For those of you that are hikers, you know of the White Mountains  as a stellar hiking destination, but you probably have no idea that there is a great bike path through Franconia Notch. On our way from Vermont to Maine, we stopped over in the Whites to take advantage of an unseasonably warm and beautiful day. The Presidential Range is one of two sections of the AT on my list for this trip, but we are saving our hiking legs for the big hike in Maine, so we were excited to learn about the Franconia Notch Bike Path, a perfect activity to enjoy the beautiful day. We set out, expecting to ride the 20 mile round trip in one go, not realizing all the sights we would encounter along the way.

You likely know about the Old Man in the Mountain, a stone visage of an old man’s profile on the side of a cliff, which serves as the states symbol even ten years after it collapsed. This rock feature is so important to the people of New Hampshire, that a Legacy Fund formed to create a memorial plaza to the Old Man.

The entrance to the "Profiler Plaza". The steal bar is one of four turnbuckles installed in the 50's to keep the Old Man together. It was straight, but the force of the fall bent it.

The entrance to the “Profiler Plaza”. The steal bar is one of four turnbuckles installed in the 50’s to keep the Old Man together. It was straight, but the force of the fall bent it.

When aligned properly with the cliff, these steal beams, called "profilers", reconstruct the Old Man's face.

When aligned properly with the cliff, these steal beams, called “profilers”, reconstruct the Old Man’s face. 

The profiler lined up to show the Old Man's face. An impressive design feat!

The profiler lined up to show the Old Man’s face. An impressive design feat!

The profiler from a different angle.

The profiler from a different angle.

An explanation of how the face fell.

An explanation of how the face fell. 

When deciding where to camp, we choose Lafayette Place Campground over the nearby Cannon Mountain RV Park because we didn’t need hook-ups, and the RV sites were expensive. We came across the RV park on the ride, and discovered that we really made the right choice. This place charges forty dollars a night to camp in a parking lot!

We are happy that we didn't choose to stay in the RV park! That's the advantage of having a smaller vehicle with the solar panels and large battery bank - we can drive into smaller campgrounds and use tent sites.

We are happy that we didn’t choose to stay in the RV park! That’s the advantage of having a smaller vehicle with the solar panels and large battery bank – we can drive into smaller campgrounds and use tent sites.

Campsite at Lafayette Place Campground. This site was located up a steep hill that John was barely able to coax the van up.

Campsite at Lafayette Place Campground. This site was located up such a steep hill that John was barely able to coax the van into the site.

[John’s interjection: Which campground would you prefer? The RV parking lot, or the nice forested site on the hill? … thought so.]

The RV sites do have one perk - access to the beautiful Echo Lake.

The RV sites do have one perk – access to the beautiful Echo Lake.

The bike path runs alongside the parkway through the Notch, accessing many of the attractions (see map below). I didn’t know there were so many tourist activities in these mountains. We stopped by the Cannon Mountain Aerial Tram, but decided it wasn’t worth $15 each to ride it.

Map showing the attractions along the parkway through Franconia Notch.

Map showing the attractions along the parkway through Franconia Notch. 

We also passed on visiting the Flume Gorge, where you have to pay $15 each to hike a water fall. I love waterfalls, but that seems silly. We did learn a lot of fun facts in the visitors center.

Note the last sentence, and the year at the bottom.

Note the last sentence, and the year at the bottom.  

 Now read starting from the fifth line in the last paragraph. An example of how human's can underestimate the forces of nature.

Now read starting from the fifth line in the last paragraph. An example of how human’s can underestimate the forces of nature.

The last stop we made along the path is one I want to return to. I could spend hours examining the fascinating water dynamics and smooth stone creek beds in and around “The Basin”.

The Basin, a unique "pothole" under a waterfall in the granite creek bed.

The Basin, a unique “pothole” under a waterfall in the granite creek bed.

More fascinating water flows eroding granite, located near The Basin.

More fascinating water flows eroding granite, located near The Basin.

The following day we encountered an even more surprising sight while driving through the town of Lincoln. We certainly were not expecting to see thousands of people, many of whom were men in kilts! It turns out that Lincoln, NH is host to a Highland Games festival.

Even bikers wear kilts!

Even bikers wear kilts!

We made a few stops during the drive to enjoy the natural beauty of the beginning of falls.

We made a few stops during the drive to enjoy the natural beauty of the beginning of fall.

Even in the mountains of New Hampshire, we found a produce stand! As we passed by the truck full of apples on the side of the road, I convinced John that we should stop and that I would not buy too many. He made a u-turn so we could go back and pick some up. While I was purchasing a bag of apples, another customer stopped by and said to me “I want to complement you for your truth in advertising! I saw you slowing down, and figured you were stopping for the apples, but I just now read your bumper sticker!” Truth in advertising…I like it 🙂

Truth in advertising? The complement from my fellow produce stand customer reminded me of this store in St. Augustine Florida. Unlike our truth in advertising that "We brake for fresh produce", this "Fresh Produce" store has no good for my produce bag, but only sells clothes!

Truth in advertising? The complement from my fellow produce stand customer reminded me of this store in St. Augustine, Florida. Unlike our truth in advertising that “We brake for fresh produce”, this “Fresh Produce” store has no goods for my produce bag, but only sells clothes!

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