Our apologies for the very long post you are about to read, but we have been busy! The other reason this one is so lengthy is we have been without internet and the wifi we have been in and out of has been very weak.
The drive to Rumney, NH was less than 4 hours from Newport and the landscape is beautiful along this route, entering the White Mountain region. We settled into Baker River campground between Plymouth and Rumney and this camp site is by far our favorite since we started. We have a huge site facing the Baker River and after 20 minutes of unpacking, it has become home for the week.
Baker River Campground
They say the climbing in Rumney is the best sport climbing in the country, this will be a nice break from the trad climbing we’ve been doing since we left. At least for me, since I’m cleaning most of the gear after Jamie leads Our first day out was at the Parking Lot Wall and for a Monday it was pretty crowded and also a lot hotter than expected. The rock here is different, it is schist rock and for me very sharp so my finger tips are suffering the worst. I hope I get used to it!
Cathy's first day at Rumney
Since the weather was not that ideal the next day, and the rock was wet from the nights storm we decided to do some hiking on Tuesday. We settled on starting with the Flume Gorge up in Franconia Notch. The Notch is known as one of New Hampshires most visited areas. The only bummer about the hike is the entrance fee of $15, each! We figured it would be worth it from the flyer pictures alone and decided to splurge. The hike is about 2 miles long, and the flume gorge is really cool. Another one of our country’s natural wonders. Below are some pics from the hike.
Starting the Flume Gorge
First part of the Flume
Half way up the Flume
The Presidential Range in the background at the end of the Flume Gorge hike
Wednesday we headed back to Rumney for some more sport climbing. We ended up starting the day at the Armed and Dangerous Wall and then moved over to the Main Cliff, and ticked off some of the moderate classics. We also ran into another couple from Quebec, Canada. They were also staying at the Baker River campground, and we got to hanging out and climbing together. They are really nice people and share some of our same passions. Their names are Manuel and Veronique, and they both are in the Canadian military, she is an engineer and he is a search and rescue diver. We ended the day together and ended up hanging out back at the campground.
Thursday, we woke to some really iffy weather. We were hoping to climb, but again it had rained through the night and they were calling for 60% chance of rain all day…..real bummer. We decided to try and make a wet ascent of Mt. Moosilauke. We had gotten turned on to the hike the previous Monday by a local. After climbing, at the local swimming hole next to the crag we had run into a guy named Josh. Really nice guy, he was down there with his two kids swimming around. Turns out he owns the local Calm Post cafe, which is right next to the crag. We got to talking and he had recommended this hike among many other things to do and see. The hike was really good, wet…….really wet, but good. We chose the Gorge Brooke trail up the ravine. The higher we got the more the weather kicked in, and by the time we got to the summit it felt like we were in a Lord of the Rings movie. It was raining, the wind was blowing, and the fog had moved in. Not much for sight seeing, but a cool experience none the less.
Starting up Mt. Moosilauke
Part of the Mt. Moosilauke hike
Summit of Mt. Moosilauke........we imagine the view to be awesome!
On the decent we got a small break in weather and got this shot.
Thursday night the weather just didn’t seem to be on our side. We spent the evening under the easy-up playing cards and sippin’ cocktails.
Making the best of things in the rain!
We woke to the same weather Friday. We decided to take off and check out the Kancamagus Highway, another recommendation from Josh. It is a 34 mile stretch of New Hampshire highway between Lincoln and Conway. There is opportunity to pull off at least a dozen times at scenic overlooks, trail heads and attractions. There are so many great views and a lot of cool hikes to make this drive a day trip. Here are a few pics from the “Kanc” highway.
Sabbaday Falls on the Kanc highway
Cathy higher up at Sabbaday Falls
Jamie at Lower Falls
Cathy at Lower Falls
The next day the weather cleared for us and we were able to head back to Rumney to climb some more. Unfortunately, it was Saturday, and therefore very crowded, so we decided to head to the section of the cliffs called the Hinterlands, and hope no one else would head that far up the mountain. We were right about that, because it was a bit of butt kicking approach to get up there. Once we got there though we were rewarded with some really cool climbs, such as Jolt, Dolt, and I even got on Giant Man to see what the moves were like. The best part of the day though, and I’m very proud to announce this……Cathy got her first 5.10! I climbed the classic called Jolt, 5.10a, and Cathy gave it a run on top rope after me……..she got it, clean, outside! She really grinded it out, dealing with the moves and the exposure up high on the climb, it was really cool to see.
All smiles after climbing Jolt
On Sunday we moved to North Conway, NH. It pretty much rained all day, so we took our time driving over there and went through Franconia Notch passing Cannon Cliff. It is a neat drive and tons of places to pull off and check things out. We stopped at a few of the cascades along the way.
One of the many cascade falls
We finally arrived at our campground in North Conway, The Saco River Campground. A lot of the places were booked, so this was one of the only places we could get into. We pulled in to find it to be a family style campground, similar to a KOA with kids everywhere. Holy crap there were a lot of kids! Luckily they had an opening on a site with an alpine hut, otherwise known as a lean-to, which worked out really well because it was kind of removed from the crowds and we had a nice shelter from the rain to cook under and hang out. The other bonus was there were two of these Alpine Huts right next to each other and the family using the other one left early, so our friends Manuel and Veronique were able to move in next door to us. Otherwise, the campground was sold out. It was great having them there and hanging out with them again. They are really good people and we had a blast spending the next few days hiking and climbing together.
Our campsite at Saco River
The following Monday the four of us tackled Mt. Washington, where the summit is home to the worst weather in the world. There are numerous trail options to chose from for your ascent to the summit. We decided on the Caps Ridge Trail, which allowed us to summit Mt Jefferson, Mt Clay, and finally Mt Washington. Cathy and I agreed this was one of our best hikes yet. The weather was not ideal at the start, but luck was on our side and it cleared enough for us to get some fantastic pictures. The hike is really rocky and there is a lot of boulder scrambling, which makes for a great adventure and you definitely don’t feel like your in New Hampshire. Makes you feel like you are hiking in Europe.
Starting up Mt. Jefferson
Water break on Mt. Jefferson with Manuel and Veronique
Still heading up Mt. Jefferson
Heading down Mt. Jefferson towards Mt. Clay in the background, and Mt. Washington in the clouds.
Summit of Mt. Clay and on to Mt. Washington
The Cog Railway heading up Mt. Washington
Summit of Mt. Washington
Summit with Lake of the Clouds in the background
Album cover shot we learned from our friends Manuel and Veronique
Tuesday we headed over to Cathedral Ledge to check out the climbing there. We ended up jumping on the classic climb, Thin Air. Really fun climb with a neat traverse for the second pitch. The only thing we had to watch out for was a few wet spots which made the cruisy climbing a little more exciting. All in all a cool climb. At the top of the climb there is another buttress and we jumped on that climb as well called Pine Tree Eliminate, which was a neat 5.8 crack climb.
End of the 3rd pitch on Thin Air
Manuel and Veronique at the 2nd Pitch anchor on Thin Air
Top of Pine Tree Eliminate
The best part was at the end of this climb, Manuel and I found an unclimbed crack and we decided to give it a run and try and send it. As you can see from the pictures it was a little run out in the beginning, but he was able to get a few pieces in later before he popped off……it was crazy!!
Manuel going for the first ascent
Basically…..this is what two climbers like Manuel and I do for a laugh! After we got back down to the parking lot we headed off to go swim in the Saco River. This has been one of the best parts of exploring New England, you can climb some great crags, and within minutes there is always a lake, pond, or river to go swimming in afterwards to cool off…..a great way to top off a day of hard climbing or hiking.
Jamie about to go for a ride on the rope swing under the bridge
Wednesday we headed back to Cathedral Ledge to climb some more. Cathy and I jumped on the climb called Still in Saigon. It was a really techy 5.8 climb, which was a really good mental climb for me, especially after the fall I took last month. Everything went really well and we both enjoyed the route. We rapped to the bottom, packed up our gear, and sadly said bye to our new friends Manuel and Veronique. However, we should be seeing them again soon as we make our way through their neck of the woods, Quebec, Canada. We hopped in the truck and headed off to Farmington, Maine to visit our good friends Rick and Nancy. We arrived last night, August 1st and Nancy cooked us a great meal, and we both enjoyed a hot shower and sleeping in a real bed! We’ll be spending the next few days exploring Maine.