After my last post on Friday before Labor Day…we settled down to basically stay off of the roads and out of the crowds for the holiday…but as it turned out that wasn’t really necessary. The campground had mostly filled up by Thursday afternoon and we expected it to stay that way until mid-afternoon on Monday…but other circumstances intervened. Connie complained Saturday morning that the folks around us must have been in some sort of group as they congregated, wandered between rigs, and made noise until almost midnight on Friday. Then about mid-day we spotted several women heading down toward the campground office all in very dressy dresses and heels…at that point we figured it was either a wedding or a family reunion and didn’t worry about it much.
We headed out to Mass Saturday evening as the Sunday one was farther away…then came home and watched ‘Bama open their National Championship defense against Louisville…we have been hearing ever since the second half theatrics in last January’s Championship Game about the quarterback controversy they had to deal with…should they start the 26-2 starter who took them to a pair of Championship games or should they start the freshman (now sophomore) with little experience but with a better arm and defense reading ability than the 26-2 one…but despite hundreds of demands from sports writers, talking heads, and the fan base ol’ Nick Saban said that he would decide when he decided…and then named them as co-starters for the first game. Sort of like he was seeing which one performed better in actual game situations…and while neither would be a poor choice the freshman won…at least for the time being…the starter job with a pretty impressive performance. The 26-2 guy came in and played in the 2nd and 3rd quarters…but is clearly…as was obvious to everybody before the controversy even began…not as good a passer as the younger guy. Anyway…final score 51-14 and with that the team tied the record at 104 weeks for being the top choice in the AP poll…they should break that record this week as Arkansas State shouldn’t put up much of a struggle for them as long as the team is ready to play.
Around mid day Sunday…the campground pretty much cleared out…turned out it was a wedding and all the rigs were folks visiting for that…but by 1500 on Sunday the campground was probably 1/3 full at best and it remained that way through Monday. Neil grilled chicken on Sunday and then marinated boneless pork short ribs and corn on the cob on Monday…all was good.
Tuesday we only had a 52 mile travel day to Glen NH upcoming…so we took our time getting ready, solved the new brake pads crisis, and headed out around 1130. Connie noticed our trailer brakes squealing the other day and on further review our driver side brakes are all pretty worn but only on the inside pad on the caliper…the outside pads are still pretty good so it looks like the pistons might be sticking a bit. He had one pair of pads but needed 3 pairs to fix…ordered them from Amazon for delivery to Glen and they were supposed to arrive the same day as we arrived. However…the vendor sent them via USPS since he didn’t notice it was a campground delivery…and when the package arrived Saturday at the destination post office…which is literally at the end of the campground road…they marked it return to sender as that particular post office doesn’t deliver to street addresses, only PO boxes. Now why they couldn’t just notice that it was to the campground…this is a small town…and put it in the PO box I don’t know but we got the notification that it was being returned to sender. Neil went onto Amazon and submitted a request to the vendor on Sunday of Labor Day weekend asking for a duplicate shipment to be sent out via UPS/FedEx to arrive on time…then he called the vendor to confirm on Tuesday morning about 0900 and the replacement order packing and shipping was already in progress. Great work by Justin at Breckbill Trailers in PA.
We didn’t even stop on our 52 mile trip…got to Glen Ellis Campground in Glen NH around 1300 and set up in our site 15…a nice grass/gravel FHU 30 amp sited…it’s marked as a pull through but probably only for something as tall as Airstream…we’ll have to back around and out to depart but that’s next week’s problem. The only drawback is that the weather for Tuesday through Thursday was supposed to be around 90…and with only a single A/C unit on 30 amp power we figured it might be hot. This turned out to be mostly a non-problem as we’re partially shaded and there’s been some nice breezes.
Connie had Fun Stuff© planned for Wednesday through Friday…then we’ll do the brake pads on Saturday and have a short Fun Stuff© day on Sunday and a visit to the local speakeasy…yeah, from back in the Prohibition days…but more on that later on in the week.
Thursday she had us a nice drive planned along the Kancamagus Highway Scenic Drive with 13 stops at waterfalls, gorges, viewpoints, and the like…an we figured it would be a long day. We left the rig just about 0720 and returned at almost 1600…so it was a full day including 3 hikes…we skipped the planned 4th one as Connie’s hip started acting up and Neil went on a short unplanned one at Franconia Notch State Park to see the Old Man of the Mountain. The hikes totaled about 3 miles with about 400 feet total of elevation gain up and back down…and none of them were of the R&R variety…nice graded paths pretty much.
First up we stopped at Diana’s Baths…this is actually a series of waterfalls…they’re similar to the ledge falls that I posted over the past couple weeks in ME but these have nice deep and calm pools between them. Back in the days the local Indian tribes used them for bathing purposes, then later on there was a sawmill here to take advantage of the water flow.
The path up to the falls…nice and easy walking as you can see compared to what we had in Maine.
The lowest in the series of falls and the lower pool…Connie mostly stayed down here and sat up on the rock to the right of this picture while Neil clambered ‘round the rocks for 15 minutes or so getting some but not all of the falls on the memory card. The pipe on the right side is part of the sawmill that was on the site.
Two different treatments of the same fall…the first is Connie’s freeze the water shot from her perch and the second is Neil’s smooth the water flow out taken from a bit out on the rocks.
Connie snuck one through the trees…she really likes images like this with greenery in the foreground framing the background whatever…and they’re growing on Neil as well.
A wider shot of the double treatment above…this the area where the baths were taken both to the right of the rock at center and in another pool behind it.
We headed out toward our planned second stop…then saw the sign for Cathedral Ledge so we took a short side trip to the top to see the views. It’s basically a big chunk of granite sticking out of the ground.
Connie liked this tree growing out of the side of the rock…there’s no dirt there so I can’t imagine what it’s growing in, probably a mix of various plant compost that lodged in a crack.
Mount Washington…that of the highest peak in the northeast and the highest ever recorded wind speed of 231 mph…it’s out there somewhere in the Presidential Mountain Range…we think it’s one of the group to the left of center.
The Swift River Bridge built in 1869…no longer used for traffic.
A bit farther down…the bridge was a scheduled stop…we had another unscheduled stop at the Saco River covered bridge…this one is still used for car and non dualley pickup traffic.
After the Saco River Bridge we turned onto the Kancamagus Scenic Highway which runs westward through the White Mountain National Forest from the Conway are over to Lincoln. Kancamagus (the name means The Fearless One)…grandson of Passaconaway and nephew of Wonalancet…served as the third and final Sagamon of the Penacook Confederacy…a loose confederation of local tribes in the late 1600s. He tried to maintain peace between the natives and the white man but eventually resorted to war as harassment and breaking of agreements continued.
The road largely parallels the course of the Passaconaway River…which isn’t too deep and has lots of rocks in it as you can see.
The Albany covered bridge…again, still open to traffic but limited to cars only and 3 tons maximum weight…one of the few ways to cross the river along the length of the highway.
The Lower Falls of the Swift River…we never found anything named the Upper Falls…so whatever I guess. Again…another double treatment side by side.
This is the falls at Rocky Gorge…about 3 miles upstream of the Lower Falls…it’s unnamed but I guess you could call it the Upper Falls though.
Cool looking barn we spotted.
We proceeded along to the Sabbaday Falls…which again is a series of step falls…but these actually have some drop in each cascade as the gorge is pretty steep at this point. Again…Connie stayed at the bottom while Neil went up and about the rocks…that seems to be a continuing theme here.
The lowest cascade here.
Pool below the falls…but then just downstream of here there’s a continual series of 1 to 2 foot high at lmost waterfalls for about 1/3 of a mile back to the parking lot.
Second and third falls from the bottom…the second is the tallest single drop in the cascade…and there are another 2 or 3 above what you can see in this shot.
This is actually an iPhone shot of the 2nd and 3rd drop…but it’s a vertical panorama to get the entire thing in one shot.
At the top there are a couple of small drops…although Neil thought this was the nicest image he got here…somebody built a cairn…or inuksuks as the aboriginal folks would call them…anyways he’s really impressed by how this one turned out. He (almost) always does the HDR exposure bracketing thing with the camera on a tripod and slow shutter speeds on waterfalls to get the smooth flowing water effect…but it’s always a judgement call on what base shutter speed to pick. Too fast and the water gets frozen…too slow and the motion just blurs the water to pure white. The trick is to get it smooth and blurry but still with some texture and color/light gradation in the water…it’s really hard to get it perfect which is why most of the time he misses just a little…but he doesn’t have the time or patience to take 6 different bracketed sets with varying base shutter speeds…and then process each of the sets then compare the final results to see which he likes best…although to be really perfect you make each bracketed set the same exact framing and then take the best 3 combinations and blend them together. All of that processing would take him an hour per waterfall…and for practical purposes there is very little difference between perfect and good enough.
We stopped by a nice little lake and got some nice shots with reflections in them.
This is a Viceroy butterfly…a Monarch look-alike…you can tell it’s a Viceroy and not a Monarch by the presence of a black line separating the front half of the upper wing from the back. Other than that line…it’s almost identical to a Monarch…which holds the record for migration as it goes annually…twice…from southern Mexico to the northern USA.
Pano at the lake…Neil walked out on a little dock there to get this shot.
View from the top of one of the passes…up here in ME/NH they don’t call them passes but notches…hence Franconia Notch, Crawford Notch, and many others that we’ve driven through this week.
A couple of the NH aboriginal peoples.
A nice little suspension bridge we stopped by…had to wait about 15 minutes before there were no people in the shot. Sure…Neil could have used the Magic People Remover© software…but not having them there in the first place is just easier. Connie took this shot that I’m posting…between the two of them they took about a dozen frames and only one was (a) perfectly centered and (b) had no people in it.
After getting off the Kancamagus Highway…we headed up I-93 which goes through Franconia Notch…think pass as I discussed above. Franconia Notch is most famous for the Old Man of the Mountain…but that’s in a bit. This is a sort of sideways waterfall named The Basin…we’ve posted this picture before but it was back in 2012 when we first were on the road…see our entry from September or October 2012 when we were parked at Cannon Mountain Campground which is just a few miles north of this spot. The Basin…as I said…is a sideways waterfall…you can see the water coming in at center left and then it swirls around this 15 foot diameter 10 feet deep pool in the center and then departs via another channel at lower right. Really a nice little place…and we didn’t really realize that we had been there before until we walked up to the fall and said…we been here before…we recognize this.
A little 2 foot tops high fall on a tributary stream that joins the main one just downstream of The Basin.
Next up on I-93 was Old Man of the Mountain Plaza. As you recall…or maybe not, depends on whether you read Yankee Magazine or keep up with stuff like this…there was a famous rock formation up on the west side of I-93 in Franconia Notch that had a remarkable resemblance to the facial structure of an old man…hence the name. It had been gradually eroding over the years…and was eventually supported by a whole bunch of wire rope and eye bolts to keep it from falling off. It was about 40 feet tall and 25 wide. Unfortunately…the reinforcing only delayed the inevitable…and between midnight and 0200 on May 3, 2003 it fell off of the mountain…and the Old Man of the Mountain was no more. Undeterred…as this was a pretty famous landmark in these parts…the state and a consortium of businesses planned and in 2011 dedicated a site called Old Man of the Mountain Plaza…where you can see the actual profile of what it used to look like. There are a series of steel posts aligned with the height of the individual looking at them…you stand on the appropriate set of footprints that matches your height and the little metal post thingy…which is only about 3 inches tall…lines up with where the rock used to be on the mountain.
It’s a pretty cool thing…but even back in the day the rock piece was really not very large…this is a zoomed in photo so you can see the outline but in actuality if you were standing on the ground at the plaza and held your fingers up about a quarter inch apart that’s about the size of the former rock structure. It’s gone now…but it’s nice that the state has put up a sort of pseudo Old Man of the Mountain so that future visitors can see it.
While at the Plaza…Connie stayed in the car as her hip was done by now…Neil got a couple of really great reflection shots.
This is his current pick as his most perfect reflection shot of all time…and there was no post processing here to get the reflection…just his normal HDR stuff to get the highlights and shadows right as it was getting late in the day. He couldn’t believe how still the water was for both this and the couple of shots above.
Wow…long post with a lot of photos. I’ve got more to post from our next day of Fun Stuff©…but Ima kinda tuckered out now…we went out for Southwestern food and Margaritas for dinner…and it’s already gotten long so I’ll leave the rest until tomorrow or the next day.
Interesting things found on the net this week…just a couple today as this is already pretty long.
The brain of a Social Justice Warrior…aka a liberal.