We had an early morning departure on the cog railway. We chose the earliest one because that was the only one that day which used the old coal fired steam locomotive. Diesel just didn't seem like the appropriate way to go.
The engine pushes the passenger car. Note how tilted it is, so the engineer and fireman stand closer to level on the trip.
We were there for the journey, since our views approaching the mountain showed it covered in fog.
As it turned out, fog wasn't the problem, wind was. We stopped about 75% of the way up the mountain. The Conductor said reports from the top indicated wind over 90mph.
Although we didn't make it to the top, the views were spectacular.
The steepest grade is over 37%. The trees really are growing vertically. But this is what they look like from the train.
A close up of the "cog" part of the railway. Top speed up the mountain with the steam engine is 2.8 mph.
Brave (crazy?) hikers. Yes, that is SNOW on the ridge. In early June.
The good news was that with our mountain trip cut a couple of hours short, we had time to explore more of the area. Specifically, we had been told that Kancamagus Scenic Road was a "must do."
The drive leaving Mt. Washington was gorgeous. And it wasn't even part of the "scenic route", just the road to get to it.
We stopped in North Conway do some sightseeing and get lunch. There is another scenic rail there. We did not go on it but did enjoy seeing the old terminal.
The main street was lined with restaurants, most of which looked a little too Yuppie (expensive) for us but Beer & Ski caught our eye. The menu promised that they had "..brought the concept of the roast beef sandwich to North Conway." Carol ordered it as a wrap and I ordered a Taco Salad.
The picture of the wrap speaks for itself - marvelous. The chips were stale on the Taco Salad but there was so much meat and cheese I didn't mind.
The next stop was at the Ranger Station for The Kancamagus Scenic Byway. It is one of the most popular roads in New England for the fall "leaf peepers." But it is a beautiful ride any time of year. That my Senior Pass got us free admission made it even nicer.
The rivers reminded me of my childhood home in the Catskill Mountains, before NYC built Pepacton and Cannonsville Reservoirs.
After stopping at some other waterfalls, we headed back to the campground.
But one more sign caught our attention. The Flume Gorge is a NH State Park. The gorge is walkable along a 2 mile loop trail that takes one along the stream to the top of the gorge and then back down through the forest past lots of glacial boulders.
The following captions are "borrowed" from the official Flume website. But the pictures are all Carol's work.
The Flume Covered BridgeThis picturesque covered bridge is one of the oldest in the state. It was built in the 1886 and has been restored several times. Such bridges were often called “kissing bridges” because of the darkness and privacy they provided. This bridge was built across the scenic Pemigewasset River. Pemigewasset means “swift or rapid current” in the Abenaki Indian language.
Table RockOver time, the rushing waters of the Flume Brook exposed this large outcropping of rock. Table Rock is a section of Conway granite that is 500 feet (150m) long and 75 feet (20m) wide.
The Gorge walls rise 90' and narrow to 12'.
The "Sentinel Pine" stood for centuries above the stream. It was nearly 175 feet tall and 16 feet in circumference. A storm blew it over in 1938. It fell across the gorge. Following the tradition of New England practicality, it was used as the base for this bridge.
Tomorrow we leave to visit some friends from Salem who relocated in NH MANY years ago.
And AGAIN, nothing went as planned but we had a better day because of it.