We broke camp and headed out, stopping at the office to say goodbye to Jack. No one was there, so we wrote a note and left it on the door. Living Waters Campground is a nice one – not very large, reasonably large campsites, and any time you can camp next to a trout stream is good. It’s unusual to have a deli at a campground, so that is nice. There is much to explore in the White Mountains, and they are very pretty. Probably there are too many people here in the summer for me, but there are many hikes that would be fun.
We followed the Ammonoosuc River on Rt. 302. This is a beautiful river that would be fun to float. It doesn’t look too complicated, but with just enough to make it interesting. A trout stream where we camped, there surely are smallmouth down lower. It was raining, but trees and mountains were coated with snow, fall colors still showing through. It is a sometimes rough road, but pretty. Quaint little New England towns with grassy malls broke up the farmland. After a while it turned into the Connecticut River. I was surprised by how pretty this river is. With a beautiful farm valley, the river is also beautiful and would be pretty to float. Scattered marshlands followed the river. Islands dotted the wandering river, and a rails-to-trails bikeway followed it forever. We passed a field with more turkeys than I have ever seen in one place. There were two groups of maybe 30 in each. With someone following closely behind, I couldn’t stop, but when I saw another group, I pulled over for a few pictures as traffic zoomed past. This is a scenic byway, but there are no pullovers or viewpoints. You just say, “Oooo, Ahhh” and have to keep driving.
We crossed over the river at Lebanon, a pretty town, and stopped at a large boat launch place for lunch. The winds were howling, but it was 57 degrees. A guy was zooming around on his jet-ski. We drove down the Vermont side, with Pisgah State Park as a stopping point. We passed a number of campgrounds, but found Hinsdale Campground to be open. The owner, Dave, checked us in. There are few travelers staying here, but lots of full timers. It closes next weekend. The attraction seems to be ATV trails. He told us about a hike in Keene with spectacular views. With no more information than that, we drove 30 miles to Keene. It is a very interesting, large town with a pretty downtown area. We had no idea where to go. A quick Google search showed a ton of rails-to-trails, but no mountain or high hikes. I was tired now with all this wandering, so we headed back. We had seen a leather store on the way over, and Martha has been wanting a pair of furry moccasins to keep her warm on the cold morning floor. If you want leather anything, Howard’s Leather Store is a great place with reasonable prices. It is a family-run business for 50 years. Hats of all sorts, boots, vests, coats, wallets, pants and gloves. I could have bought five or six hats, but wasn’t in a buying mood. Fortunately Martha found a pair of moccasins she liked. We asked the ladies about Dave’s suggested hike, and they knew exactly what he was talking about. It was an obscure road that is now paved, but the views are great. I was shot now and ready for cocktail hour.
On the way back, we stopped at a trailhead saying something about wildlife viewing area on the edge of Piscah State Park. A young man was coming off the trail so I asked him if he had seen any wildlife. No, he hadn’t seen anything significant, but raved about how pretty it was, showing us on the map where he went. There were lakes and small mountains and forests and plenty of places to explore. He had driven from Boston for the day to hike, an hour and a half drive. His enthusiasm was contagious. We’ll have to try it tomorrow.