethusa Falls

Arethusa Falls is the second tallest waterfall in the state of New Hampshire. It is located in Crawford Notch State Park in the White Mountains. This was the first hike I did in the White Mountains and it was a great introduction to the beautiful fall colors I would be seeing the rest of my mid-late October hiking trip. The gravel parking lot is off the side of  302 (one of the main roads in the White Mountains). There is a larger parking lot just off the road but if you drive up the hill there is a smaller one closer to the trailhead. You can either do the out and back trail or make a 4.3 mile loop by taking the Frankenstein Cliffs trail. I didn’t do the Frankenstein Cliffs but I wish I had.



The trail starts off wide and rocky before narrowing to about 3 feet wide most of the time. It’s mostly flat and therefore a great hike to do with the whole family but still a decent workout. About halfway through the trail splits off on a little side trail the travels right next to the creek and has multiple small but very unique waterfalls however where it meets back up with the main trail is an almost straight up climb that would be difficult for some people to do and very easy to slip on the loose dirt that makes up the “trail” and despite the blazes on the trees I still questioned its reliability. Once you return to the main trail you cross a small bridge and you go up hill and the trees go from orange to green. The Frankenstein Cliffs trail meets the Arethusa Falls trail and then you’re at the waterfall! It’s large and a straight drop from the top! Not a lot of water was falling when I went but it was still impressive! I played around at the waterfall and took some pictures and ate my breakfast. I went back down the trail and passed many people on their way to the falls and was sure to tell them how cool it was. All of the sudden I was back in the car and on my way to the next hike! If you’re in the White Mountains Arethusa is a must do in my opinion!



Sunday Hikes: Mt. Washington

The highest peak in the northeast United States is has been called “the most dangerous small mountain in the world” and “the home of the worst weather in the world”. It boasts 6,289 feet above sea level (489′ higher than the second highest peak in the White Mountains) and claims the highest wind speed officially recorded by man (231 mph) outside a tropical cyclone. With all that being said it doesn’t sound like something most people would want to climb to the top of much less alone. However that is what I found myself doing at 8am on October 15th. I pulled into the Pinkham Notch State Park visitor center parking lot and quickly found a spot despite the lot being nearly full. I put my backpack on and headed for the trail. The Tuckerman Ravine trail is the most popular way to climb the mountain and at 8.2 miles round trip with about 4200 feet of elevation change (Most of which is in the last 2ish miles), it is a bit of a workout. The trail starts of wide and rocky and is very slightly uphill. It was a warm morning (in the mid 40s) and with my fast pace I got hot pretty quickly and ended up taking off my jacket after 15 minutes. The trail usually continues up the rocky path for a while longer but the trail detoured into another ravine due to construction (with a $5,000 fine if you go past the tape) so I descended into the ravine, crossed a creek, ascended the ravine, hiked on flat ground for a little, descended again, crossed the top of a waterfall, and finally ascended the ravine again. After all that the trail crossed the original trail but then continued into some new growth evergreens. The detour trail then met back up with the real trail and continued past a side trail the goes around the other side of “the bowl”. I stuck with the Tuckerman and was quickly at the ski rescue house. With that being somewhat of a halfway point, I sat down on the large porch and had some granola bars and water (and wished I had coffee). I chilled out for about 10 or 15 minutes and then hit the trail again. This is where it got real steep. With ice melting from the top there was a nice stream and many small waterfalls flowing down the bowl. It was all very pretty and soon I could see out at the mountains. The trail was steep and in some place much more of a rock scramble than a hike. I made it to the top of the large plateau called the “Alpine Gardens” (A couple signs had informed me that I was now in an alpine zone). I took in the view for a moment and carried on.


This last mile or so wasn’t a trail at all. Large rocks climbing straight up to the summit. There were some blazes and you could kind of follow the worn down rocks but this was really just trying to find the best way up without tumbling down the mountain. I started getting tired but kept on going anyways and found myself only .2 miles from the top. The smell of gasoline filled my nostrils and the loud horn of the cog railway train sounded, reminding me of the thirty dollar toll road to the top and the bumper sticker I saw in the parking lot: “Who needs a car to climb Mt. Washington”. I soon pulled myself over the last rock and found myself in a full parking lot bustling with the kind of tourists you would find at the top of the Grand Canyon, surrounding Ol’ Faithful, and waiting to ride It’s a Small World. It was weird. Despite the large amount of people that were on the trail I felt isolated in a way. It was the same feeling I felt as I sat on a bench at the top of the Grand Canyon having just hiked it while everyone ran around me. I looked out at the mountains the went for miles with the clear blue sky above them. It was the perfect weather in a place famous for horrible weather.


I wandered around and took my picture at the summit and wished I had brought a couple bucks for hot chocolate in the Mt. Washington State Park visitor center atop the mountain. I had a snack and after about 30 minutes on top I began my descent at 11 o’clock. I ended up hiking alongside a father and daughter for a little while that were hiking all the northeast high peaks for the daughter’s senior project (which I thought was the dopest senior project ever). After getting close to the ski rescue house I parted from my new friends and carried on back down the trail. As I was coming up out of the detour ravine I passed a woman who had somehow broken her leg and was wrapped up in a space blanket while two rescue EMTs trying to figure out how to get her out. After I passed them I carried on and watched my step a little better and about twenty minutes later I was back at the trailhead and visitors center. I bought a sticker for my car and then drove back to my hotel room and passed out for two hours. The hike wasn’t too physically demanding on my muscles but I was tired as all get out. I would love to hike Mt. Washington again one day (this time with a friend) and perhaps on the Lions Head trail. Despite the high volume of people this is one of my favorite hikes I have done, the views just get increasingly beautiful until you reach the top and the rock scramble was difficult but loads of fun! If you are in the White Mountains area I would highly recommend a day hike up the mountain! Thanks for reading 🙂 – Josh