|Glider plane flying over Franconia Notch|
|Catching a breeze on Flume|
|Running into friends on Little Haystack|
|Hiking along the Franconia Ridge to Lincoln & Lafayette|
The next morning we ate our breakfast and hiked up and out a few miles to Galehead Hut, where we enjoyed breakfast # 2 of free leftover pancakes from the hut. Surprisingly, hardly anyone was there, just a few others and a croo member or two. We chatted up a few friendly folks before heading into the mist on South Twin. I was told about the steepness of this trail, but found to be more enjoyable than most steep hikes, as it's well taken care of and has some excellently-spaced stepping stones for short legs like mine. We passed a few others going in the opposite direction including a ranger, some day "loopers", and a few hikers making their way from Guyout Tentsite.
|Eating leftovers at Galehead Hut|
The summit of South Twin was socked in with clouds but the breeze was refreshing on yet another warm day. We travelled along the ridge, a new section of trail for me, and how lovely it was! Covered in moss and flowers and generally flat, I could have hiked that section all day long. Eventually we came to Mt. Guyout, passed the Guyout Tentsite and reached the spur trail to the summit of West Bond.
|Hiking to Bondcliff|
|About to go rafting!|
The Pemi is generally gentle and shallow south of Lincoln, NH, but this season it's been running high and fast due to all the rain, mildly exciting rapids for a blow-up raft. We started off on some small rapids, perfect for our first attempt. At one point we came to what seemed like an impasse, as a group of 4 kayakers got out and dragged their boat on the shore and around the rapids. We thought it was ok for us and carried on, thoroughly enjoying the mild white-water ride. We waved as we passed another couple who were resting on a beach with their kayaks. What a day we were having!
We soon came to another section that was a bit sketchy. We ducked under tree branches and fended off a downed tree with broken, pointy limbs that surely would have popped our raft if Chris wasn't quick with his hands. Another raft, deflated and washed up on a nearby shore told of a more unfortunate ending. We stopped to check our boat a little further down the stream to make sure we didn't have a leak. Just before launching back into the river, we saw the kayaking couple get caught in the downed tree. Both fell out of their boats but were quickly out and walking in the shallow water. The woman started yelling at the man she was with, tossing her paddle at him. After making sure they were ok, we decided it was best to carry on downstream and let them sort out their personal issues.
We paddled in peaceful water to a beach with a long, smooth rock perfect for sunning on. We stopped here to pick wild blueberries and watched the water go by. Chris noticed a floating broken paddle, and then another. He jumped in to get both and soon the other group of 4 kayakers stopped by the beach to chat. They told us they had helped out the couple who fell out of their boats and got one boat unstuck. The other boat remained stuck in some trees and they man never attempted to get it out. They also were pretty sure the broken paddle parts were the woman's whose boat overturned. That couple surely wasn't prepared for terrain like that, they seemed to be out for a more peaceful trip, and the kayakers watched as they ended their trip with a phone call for a ride home.
We continued on our adventure, running into the 4 kayakers every once in a while. At the end of our route we came upon some beautifully sculptured river rocks with smooth scoop-outs perfect for sitting in. We relaxed here for a bit, discussing whether we should attempt the set of rapids, known as "The Ledges" something the 4 kayakers had alluded to. We decided to scout it out and agreed it was doable. We pushed into rapids with our oars and newly acquired broken paddles and successfully ran the rapids, bouncing along rocks and waves, hooting with great joy! It wasn't a huge set of rapids by most standards, but for an inflatable raft for 2, it was exhilarating!
The only downside to the afternoon was realizing we left the bike keys at the start. Thankfully we caught a ride to our car with a newlywed couple and picked up the bikes and raft on our way back. We enjoyed lunch & ice cream in North Woodstock, and stopped by Cascade Park behind RT 3 to watch a father and two sons barreling over the small set of falls on inflatable snow tubes. They looked pretty happy too!