New Hampshire

We entered New Hampshire in a sea of fog through the town / city of Lebanon – yep, another spot with an interesting name – how did that come about? Just west of Lebanon was the smaller town of Mascoma and they looked to be going all out with decorating guys and the like for Halloween celebrations – in fact right from around 1 October onward all we have seen as we cross the country is pumpkins everywhere and loads of properties going hard out with their Halloween displays – many had just pumpkins and guys where as the fancier ones including a raft of inflatable creatures – ghosts, dragons, pumpkins – you name it, they have it. Some states seem to get into the Halloween celebrations and decorating more than others, but Mascoma were certainly into dressing up their guys in an array of costumes / attires.

The countryside throughout New Hampshire was hilly up’s and down’s, and the roads were somewhat narrower – good driving to keep you focused. We pushed east on H104 through to New Hampton and then cut north on Interstate 93 through to Lincoln – the base town for the White Mountains area. We called into the local visitor centre and had a good talk to the team there about the area (and questioned just what Halloween was actually all about). The lady recommended we go back up the Lost River Gorge. We found the desired rest area at Beaver Lake and had a nice look around. The area around here has the Appalachian Trail running through it so we had a look at where that was. Heading back down towards Lincoln we spotted a place – Bob’s Toy Collection – seemed rude not to have a look – and bonus, it was free to have a look at ‘Bob’s’ small collection of automobiles and associated bits and pieces. He did have a really nice old 59 Ford Sundowner out in the yard for sale – that would have been something to pick up. Heading on out of Lincoln it struck us how many bed and breakfasts there are in this neck of North America – Vermont and New Hampshire.

From Lincoln you head east on the 112 into the White Mountain National Forest on the Kancamagus Scenic Highway – a 34 mile stretch through to the town of Conway. The highway is named is named after Mount Kancamagus, and the scenic byway was the first to be dedicated in north eastern USA. And quite the scenic run it was – the fall colours through here were stunning – Carol was up out of her seat looking looking looking with excitement. There are a number of scenic spots to pull into as you traverse the 112 alongside the Swift River – but they weren’t ideal size wise for the RV plus there was a load of tourist traffic in the area so most spots were already full as we reached them unfortunately. On the plus side the speed limit through this stretch of road was reduced so it wasn’t like we were holding up traffic moving at our regular pace – for a change. We did manage to get a park at the Rocky Gorge scenic area and walked down to the bridge and on over to Falls Pond that rewarded those that ventured (which wasn’t all of the tourists in the area) with nice reflections on the lake. You had the colours of fall casting a nice reflection in amongst the wooden surrounds. The gorge had been formed from a glacier many thousands of years ago – pushing up through this valley, cutting it as it had. Apparently over the winter months the gorge still freezes up big time and large chunks of ice are forced through the valley, cutting it out further.

The area had been named for New Hampshire’s most legendary Indians. Chief Passaconaway managed to unite 17 Indian tribes in the Central New England area in the 1600’s. Kancamagus – the Fearless One, was the grandson of Passaconaway. The first European settlers came to this area around 1790. The road or rather trail through the mountain pass was created in 1837 and obviously updated over the years – a very nice drive that is high on the ‘fall colour hunters’ schedule if the tourist traffic and activity through this area was anything to go by. Coming through the pass you drop down / wind around to the town of Conway on the eastern side of New Hampshire. Fuelled up it was time to leave this lovely state already – from Conway we run east on the 113 that then joins into Highway 302 – part of the Roosevelt Trail. Before we know it we have left another state behind and we are about to go as far east in the US as we can this trip.

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