Sunday, July 30, 2017

July 24-26, 2017 

Travel day from Concord, VT., to Middle Grove, NY

We had a long miserable rainy day of driving through narrow country roads and small towns.
Downtown Saratoga Springs, NY
To reach Autumn Moon CG we had to drive up a steep paved hill before turning into a steeper gravel road.

We chose this campground because we were only going to be in the area two days and it was near a place I wanted to visit. 

Saratoga National Historical Park preserves the site of the Battles of Saratoga.

We began our tour in the visitor center.
After stamping my national parks passport book, we watched a 20 minute orientation film.
The visitor center also has exhibits including a 15 minute fiber-optic battlefield map.
We downloaded the app to use during our self-guided 10 stop tour.

The park preserves the site of the Battles of Saratoga, the first significant American military victory of the American Revolutionary War. 
In 1777, American forces met, defeated, and forced a major British army to surrender.

July 21-23, 2017

Travel from Hanover, ME to Concord, VT.

Alpine Valley CG, Concord, VT.
We got a late start on the day we planned on exploring Franconia Notch State Park in Lincoln, New Hampshire. When we got out of the truck in the parking lot of the park, Monte noticed the front driver side tire was very low.  Luckily there was an auto center five miles down the road.  It turned out to be the valve stem.  By the time the repair was made it was too late to visit the State Park so we drove to the town of Littleton, NH because it had the closest Walmart to our campground.

The following day we got a much earlier start for our trip to Franconia Notch State Park.
Franconia Notch SP is located in the heart of the White Mountain National Forest.  The Notch is a spectacular mountain pass traversed by a unique parkway which extends from Echo Lake at the north to the Flume Gorge at the south.

We planned on exploring the gorge first but when we arrived at the visitor center it was closed.  A park employee informed us that there had been a power outage through the night.  She wasn’t sure what time the center would open or even if it would open at all.
We opted to drive to the Cannon Aerial Tramway and would call later in the day to see if the gorge opened up.

The tramway is an 80-passenger cable car that travels up to the 4,080 foot summit of Cannon Mountain in under ten minutes.

The guide pointed out the mountains of Maine, Vermont, New York and Canada in the distance. 
At the summit we took the trail to the observation tower where we were rewarded with spectacular views.
The ride down the mountain was as thrilling as the ride up.
The New England Ski Museum, located at the base of the aerial tramway, presents a timeline of the development of skiing and includes the career of area native Bode Miller. 
Also located in the Franconia Notch SP is the Great Stone Face, also known as The Old Man of the Mountain. 
The Profile was a series of five granite cliff ledges on Cannon Mountain that appeared to be the jagged profile of a face when viewed from the north. 
The rock formation was 1,200 feet above Profile Lake. 
The first recorded mention of the Old Man was in 1805 by a surveying team.  But the profile did not become famous until Nathaniel Hawthorne used the Old Man as inspiration for his short story “The Great Stone Face” published in 1850.

Unfortunately, the formation collapsed in 2003. 

Currently there is a viewing platform with “Steel Profilers” which, when aligned with the Cannon Cliff above, create what the profile looked like up on the cliff overlooking the Franconia Notch.

We learned that the Flume Gorge Visitor Center had opened up.
The Flume is a natural gorge at the base of Mount Liberty. 

The main attraction is a 2 mile walking trail including boardwalks through the gorge itself.
The trail starts from the visitor center, and the Flume Gorge is 7/10 of a mile out.
There is a shuttle available from the visitor center to the Boulder Cabin but we opted to walk. 
As the trail wound up through the woods we could hear the rushing water.
As the trail reaches the Flume, it moves to a narrow boardwalk at the bottom of the gorge.
The grand finale to the walk through the gorge is Avalanche Falls, the series of cascading waterfalls at the top.
Continuing along the trail we crossed the Sentinel pine bridge constructed in 1839.

Just past the bridge we came across the Wolf’s Den.

The den is a cave-like area that one must crawl through to get to the other side.
The little boy in Monte just couldn’t resist the challenge.