Monday, September 8, 2008

Drivin' th' Kanc

As mentioned in my last blog post, the Bear Squad got back to nature, driving the Kancamagus Highway through New Hampshire. So, off to the woods we went, departing Lincoln, NH and heading east. We took it slow, stopping at anything that interested us.

Our first main stop (after BBQ) was at Otter Rocks. The Otter was very amused and got photos of the signage. This was a series of little cascades along several flat, shelf-like rocks. It was our first chance to take off our shoes and walk in the cold mountain waters. It was very pleasant, but nothing like what we would see eventually.

We proceeded to Sabbaday Falls, which, as its name sounds, was named for the Sabbath Day. When we saw the first little cascades, we were nervous that the Falls might not be terribly impressive. The walk was about 1/3 of a mile into the woods, and it was fantastic. The falls drops from one basalt dike, over a beautiful, clear basin, down to the rocks below, then turns 90 degrees to the right at a second basalt dike to form a second falls. This terminates in a pool that was so beautiful and aqua that we all wanted to defy the No Swimming signs. We managed to restrain ourselves, mostly. On our way back down the trail, we encountered a very cute little deer-mouse, which was pretty much the only wildlife we saw all trip, apart from insects.

Our third main stop was at Rocky Gorge. Here, we were happy to see that swimming was possible in some areas, and we were quickly into the waters, taking care because of the strongish currents. After our need to be in cold water was sated, we took a little side-walk and realized that the strong currents were because we were swimming just above a waterfall. Lucky we obeyed the signs that told us not to swim any further in that particular direction.

Our final stop before leaving the Kanc was at Lower Falls. Tis is where we want to swim next time, as it has larger, deeper-looking pools. Predictably, it also has more people swimming. Ah, well. Next time.

The Kancamagus is easy to get to by following route 93. From the Boston environs, you go north. The Kanc itself is route 112, heading east from Lincoln. If you do drive the Kancamagus, you need to be aware of a few things:

1. There is no food or gas along the road. Once you start the 32 or so miles, there's nothing til you get to Conway.

2. There are plenty of restrooms. Almost every designated site has one.

3. Parking is $3.00 a day. You pay at any of the unmanned payment sites along the way by putting $3.00 cash or a $3.00 check into an envelope and dropping it into a payment tube. A strip from the envelope then becomes your parking permit.

4. My wild cousins, the black bears, are supposed to be all over the place, so just be careful. Not all of them are as civil as I am.

- The Happy Bear

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