Saturday, October 19, 2013

“Watch For Moose With Me”

It was a slightly sad departure from grandmas, not only because I probably wont see her for a while and I kind of wanted to stay another day, but also because that was supposed to be the end of comfort for a while. We set off around 6:45 that morning for Pawtuckaway State Park in New Hampshire. The sun was just rising and it was going to be a long drive. The previous day I had booked a cabin for the night as a layover spot between Maryland and Maine, but also ended up finding a nice camp spot at another state park for a few days after, before Maine. 

All morning we drove through Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and finally New Hampshire. Had to pay a bundle in toll roads too or else the drive would have taken 2 hours longer. 

It was very cool driving past New York. We originally had plans to spend some time in the city, but decided not to on account of we rather spend that money skiing in Colorado or something in the future. A big city just seemed like more of a hassle than what its worth, maybe another time. When we were driving past I started to better understand The Great Gatsby lol. Everything looked so dirty and industrial. I swear the city just had this ugly grey haze over it all. It’s weird because I know people always say LA has bad pollution, but I don't think it has anything on New York City. The buildings looked like big grey monsters in the distance. 

However, when we got closer and onto Washington Bridge it didn't look so bad. I actually felt like it looked very unique and historic. The traffic wasn’t terrific, we had some delays, but it wasn’t too much of a bother because it was nice to look around. That was the most interesting and eventful part of the drive. The fall leaves were also beautiful as always. In a way it kind of all starts looking the same, but then again not really because it’s so different from what we are used to. 

We arrived at Pawtuckaway State Park at around 3 and tried to get comfortable. It was very pretty there with forests all around. The campsites they had were so cute, probably cuter than the cabins, but putting all our gear together for one night would have been too much of a hassle. We got some dinner from a local Hannafords, which I guess is like their Publix, and just relaxed for the rest of the night. 

At one point we walked around what they called the beach. It was more like a lake, but I guess during the summer people swim there. Later that night we had a fire and went to bed pretty early. For some reason this place scared me. I think it was because there weren’t many people around and it was so dark because of the way the trees canopied everything. We couldn’t even see the moon. Suffice to say I didn’t get a good night sleep. 

The next day we woke up early and went shopping for camp groceries. Then we packed up the car and were off on a refreshingly short drive to Franconia Notch State Park to camp for 2 nights. It was funny because there were signs all over the said “Moose Crossing” I didn’t mention it before, but Finnley is really scared of hitting a deer so when he saw moose crossing he was so paranoid. He asked me to watch with him out of nowhere and I thought it was funny. 

Now this park was so beautiful. The white mountains towered all around us and our camp sat in a valley between ranges. However, this campground did get off on a rocky start. We went to drive around to look at sites to see which one we wanted when some guy came out of one just wearing his long johns and a fleece sweater. He flagged us down and asked if we wanted his campsite and that he already had a fire going. Now the whole time I’m thinking “No! No!” creeper alert, stranger danger because this guy was giving off crazy bad vibes. He wouldn’t even look us in the eye. He had driftwood across the handle bars of his motorcycle and asked if we could jump it because his battery died. 

Finnley advised him we would go look around more before we decided on sights and would be back, but when he got in the car I begged him to please not go back. He told me he was also getting bad vibes from him too mainly because he was trying to jump his motorcycle with a car and Finnley didn't think that would work because of the differences in batteries. He also told me he saw that on the guys fire ring he laid his pants, but the fire was just burning his pants, not drying them out. 

Anyhow we told the office and they also said he was acting kind of weird and was supposed to be out of there by 11:00am and it was 2:00pm. So they went and got him to leave and thank goodness for it because I wouldn’t have felt comfortable sleeping there if he was still there. 

We eventually found our spot. It was right across from the bathroom, a major plus for me, and was a big and lovely spot with chipmunks running all over and the fall leaves spread throughout trees and piles on the ground. As well as wonderful views all around and a short walk from the trail we hiked the next day. 

We started to set up camp and were done about an hour later. We made hot dogs and rice for dinner and sat around the fire and enjoyed the environment. It’s starting to get dark out so early so by 6 it was pitch black and we didn’t know what to do with ourselves. We waited so long to go to bed that it seemed we were the last ones awake in the campground. Which didn’t sit well with me so basically I had a bad night. My feet were so cold and I couldn’t get them to warm up and I was scared of everything. 

In the morning I felt better because it wasn’t dark and Finnley made me a delicious breakfast of bacon and eggs. We were feeling good and ready to hike. After getting our packs ready we set off to the Lonesome Trail. It was a steep mile and a half hike up to Lonesome Lake. Fairly easy, but hard on my unfit thighs. The hike took about an hour and a half and had some cute sights to see like small streams and cliffs that overlooked the mountain ranges. 

When we finally made it to the top we saw Lonesome Lake and all it’s glory. It was just a  random lake right smack in the middle of the mountain. What was really cool was there was this lodge on the lake which is partially a part of the Appalachian Trail where people who hike it can stop and have a resting spot. Supposedly there are multiple points along the trail that have these lodges for the hikers. After taking quite a few pictures and freezing my butt off from a random wind that blew in as we arrived chilling the area down from 59 to 45 in like 5 minutes we started to hike down. Now I know why they recommend hikers layer the way they do. At one point I was regretting bringing all the jackets that I did, but after that I definitely wasn’t. 

Hiking down sounds like it would be easier, but I think it’s just as challenging just in a different way. It works out different muscles and you can move faster, but that also means you have to think faster and pay more attention. When we got back to camp I was exhausted and hungry. Finnley made us hot dogs and we just relaxed a while. 

We ate a yummy dinner of chicken and rice around 6 and went to bed at 9 knowing we had to wake up early the next morning to set off for Maine. I slept fairly well that night probably because I was so tired, but unfortunately when we got up at 7 it was raining. Not the best motivator to get up and start organizing and packing gear and yet it had to be done. 

We finished up packing in about two hours and set off for Maine not knowing 100 percent where we would be staying. 

On to the next...

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