I haven’t done an ‘Adventure Diary’ post in a while, and as I was typing up my 2019 Recap post, I realized that our weekend trip to the White Mountains was the perfect opportunity for that. We camped, we hiked, and we explored! Also I just love a good old-fashioned, spontaneous adventure!
Why the Whites?
When our friends gifted us the pop-up camper, all of a sudden the whole (New England) world became our oyster! We started making plans to camp left and right. Most of them fell through, except for our trip to the White Mountains with my college friend Bri! She was dying to get out camping, and we wanted to use the “Scamp” as much as possible, so it fell into place and turned into a great weekend.
I have been up to the White Mountains several times, but my boyfriend had never explored that area so it was a perfect location for us. I found a campground right in White Mountain National Forest that had a spot available for an “RV” and tents and it was super affordable, especially split between several people. From Friday to Sunday, that would be our home base!
After stopping for some BBQ in Vermont on our way up, we made it to the White Mountains early enough to explore a little. With Scamp in tow, we drove right up to The Flume Gorge in Franconia Notch and got our tickets right at the end of the day. It worked out perfectly because we felt like we basically had the place to ourselves.
After a short shuttle ride, we hiked up the gorge, stopping to take a million photos along the way. The Gorge is 800 feet long with granite walls that tower up to 90 feet above you. With a ton of named waterfalls and caverns, it’s fun to explore for a person of any age.
Once we got to the top of the gorge, we meandered our way back through the woods and along the river, taking our time and enjoying the nice weather. We ended up being literally the LAST people to leave the gorge and had to walk around the side of the building because the Visitor Center was closed when we got back!
The best part about this area is the stunning views that you get of the Presidential Range towering above the gorge. Especially when you’re not used to mountains like that, it’s quite a site to see! It was the perfect way to kick off our trip.
National Forest Camping
Once we got to camp, we set up our pop-up camper, rearranged the site to make space for the tents and then got a fire going. Our friends Bri and Sarah didn’t arrive until late so we mostly just sat around the fire and caught up! Both of them brought their dogs too which was entertainment for all of us!
The campsite we stayed at was affordable and in a very convenient location to the White Mountains, but with that being said, it also did not have your basic luxuries like showers, sinks or any lights. If you’re into that style of camping, I’d recommend this campground for sure. Also make sure to have cash on you for the cost of extra vehicles or fire wood! (Big Rock Campground Booking Site.)
The perks of being in a campground with no lights is that the night sky was LIT up with stars. Depending on where you’re from, that can be a real treat! We made sure to get to bed a decent time so we could get up and hike the next day. New Hampshire weather at night is PRIME camping weather. We slept great!
Hike a 4000 Footer
Sarah is in the process of hiking all 48 of the NH 4000 foot mountains so she had plenty of suggestions for us. I’ve hiked Franconia Ridge trail in the past and it almost killed me so I was very wary of agreeing to do a 4000 footer but Kyle had never hiked one before I reluctantly agreed.
We decided on Mt Tecumseh which was deemed “easy” for a 4000 footer because it’s “short”. In retrospect, I should have known that short would not equate to easy because that meant that it was STRAIGHT UP the whole time.
ProTip: Im looking at 4000footer.com as I write this and there is a handy little disclaimer that says “What may be deemed EASY on this website might be DIFFICULT for the general hiking population.” NOTED!
The day was beautiful so we really lucked out in that aspect. For the first half of the trail, the girls stuck with us but when I started to slow way down, they took off with the dogs and Kyle kindly stayed back with me and pushed me through my anxiety to get to the top. The endless miles of stairs were not ideal but it was definitely challenging and rewarding!
At the top we celebrated with a White Claw, some snacks and then began the decent back down once a hoard of people joined us at the top. Once again, we trailed behind the girls as my joints complained every step of the way, but eventually joined them at the bottom and drove back to the campsite.
Night Two at the Campsite
After a semi-successful attempt at washing up at a campsite with no showers, we treated ourselves to some drinks and relaxing at the campsite. Bri and Kyle came together and made an AMAZING fire roasted dinner for us all to share. We sat down and shared stories of adventures in the past, hobbies, plans for the future and the like.
After it got dark, we decided to walk down to the road where we’d have a better chance at seeing the stars, and we weren’t disappointed. The sky was completely lit up and hardly any cars even drove by. No better way to connect with nature than camping.
Thanks to some kind neighbors the night before, we had some free steak to finish up, so Kyle made us some delicious steak and eggs. Helps to have a good breakfast because the camp breakdown process is quite lengthy with a pop-up camper. After we said our goodbyes, we began the long drive back down to Western Mass.
On the way home we were scared half to death as our camper bounced off the hitch and hit the ground, dragging behind us. Luckily the chains prevented it from escaping and any damage was avoided! We pulled over and Kyle tightened up all the screws on the hitch so that we don’t ever have that happen again!
We decided to make one last stop along the way, to break up the trip a little. Kyle tracked down a little spot called New England Sweetwater Farm & Distillery in a very small town in New Hampshire to treat ourselves to a little tasting. None of the whiskeys were drop dead delicious but they had a cool story, a cool owner and a cool spot so it’s well worth the stop if you’re heading up that direction!
Camping Goals for 2020
This year will be a challenge for us to get our travel fix on a budget, so I have a feeling that camping will play a big role in that! I would like to get some weekend adventures all over New England this year, and hopefully with as many different friends as possible!
Hit me up if you’d like to plan a camping adventure this summer! Always looking for ideas and new places to explore! Until next time my friends…