In a departure from my normal topic, running, I’d like to spend the next few days telling you a bit about a lovely weekend I spent in the Whites with the Appalachian Mountain Club.
I participated in an AMC Women’s Adventure Weekend – on the docket was 48 hours of kayaking and hiking near Pinkham Notch with like-minded women.
Part One: Getting There
I was looking forward to the drive to Pinkham Notch. I had heard that its going to be a dull year for leaf peeping due to the dry summer we’ve had resulting in the leaves basically just drying up and falling off, but I wasn’t about to let that stop me from enjoying a sunny day in the 60s with the sunroof open and music blasting. Good scenery is still good scenery, even without foliage.
I hit the road and headed north on 93, which was uneventful. En route decided to ignore the GPS and hop on the Kancamagus Highway. It added a few minutes of time to my drive, but it’s totally worth it.
The Kancamagus Highway, “The Kanc” as many people call it (I think it’s because no one knows how to pronounce Kancamagus correctly, myself included), is a 56 mile long road that cuts through the heart of White Mountain National Forest. It provides access to campgrounds, day areas, and trail heads, as well as several scenic overlooks. My first time on this road was for a Mini Cooper event called MINIs On Top, and I’ve been in love with it ever since. There’s a hairpin turn on the Kanc that is SO much fun to whip around in the MINI. (Yes, I whipped around it this time, too!)
I did stop at some of the scenic routes. I couldn’t tell you what you’re looking at here… but it’s pretty. One day, I will hike these peaks and learn what they are, but for now a pretty picture of mysterious mountains works well for me.
Eventually I got off the Kanc and headed toward to Joe Dodge Lodge, where I would be staying for the weekend. I had looked the lodge up on a map, but I didn’t bother to really pay attention to what it’s near. I knew of Pinkham Notch, and I knew it was near Wildcat ski area, but I had no idea that it was nestled under Mount Washington.
FOR REAL. The first thing I saw approaching the Pinkham Notch Visitor’s Center and Joe Dodge Lodge was this:
Now, not being an expert on the area by any means, I could only guess that this was Tuckerman Ravine, and I was correct… I was going to be sleeping under Mount Washington… a mountain I’ve wanted to hike since driving to the top with MINIs on Top.
I was SO thrilled to be staying near Tuckerman. I’ve always been fascinated by this place. My first dog’s name was Tucker, named after this ravine. Growing up learning how to ski, I heard that people hiked up this ravine to ski down it. That seemed crazy to me – why would someone hike up to ski down when there were chairlifts for that very reason? As a kid, I didn’t know any better… chairlifts don’t exist in Tuckerman. I know my family skied at Wildcat across the road, but I don’t remember driving past this view at all. It really hit me when I saw it this time, though. The picture doesn’t do it justice.
As soon as I saw Tuckerman, it was gone. A few moments later, I pulled up to the Pinkham Notch Visitor’s Center and Joe Dodge Lodge, where I would be saying for the next 48 hours.
Next up, Part 2: Accommodations