Franconia Brook Slog

Franconia Brook Slog

The Labor day weekend was beckoning and the skies were blue and while the beach was a main draw, something about heading to the mountains won out. Most of my over night adventures were in other places like the West, the Adirondacks, Kenya, and India, so I figured it was time to visit New Hampshires woods.

A natural stop to REI for the usual gear tune-up and certainly the acquisition of the famous AMC White Mountain guide.  I had rooted around online and none of the mapping sources were very useful.  Google Maps is what I was looking for, but it doesn’t have trail information. Maybe the AJ needs to build these. Or perhaps a GPS gizmo is the way to go.  Hmm, these are topics for another day …

Luckily I had a bit of sense and we chose a slog instead of a direct route to the Franconia Ridge trail. Wisdom arrived and I realized I would not be able to blast up a steep trail with a backpack stuffed with onions and avocados on my first backpack in years. So the Franconia Brook trail was the one, leaving from Lincoln Woods. Little did I know that we were to discover many secret gems along this trail, when all I wanted was ridge views.

So up Route 93 to Lincoln, New Hampshire, east on the 112 or the Kank, officially known as the Kancamangnus Highway.  The Lincoln Woods trailhead is only about 5 miles from 93, so it’s easy to find and get to. And oh the hordes that were there. I soon discovered that normal people flocked here, all to tromp up the 3 miles or so to Franconia Falls, whatever they were!

So up we went, 5 miles or so and found a remote campsite off the trail (200′ is the rule) and right near the river.  Up the next day, leaving the camp intact, Wendy and I slogged up and up, heading for Mount Garfield.  It’s funny how the distance on the map doesn’t look so far, but your panting and “enough already; where’s the top” mentality soon kicks in!

After finally slogging up the steep, steep rock fall up Mt. Garfield, we staggered into the tent site near the top and soaked rays in the sun and ate a late lunch.  It was at this time of no scenic views or vistas, just beautiful woods, that we gave up and headed back to camp.  Sheesh … I thought, at least most Adirondack trails gave you more views …

But if you don’t mind the slogging up and up, there  are some true treats.  As we headed down, we found the Thirteen Falls campsite was well-named.  By 4:00, the huge pool below beckoned, but we went upstream for a few yards and discovered the most wondrous set of falls, configured with dozens of potholes, just perfect for individual or group bathtubs, just perfect to rinse away a day’s slog!