Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Not Your Average Tuesday

I started out the day with a mellow run on the cart paths and managed to get in 5.5 miles before getting home to shower and get us all up and out the door for the day's adventure. For some reason, despite the last day of school being only 3 weeks away, today was an in-service day at Sam's school so she was off. We have been wanting to get Sam out for a longer hike in a different place so decided today would be the perfect day for it and the weather certainly cooperated! We asked Sam if she would like to hike up a mountain or go see a waterfall, and she chose the waterfall so we planned a hike up to Arethusa Falls in Crawford Notch, New Hampshire.

It is a long drive, but a pretty one and Sam was quite good on the way over. By the time we arrived, it was around 10:30 and it was already warm out. Luckily, there was also a nice breeze, so it really was a lovely day for a hike! And despite the fact that Ryan and I have hiked miles and miles over many years in the Whites, we have actually never done this trail, so it was new to all of us.

Sam was excited from the start, and did a great job all day. We chose to ascend via the Bemis Brook Trail, which was a twisty, turny, rather rugged singletrack trail which hugged close to the edge of Bemis Brook. We got out along the stream on the granite ledges and hiked up them to Bemis Falls before rejoining the trail. It truly was beautiful.

The water was cold!

Along Bemis Brook

Neat granite steps

Jack in the pulpit along the trail

The kiddo, leading the way

Rushing water

Bemis Falls

Sam and I along the stream


Bemis Falls

Sam and Ryan along the brook

Really cool rock slabs and rushing water

Cute kid and waterfalls, what more could you ask for? ;)

At the top of Bemis Falls, the trail turned sharply upwards with a lot of rocks and roots, but Sam worked her way up to the next trail junction with a lot of spirit and hard work. She was having a great time! When we joined back up with the Arethusa Falls Trail, the trail widened and got a lot more mellow but it was still a good ways up to the Falls themselves. Sam was tired, but she rallied and did a good job moving along.

Up the trail

Headed up

Dappled forest

Painted Trillium

Toad, the only wildlife we saw all day

Once we reached Arethusa Falls, we realized why this was such a popular spot and decided it was well worth the hike! It was spectacular. Likely 150 to 200 feet high with pools beneath and just a really pretty spot.

Arethusa Falls

Sam took off her shoes and got in the water - it was cold but refreshing on a hot day!

The falls

More falls

Sam with her toes in the water - brrr!

Sam and the falls

In the water

Waterfall selfie ;)

After a long time spent admiring the falls, getting feet wet (Sam) and having a snack, we finally headed back down. The return trip was much quicker as the Arethusa Falls Trail was a much more mellow trail and we didn't have quite the need to stop every few feet to check things out ;) We saw a number of people heading up the trail as we descended, and Sam told them all that the falls were worth the hike! All in all, my watch read 3.9 miles in a little under 4:00, with a moving time of just over 2:00, and almost 1,000 feet of gain. I'd say it was a successful hike, and a whole lot of fun!

Strava data

Once we got back to the car, we quickly changed and then headed into North Conway to stop for a late lunch/early dinner at Moat, where Ryan proceeded to eat a huge plate of sliders ;)

Now that's a plate of food, right there!

Then we took the scenic route home and after Sam asking us every few minutes if we'd found a place for ice cream despite the fact that we were in the middle of nowhere ;), we finally stopped at Toot's to finish up the day with delicious ice cream and some time with the farm animals. What fun!

Perfect end to the day :)

Feeding the lambs

Baby goat!

He was the size of a chicken! So cute!!

Mini goats

All in all, a very busy and long day but a whole lot of fun and we are incredibly proud of Sam for doing such a good job hiking! Now that we know she can handle herself on a longer hike, it's time to break out the books and plan our next adventure ;)

[Disclaimer: Neither Ryan nor I expected the hike to be quite so long, nor the Bemis Brook Trial to be quite so rugged. Sam got bit multiple times by black flies, including once behind her ear, which she discovered when she scratched the bite and came away with her hand covered in blood. She did get tired and we obviously stopped many times for snacks and drinks of water, to take in the view, etc, as is evident by 2 hours of non-moving time on the hike, but honestly she really was good the whole time despite flagging from time to time. Not all rainbows and candy but about as close as you can get when hiking with a 6 year old ;)]

Monday, May 30, 2016

Memorial Day Walk

The weather forecast for today wasn't looking great, so we planned on a mellow morning and hoped that skies would clear enough for an afternoon walk. We stuck with the plan, sleeping in, making pancakes and bacon, playing games and staying in our PJs until well after lunch :) By then, it was starting to get sunny so we suited up and headed over to the Cathance for a walk around the Heath.

It really turned out to be a beautiful afternoon and we had a fun nature hike, stopping to look at the flowers, check out the tadpoles and frogs in the quarry pond next to the Heath and count the ladyslippers along the way - we saw 56 of them! A lovely 1.3 miles and a fun little hike with my two favorite people.


One of the many ladyslippers along the trail

Walking around the Heath

Fringed polygala


Wild cala lily

Cute kid :)

Heath, blue sky reflected

Heath Loop

One of two bullfrogs, who were seriously both as big as my hand. So HUGE!

Blueberry bush


Enjoying the view at the Heath

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Pineland Fun

I did actually contemplate running the 25k for about three minutes yesterday ;) but nah! Although today would have been the day to run distance at Pineland - it was just about perfect running weather!

I started off the day with a lovely 8 miles out in the Cathance. I was kind of kicking myself for not getting in as many miles on Friday or yesterday as I would have liked (hence the Pineland thoughts...) but once I got out there and just enjoyed the run, I was happy. Lots of lady slippers, blue bead lilies, star flowers, Indian wild cucumbers, trillium, false lily of the valley lined the forest floor. The river is running very low right now but there are still some nice rapids.

Ribbit! Stopped to check out the vernal pool and found a few noisy bullfrogs.

The blue bead lily, looking nothing like it's name at this stage of life but sporting some lovely delicate yellow flowers.

After Ryan got in his run, we headed out to a yummy brunch before going over to Pineland for the afternoon. It was fun to catch up with friends and cheer on the runners, and of course Sam had fun in the bounce house!


Cute kid in the bounce house :)