Sabbaday Falls

sabbadayfallssabbadayfalls2I first stumbled upon Sabbaday Falls while hiking the TriPyramid Mountains, but as the end stretch of a twelve mile hike that included two mountain summits over 4000 feet, I didn’t really have the energy left to fully appreciate the beauty of this site the way it deserved. I knew I’d be back.

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Located in the White Mountain National Forest off the Kancamagus Highway in Albany, NH, it’s easy to see why Sabbaday Falls is one of the most popular waterfalls in New Hampshire.

sabbadayfalls6Rushing water cuts a deep gorge through the mountain rock, falling, at its peak, for 45 feet. Lower down it gathers in shallow pools, cascades down the rock face and flows in a steady, winding stream, making this one of the most enjoyable walks around. It’s also quick, an easy grade, and wheelchair accessible, so sabbadayfalls4
there’s no excuses not to stop the car and explore this natural wonder!

 

The Lower Falls ~ An Enchanting Stop Along the Swift River

lowerswift7lowerswift16The Lower Falls recreation site on the Swift River is one of the most popular stops along the Kancamagus lowerswift12Highway. Located in Albany, New Hampshire, everywhere you look there lowerswift15is a postcard lowerswift13worthy view of sparkling water spilling over granite rocks, collecting
at the bottom into a pool that is packed with swimmers during the lowerswift9summer months.  It’s a great place to stop for a picnic, complete with picnic tables and charcoal grills. The parking lot is on the right, about seven miles in from the Conway end of the Kanc, and is definitely worth the drive!lowerswift14    lowerswift4

Diana’s Bath

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As the sun beats down on a blistering hot day it’s hard to imagine that it was only last month that I was trekking through the snow and slipping over ice to explore Diana’s Bath.
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A quick hike across flat terrain in Bartlett, NH, Diana’s Bath boasts a series of small waterfalls. Located in the White Mountain National Forest, the falls were once used as a sawmill, but now the area is a protected historic site. The water levels are at their peak in April, when these photos were taken.  This  picturesque hike is a wonderful way to spend the day and is easy enough for the whole family. With plenty of nearby trails to explore and sites to see, Diana’s Bath should not be missed.

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Fall Moment

IMG_20141012_181839310There’s a fleeting moment in fall when the trees are dappled with candy colors. A moment when brightly painted leaves swirl through the air on a chill autumn breeze leaving the ground strewn with gems – rubies, garnets, and opals shining from the forest floor. A moment when the weakening sunlight reflects off the carpet of leaves casting the world in a warm rosy glow.

Blink and you’ll miss it. Blink and the trees will be bare, the ground littered with brittle brown leaves.

This was that moment.

Always Do Your Research.

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I learned a very important lesson this weekend – always do your research. Different from always be prepared. We always go hiking with a full pack – first aid kit, water purifying kit, flare, space blanket – basically everything you’d need should you encounter an emergency or get lost or stuck in the wild.  No, doing your research means knowing what you’re getting into. Not that Mount Greylock was hard to hike. In fact, it was the easiest mountain I’ve hiked so far. But I didn’t know that going in, because I didn’t do my research.

     To begin, we started the day with a three hour drive to get to the mountain. Since we were navigating to the visitor’s center at the foot of the mountain, we didn’t bother printing any maps of the trails before we got there. We were sure they’d have plenty. And they did. So I got a map from the ranger and walked across the parking lot to where the trail started while casually perusing the map. Then I looked a little closer at the map. Looked at the sign at the trail head. Then the map again. Then I hiked back across the parking lot to speak with the ranger.

     The full trail for Mount Greylock is eight miles long. I love hiking, and used to think nothing of a 10 mile trip – back when I lived in Florida where everything is relatively flat and you hike a mile in under 20 minutes. But, as I learned the hard way on my first climb after moving up here last year, mountain miles are different. It takes a good hour a mile when you’re climbing straight up. We had read (briefly) that it only took 4 hours to climb Greylock. Something wasn’t adding up.

      A quick chat with the ranger revealed that very few people climb from the bottom, especially if they’re not planning on staying overnight (which we weren’t), and there are many places to park along the way as the road goes all the way to the top. A lot of visitors just drive up. So, at the ranger’s suggestion, we parked halfway up at the campground parking area. About 4 miles from the top, so still a challenging day’s hike. We thought. Except that when we get out and start climbing, we discover that the trail really isn’t that steep. Almost like a vacation compared to the last couple of weekends. 
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So we took the Campground Trail to Hooper, then chose the Overlook trail to the top to add a little time. We passed a few nice waterfalls on the way up. Lots of mud, slick rock, and tree roots made the journey a little more challenging than a walk in the park. At the top, there’s a war memorial and a lodge. A nice view, but a bit crowded with all the people who drive up. We spent some time wandering around the top, had our mountain summit snack, then started our way back to the car and our long drive home. We took the Appalachian Trail to Hooper to Campground on the way down, and passed a picturesque  pond. The entire climb took less than four hours, with plenty of picture ops and a long stroll around the top. Had we been prepared and done our research going in, we would have known that we didn’t need to start halfway up – most of the hike was not measured in mountain climbing miles. But it’s a lesson learned, and we’ll be better prepared next time.

     However, we have a little something different planned for next weekend’s adventure. We’ll be traveling back to Western Massachusetts, but this time we’re headed for the Deerfield River, where I will try my hand at fly fishing for the first time!

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