My guy works way too many hours and such is his life. So our attempt to head out early this morning didn’t exactly happen because he needed to sleep in a bit. It was just after ten when we reached our intended trailhead–Davis Path in Crawford Notch, New Hampshire.
Our hike began as we crossed over the Saco River via a suspension bridge. In 1931, Samuel Bemis built a bridge that spanned 108 feet. The bridge was rebuilt in 1999, when the Town of Hart’s Location received a grant from the National Scenic Byways. The current award-winning bridge is five feet wide, spans 168 feet and was designed as an asymmetrical cable stay bridge–possibly the first such in the USA.
Below, the Saco River barely trickled.
The Davis Path begins almost directly across the street from The Notchland Inn on Route 302. At the beginning of the trail, a sign informed us that Abel and Hannah Crawford’s son-in-law, Nathaniel Davis, built the Davis Path in 1845 as a bridle path. As intended, the trail covers 14.4 miles to the top of Mt. Washington. Our destination was the first peak–Mount Crawford at 2.5 miles along the path. Thanks to the AMC, what had been the bridle path is now transformed into a trail that includes a variety of stairways to heaven.
Conditions changed constantly as we climbed–in tune with the changing forest. Mixed woods to hemlocks groves to firs to spruces. The higher we hiked, the more I kept thinking about the fact that this was a former horse path. However did they do it? How many in a team? We were each operating at one-horse power as we huffed and puffed along, but I think a team of at least six would be much more appropriate. Six horses pulling me up–I liked that thought.
Instead, I spent a lot of time looking down, so I got to see the low sights–like this dinner spot;
and fern shadows.
Eventually we reached the sign pointing the way to the 3,119-foot summit.
The trail changed as we hit the balds.
And my view changed. I heard this guy’s crackling sound as he flew from one spot to the next only a foot or so apart. This is a short-horned, band-winged grasshopper.
Also at our feet–mountain cranberries.
And then there was this single fruiting structure sticking out of the moss on a rock–a bolete, I believe, but I’m out of my league on this one.
Less than two hours and lots of sweat later, we emerged at the top where many had tracked before us. No horse prints. The wind hit our faces with a cold blast and we were forced to hold onto our hats. Mount Washington and others were obscured by clouds.
The view was 360˚. We took it in, but the clouds truly did tell the story of the wind. And so we paused only briefly, noted the notch for which this area is named and then started our descent.
On the way down, we found a less windy spot and located lunch rock–it’s the rock to the far right.
My focus was a bit higher as we descended and so I saw artist’s conks,
heiroglyphics left by bark borers,
and signs of the future.
Our descent was quicker than I thought it would be. As we practically rolled down the mountain, I was sure that had I been behind a team of horses, I’d be pulling on the reins and yelling, “Whoa Nellie.” And that brought memories of my mom, who was named Nellie, but went by Nell. She and Dad would have loved the fact that we have made a point to fold as many Mondates as possible into our lives. They loved long walks along beaches and finding picnic places. We love long hikes and finding lunch rocks. Same thing at a higher elevation.
My guy and I enjoyed another wonderful Mondate–at one-horsepower speed.