Home for the holidays

We decided to stay in Connecticut for the holidays, and opted to explore several of the local seasonal attractions before Christmas. This included an evening walk in Westerly to see the new “Stary Nights” displays and a return visit to the Stonington “Lobster Pot Tree”. Thanks to Jen, Mark, Denise and Mike for joining us on these escapades.

Thankful for hiking in NH

We spent the last week in NH celebrating the US Thanksgiving holiday. As well as enjoying traditional Thanksgiving dinner, we managed to fit in quite a few hikes with our good friends Mike, Dee and Mesa.

On Wednesday, we dropped a car in nearby Bartlett and hiked along the ridge parallel to Route-302. We went over the summits of White Ledge, Mount Stanton, Mount Pickering, the Crippies, and Mount Langdon. This was a lovely 8-mile ridge walk on crunchy snow that had fallen the week before.

On Thanksgiving Day we did a shorter 4-mile hike around the Boulder Loop Trail, just off the Kancamagus Highway. This allowed us to get home by 3pm and get the turkey in the oven!

On Friday we awoke to the sound of rain on the windows, but we seized on a break in the weather and again dropped a car so we could avoid retracing our steps. We hiked up to Ripley Falls and then over to Arethusa Falls, avoiding the higher summits which were cloaked in clouds. About 4.5 miles in total.

For our last hike we had planned to ascend Middle Sister via the Carter Ledge Trail. However, route-16 was blocked off (probably due to an accident), so we diverted to Ferncroft Trailhead and hiked up to Mount Paugus via the Kelley Trail. This was a delightful 7.5 mile hike with ice underfoot and sunshine all round us for most of the day.

The mica and quartz mine

The trails of the White Mountains in New Hampshire wind through, around and over granite, schist and quartz. One the ground it is common to see flakes of mica, sometimes the size of tiny diamonds and as big as your thumb.

Last weekend we hiked to a mica and quartz mine in the Evans Notch area. The mine is located below the summit of Lord’s Hill via the Conant and Mine Loop trails. The mine is open to the public and there are permits for mining available at a kiosk located near the mine.

The deposits of mica and quartz were beautiful and the size of mica flakes were nearly as big as your palm. In hindsight this concentration of mica explained the large mica flakes we had seen while hiking nearby back

Twenty-Five Terrifying Hikes

Catching up on some activities and wanted to highlight our last hike on the Terrifying 25 this summer

For the past several years we have been working our way through a list of trails called the “Terrifying 25”. This list was created by Trish Herr and her two daughters after they completed hiking the 4000’ Peaks in New Hampshire’s White Mountains.

We have thoroughly enjoyed the experience of working through the list that includes several well-known, challenging trails in the White Mountains, such as the Huntington Ravine Trail. But it also includes some really interesting lesser-known trails.

During our most recent visit to the White Mountains we hiked into the Great Gulf Wilderness and to the top of the headwall beneath the summit of Mt Madison via the Madison Gulf Trail (MGT), which is the last of our “terrifying hikes”.

Mt Madison and the Great Gulf Wilderness

The day began by taking The Great Gulf Trail that begins from Rt 16 just north of Pinkham Notch. We hiked several miles to the start of the Madison Gulf Trail (MGT) which took us to the Parapet at the top of the headwall. We found the Madison Gulf Trail to be one of the most challenging of the 25 trails for its steep, rock and wet terrain. But like all of these trails, we found enjoyment in the challenge, and also the beauty of the many waterfalls we passed as we approached the top of the head wall.

Waterfall along the Madison Gulf Trail

From the Parapet we walked around Star Lake, and took the Buttress Trail which traversed through dense, scrubby trees and then descended steeply into the Great Gulf Wilderness where we took the Six Husband’s Trail back to the Great Gulf Trail.

Star Lake
Our way home
A rock challenge on the Buttress Trail

Many thanks to Trish, Sage and Alexandra Herr for putting together this list of “terrifying trails”. We really enjoyed this list and a few favorites include the Ice Gulch Trail, the Morgan-Percival loop, and the Great Gully Trail.

Our latest patch…

Late September Harvest

The garden is starting to slow in growth, but there are still peppers, okra, tomatoes, chard, and ground cherries to harvest.

Peppers and okra have been very good this year. The okra plants are well over six feet tall and the peppers big enough for stuffing!

The zinnias continue to bloom and are still bright and cheerful.

We also have had a good crop of squash. Soon it will be soup season!

A gentleman’s guide to love and murder

Whilst we were in the White Mountains of NH a few weeks ago we spent an evening at the Weathervane Theater in Whitefield. This is an long established venue pretty much in the middle of nowhere!

We saw “A gentleman’s guide to love and murder” which was a murder mystery musical with lots of funny moments. The acting and singing were first rate and it was amazing to find this in northern New Hampshire. We had a great evening and hope to be back very soon.

Fun Summer Activities

We have had fun over the last month with trips to the Blue Oar, the Goodspeeef Opera ,House (to see Anne of Greengables musical), Enders Island (to see the full moon) and Wilcox Park (to see Waiting for Godot). It’s a great time of year to live in our location!

Evans Notch Hiking & Camping

A few weeks ago we headed up to Evans Notch in the White Mountains for a weekend of camping and hiking. We went with Mike, Denise and Mesa and we were blessed with dry, warm weather for the entire trip.

To warm up on Friday we hiked to the summit of Eastman Mountain (52WAV). On Saturday we hiked the Baldface Circle and Eagle Crag (both 52 WAV). We took it easy on Sunday with a circuit over the Caribou Speckled Mountain Wilderness. Overall it was a fantastic weekend with great friends in the mountains.

Bumper vegetable crops

The garden at Hangman Hill got off to a slow start this year, but the last month of warm weather has really started to pay dividends. We now have lots of okra, tomatoes, beans, onions, herbs, Savoy cabbage and peppers. There will be a few late nights in the kitchen in our future!

Visitors from the UK

Bruno’s parents came to visit us during the last two weeks of July. We were blessed with warm sunny weather for the entire time, and we spent a lot of time outside. Highlights included lots of time in the garden at Hangman Hill, a 3-day trip to Philadelphia (on the train), Shrek at the granite theater, several trips to the beach in Watch Hill, and a wonderful dinner at the Weekapaug Inn. Both Bruno and Nick were suffering from COVID for part of the time, but they didn’t complain. Luckily Sheri and Pam stayed healthy and were able to keep everyone hydrated and fed during the visit.