The drive from Portland, Maine to Conway, New Hampshire was a short, but great ride. Conway is the closest town to the White Mountain National Forest from the south side. On our way through the Appalachian Mountains, we saw scattered homes hidden amongst the trees. We had to pull over for one of the homes because it had a picturesque plot of land with a variety of different animals.
Next morning, we stopped by a sandwich shop to have breakfast and bought one more for the hike. When I was on the kayaking tour with Piper, our guide, I let her know that my next stop was going to be White Mountain National Forest. She strongly recommended that we start from the Champney Falls Trailhead to go to the summit of Mount Chocorua.
This hike was particularly unforgettable because of the extreme highs and lows. The hike began with gorgeous cascades that followed us some ways up the trail. Then the terrain got rugged and rocky and required some heavy legwork with some leaping and awkward footings to get up. This was then followed by large, smooth boulders that proved to be a little slippery when it got steeper. Finally we arrived at the base of the peak to find that we had to free up our hands because it was going to take all our limbs to make our way to the top. Only once we got to the top, we realized there was a much higher peak right behind it. I didn’t mind descending from the first one to climb up the higher one because I was having so much fun jumping from rock to rock as well as pulling myself up with my hands. The various terrains kept the hike interesting and the views at the top were spectacular. Here are a few pictures of our ascent!
So now you know the highs of the hike…here come the lows. So the last time I got a new pair of hiking boots was late high school, which puts it at about ten years ago…wow…ten years! Well I figured it’s time to invest in a new pair and I spared no expense! Durable, waterproof, relatively light. I made the foolish assumption that with all these new technologies being implemented on hiking boots these days, that I probably don’t need to break mine in. After all, they already felt pretty comfortable and flexible. WRONG. WRONG WRONG WRONG. I got voluptuous blisters on each of my big toes, but that was the least of my worries. My left knee began aching at the beginning of the ascent of the false peak. By the time we had lunch, turned around, and made our way to the base of the climbing portion, my knee was killing me. Any step that was more than a five inch drop shot a sharp pain up my knee. I had to compensate with my right leg to carry on, but my right leg soon fell into the same fate. Then the achilles tendon in both of my feet began to tighten up.
I was in so much pain that I didn’t see if we were going down the correct path. We fell off the trail, but luckily there was a girl hiking down nearby and we were able to get back onto the trail. I was in pain the whole way down and Sheldon tried to catch the me in my pitiful state on footage. He was actually having the time of his life seeing my face skew with pain as I took each step with distress. I kept yelling “Pain is weakness leaving the body!” on the way down and surprisingly, it helped! Here’s the link to one of the videos…hahah. (I think I have to pay for the premium membership to directly upload videos? Sucks…)
On our way down, it was clear that we were not coming down the same way that we came up. The trail we came down was much easier, but it was also longer. We figured that once we hit the road, we can figure out how to get back to the car.
We ended up coming down the other side of the mountain and it was going to be a 15 mile walk back….Neither of us have ever tried hitchhiking, but if there was a time to try it, it was then! Walking along the road and after experiencing cars slow down only to speed back up, a pickup truck pulled over to the side of the road! Our hero’s name was Jarred, and he is a contractor who is originally from Maine. He said he loved coming out to White Mountain, but living here is a completely different story. Anyways, with the windy, inclined road, he got us to our car in 30 minutes. I was never so happy to see my beat up Civic waiting there to be driven again.
And we were off for Montreal, Canada!!