Sunday, October 6, 2013

Conway, New Hampshire

On the drive to Conway from Winthrop which we had traveled with Carl and Eileen a week earlier we were amazed at how much the foliage had changed color in just one week; the colors were vibrant, the sun was shining and the weather warm. We asked is this really the fall season in the Northern States? And, now we understand why our New England friends miss this season when they move away from home. For Adele our Fall Color travel has been a real pleasure; sitting in the height of RV passenger seat which provides her a panoramic view and great photo shot opportunities.

Conway has shops, restaurants and hotels in abundance to cater for its many tourists; as this is also a ski area it has three high seasons. Thanks to our prior visit with Eileen and Carl we knew our way around and stayed in a very nice RV Park on the Saco River about a mile from the town. As the weather was so good we decided to take the Cog Railway to the top of Mount Washington; built in 1866 it has an interesting history. We drove 38 miles to the base station at 2,700ft on a lovely warm day, purchased our tickets and sat outdoors having lunch; then we lined up to catch the cog train to the top at 6,288ft (the highest mountain in the east). Ryan, an excellent guide, gave a narration of the history, the engines and coaches which are all fabricated, manufactured and maintained on site. The weather at the summit was very cold, made even colder by a strong wind; and this was a good day! To keep tourists occupied during the one hour summit visit there’s a cafĂ©, souvenir shop, museum (closed for renovation so we missed out on that) and a weather station. At the end of the hour we were glad to re-board the train and 40 minutes later we were back to summer weather!
The next day we drove along the Kancamagus trail where the scenery was so spectacular that it is now our litmus test. Most of the drive is between high mountains along the Passaconaway River with numerous scenic viewing spots all maintained by the US Department of Agriculture. At one stop the “necessary” had a posted sign “This Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, facility is currently closed, due to the lapse in federal government funding. The facility will reopen once Congress restores funding.” To emphasize the closure the door was barricaded by a 2x4 screwed to it! The Kancamagus Pass is at 2,855ft above sea level; we continued on down to the town of Lincoln, after lunch and exploration we drove back through the Kancamagus Pass and enjoyed the foliage from a different angle. At one of the scenic stops we learned that the colors are not all as the result of nature - the Forest Service have an active program to ensure a mix of tree varieties to guarantee the vibrant plenty of colors of Fall. Tourist wise this is a “high season” time with many bus tours and lots of cars, however the roads are not too crowded. Chief Kancamagus (the fearless one) was the grandson of Passaconaway and was the last Segamon (Chief) of the Penacook tribe who lived in this area.

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