May 12 – 16, 2017
Gorham, New Hampshire
As we headed west for the first time in awhile, we landed in a small town in upstate New Hampshire near the Mount Washington National Forest. Again, we were in a campground before the camping season, so we had a whole row of wooded forest to ourselves for a long weekend. I know it’s crazy because we’ve been living in an RV for 9 months now, but being here in the woods, with everything starting to look like spring again, it felt like we were camping. It doesn’t ususally feel that way to me. It was a nice refreshing shift, and we even had our VERY FIRST cookout over a campfire. The only other fire we’ve had was on the beach at Lake Powell where we burned some beach scraps left in a pile by previous campers, which turned out lovely….but stinky! So this fire in New Hampshire was enjoyed very differently, and it involved hot dogs and s’mores and short stories by O. Henry.
We found a hiking trail in our campground that led into the National Forest, so on the first morning we decided to check it out. We hadn’t gone very far at all before we discovered a wonderful stream that meandered its way down a hillside with a series of delightful water falls. We found some large rocks to enjoy the sights and sounds. The girls picked up sticks and they immediately turned into swords, fishing poles, and batons. We watched water stryders glide around on top of the water, tossed rocks and leaves into the flow to watch the ripples spread, talked about what we want out of life, and discussed what kind of imaginary fish we were catching in the stream with our poles.
We spent over an hour enjoying the waterfalls. We hiked a little further up the trail and discovered moose footprints around mud puddles and large gooey bunches of frog eggs in stagnant pools. We made up games, we peed in the woods, and at separate times Sunny and I each fell into the cold water up to our thighs. So you know…it was just your average Saturday.
We heard the best time of day to catch sight of a moose is at twilight around the marsh in the national forest, so we went on a meandering evening drive through the forest. We stopped at a popular Appalachian Trail visitors center called Pinkham Notch. They aren’t getting many through-hikers this time of year – it’s too soon for those hiking north to have arrived in New Hampshire, and those hiking south from Maine haven’t yet begun their journey. But the 2 guys in the center was super friendly. We talked about moose sitings, mostly of their local favorite, Priscilla, and her twins from last year. One guy opened his facebook page on the computer to show me pictures that he and his friends had taken of various moose and bears in yards over the last few months. He told me that you’re much more likely to see black bears in northern NH than moose. They were also very interested in our trip, as some people tend to be, and asked all kinds of questions about where we’ve been and what we’ve seen. One of them suggested a book to Brad that he’s reading and loving called “Desert Solitaire”.
We took a short walk up a section of the Appalachian Trail across from the visitors center that crossed a bog. Alas…no moose.
The next morning was Mother’s Day, and my family was convinced that the snow on the ground when we woke up was a Mother’s Day gift to me from the earth. I thought this was a sweet sentiment, although waking up to snow when your house has wheels doesn’t seem quite as exciting.
My family spoiled me with a big crepe breakfast and then kicked me out so that I could enjoy a local cafe for awhile on my own.
Because of the wet weather, we stayed in Gorham a day longer than planned. Since the girls had just been inside playing legos for days on end, but went to check out the local library one afternoon. They just played legos there too.
On Tuesday the weather had cleared and we were ready to continue west. It was a lovely day to drive across the state of Vermont. We stopped at a park in a small town and ordered pizza. We laid on our picnic blanket by a small river and the girls picked bouquets of dandelions. Bees buzzed around the flowering bushes and the leaves on the trees were actually green.
I think that spring has finally caught up to us! After we ate our pizza, we did our Vermont geography page and read in our atlas that the name Vermont means “green mountain”, the state has no large cities, and all civic matters are still decided upon by town meetings – there are no elected officials to represent the citizens. So there’s your lesson on Vermont. It was such a beautiful, warm, spring day after lots of wet and cold recent experiences. The girls ran around barefoot with dandelions in their hair singing about how Vermont was their favorite state ever.