In 2011, Greg and I visited the presidential range of the White Mountains in New Hampshire. This was right after Hurricane Irene and they sustained 10-million dollars of damage. Some of the roads were closed to a few of the hiking trails we wanted to explore. We were able to do some hiking last year and we got our bearings with the area that was open. This year we were prepared with a lot more information and blessed with beautiful weather! We decided the focus of this vacation would be hiking to many of their beautiful waterfalls.
Our first day of vacation began at a cold 37 degrees! Luckily, it warmed up to 75-degrees so it was a great day for hiking. We started our day with a visit to the AMC Highland Center at Crawford Notch and Visitor Center to obtain information on local day-hikes. We wanted to start off with a couple of “easier” hikes to get re-familiarize with the terrain. However, in NH “easier” hikes can still be challenging terrain with the interweaving tree roots, rocks, boulders, and loose stones!
We found the staff to be very knowledgeable and happy to answer any questions. You could tell they love what they do and are passionate about hiking – even during the winter. They told us about hiking to the huts high up in the presidential mountains during the winter! They showed us points of interests on a map and provided us with a document outlining day-hikes in the Crawford Notch area. Greg also purchased a couple of helpful maps providing more details to help us find our destinations. The AMC Highland lodge offers a lot including overnight facilities, a dining room, and hiking merchandise. They provide a wide-range of programs for children, guided hikes, and various speakers. Check out their website for more information.
Below is a picture of the AMC Highland Lodge that Greg took when we hiked to Crawford Ledge. We will tell you more about that hike in one of our future blogs!
Below is a video showing the lodge and the building where the summer staff lives. Beautiful mountains and clean, pure air surround the lodge!
Almost every day, we had our lunch at the AMC Highland cafeteria as it prepared us for our afternoon hikes. The food was targeted towards hikers to provide them with energy and was really good. We had sandwiches that were made with hardy bread and fresh ingredients. Plus Greg had their award winning chili that he really enjoyed. I must admit the one day we did not have our lunch there I was disappointed in the quality of my lunch as it did not provide adequate energy for hiking.
Below is a picture of Greg’s lunch with a bowl of their award winning chili that gave him a lot of energy for the afternoon hikes.
Below is a picture of my lunch. I love the dense multi-grain bread plus the “big cookie” that was packed with energy! I also discovered a new favorite brand of healthy chips called “Food Should Taste Good”. Unfortunately, I have not been able to find the type of dense multi-grain bread that they use.
We talked to the staff about accommodations for staying in the lodge for a future trip. They have about 15-private rooms with queen beds and bath. Then there is a section that has shared rooms with bunk beds and shared bathrooms. The lodge includes a couple of living rooms, a library room, and different day programs such as guided hikes. For your money you get a buffet breakfast and a four-course family style dinner that starts at 6:00. You sit down with all the guests as a family and they serve each course. It is a great way to get to know the other hikers and hear about their adventures. Especially the hikers who stay in the huts as that may be the type of hiking we never do. At least we can hear their stories! Unfortunately, we did not know about the accommodations or we would have stayed here since this was the area we did most of our hiking. We considered staying here next year, but we might move on to Franconia Notch so we will need to explore other accommodations.
Click for a sample dinner menu.
We learned more about the Huts that are located high in the White Mountains that the hikers stay at to eat and sleep at while hiking the larger mountains or just exploring the surrounding areas further. The huts are spaced just far enough apart to give the hikers a place to eat and sleep on a multi-day hike through the White Mountains. From the Highland lodge hikers may have an overnight at the Zealand Falls Hut or Mizpah Spring Hut. The Mizpah hut hold 60-guests in coed bunkrooms accommodating four to eight people. The Zealand hut holds 36-guests in four coed bunkrooms. During the peak season you do need reservations! There is a guide who oversees the hut and in the summer cooks breakfast and dinner for the hikers. Greg asked how they supply those huts as some of them are several miles to hike. We were told at the beginning of the season they helicopter non-perishable supplies to each hut. Then each week a hiker or two will bring non-perishables to the huts. The hikers will carry 80-pounds of non-perishable food on their back. The picture of the below hiker was hiking about 2.8 miles to get to her destination and the terrain was straight up with moderately rocky trail interlaced with roots and boulders. They have a wooden pack frame that helps supports the hiker back if s/he should fall. When leaving the hut, the hiker will carry back any garbage. Hiking is a carry in, carry out philosophy. Remember if you leave garbage on the mountain, someone else will have to carry it out! We noticed how clean New Hampshire is – you do not see garbage on the roadside.
The AMC Highland Lodge was one of my favorite places of the trip. The scenery was unbelievable and imagine how wonderful it would be to stay there and walk out to the mountains!
Check out my other New Hampshire hiking videos and pictures – they are located under “Fun Stuff”. You can find that link on the left hand side of my blog.
Glen Ellis Falls
Mount Washington Tour
Hiking Trip to Arethusa Falls
NH Hiking Trip to Gibbs Falls, Crawford Cliff
NH Hiking Trip to Ripley Falls
NH Hiking Trip
New Hampshire Signs from our Fall Hiking Trip
We stayed at Stonehurt Manor Inn and our package included dinner. Greg had a wedge salad and found he really enjoy the twist on the traditional iceberg lettuce salad. When I make a salad for dinner it is typically baby spinach. But since Greg enjoyed the wedge salad we are going to have it once in awhile.
Ingredients I like to use….
A head of iceberg lettuce cut into four sections
Extra sharp cheddar cheese, cut in wedges
Carrots cut in wedges
Tomatoes cut in wedges
Low fat Peppercorn Parmesan Ranch Dressing
Basically cut your iceberg head of lettuce into four sections. Rinse under cold water and drain on a paper towel. Cube your other ingredients. Place one of the iceberg wedges on a serving dish. Surround with your wedge ingredients and top with slivered almonds. Drizzle your low-fat dressing over the wedge salad and enjoy!