NE Escapade 3: Kancamagus to White Lake

Hopefully you’ve already read about my coastline drive up to Maine and my backpacking trek through the Zealand area of the White Mountains. Picking up where I left off on Sunday midday, X and I’s goal was to hook up with the Kancamagus Highway in Conway and follow it back west, stopping at various viewpoints, waterfalls, and mini-hikes along the way. Unfortunately for us, there was a huge festival in North Conway this past weekend and traffic was clogged up, so we cut down south early and missed some of the best sections of this scenic highway. We did have a nice warm meal of chicken broccoli white pizza with a side of spinach berry salad, which helped re-energize us.

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Along the parts of the highway we did drive, we caught glimpses of a few waterfalls cascading toward the roadway and we pulled out at several overlooks. There were also railroad trestles up in the hills paralleling the road that were fun to search for in the trees. It was still quite overcast and drizzling rain however, and we were cold and dirty so our enthusiasm was lacking. I would definitely add this scenic drive to my list of things to try again the next time I’m in New Hampshire. I’d also like to get to Conway and hit the outlet shops with no taxes J As we reached Lincoln, the skies began to clear and we weren’t ready to give up on our northern explorations just yet. So we set our sights on Squam Lake and continued to wind through charming New England towns along the way.

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One highlight was finding the Covered Bridge Gift Shoppe, which was located in (on?) an actual covered bridge. It was fun to walk over the roaring river as we entered the store, but we decided against buying any of the trinkets for sale and headed on our way. When we got to the lake, we found a small public beach tucked up out of the way and parked the car. It wasn’t really warm out and it wasn’t really sunny, but going for a cold dip in the mountain lake seemed like our best option for getting the backpacking grim off of us so in we went! I’m not going to lie, it was cold. It probably took me ten minutes or more to get my head wet, but once we were in the water wasn’t THAT bad. We were even joined by a few adventurous ducks that wanted to play. I loved every minute of this part of the trip… it made me miss recent summers on Buggs Island Lake in Virginia and it made me realize how much I really enjoy lush, green forests and mountains that aren’t covered in dirt and sand. Granted, the temperatures could have been a little warmer but it felt like home and I liked it.

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Hopping out of the lake, we decided that instead of driving straight back to Manchester, we would find a campground nearby to stay the night. One, it would be nice to camp again since we had all of our stuff. Two, it would be nice to dry out our gear by setting it up again before flying home. Some quick research found a campground 20 minutes away on White Lake so away we went. After choosing a campsite and setting up camp, we hit the local grocery store for sausages and rice. Topping that off with (surprise!) salt water taffy and another $7 bottle of wine from NH’s finest liquor store, we were set for the night. The campground was fairly quiet and again, we crashed fairly earlier, although it took us awhile to dry out wood for a fire and to make dinner. In the morning, which was Monday already, we packed up our (somewhat drier) gear and turned south toward Manchester.

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We did stop off in the state capitol, Concord, so X could get some work done. I edited photos, responded to a few emails, and took a nap on the coffee shop couch. We then finished our three day northern tour by coasting back into Manchester sometime in the afternoon. Our first order of business was unloading the rental car and hanging most of our possessions out to fully dry on the back porch. It was still just Monday and we had just under 48 hours left to enjoy the Northeast, but you’ll have to check back in a few days to see what we did with our remaining time. Oh, and sorry for the lack of pictures of people in this post but we hadn’t actually showered in two days so most of the pictures aren’t pretty. As always, thanks for reading!

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: NE Escapade 4: Newfound Lake and MORE Lobster | Rays of Funshine

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