We pulled out of the parking lot at Hobo Railroad and made a left onto Main Street and we were at our next destination of the day. This destination was more like a journey. Main Street is also NH State Highway 112, known as the Kancamagus Highway, or The Kanc. The Kanc has the reputation of being one of the most scenic highways in all of New Hampshire. And in the fall, that means in the whole world. As seeing beautiful scenery is what we had in mind, we made taking a drive on this highway a priority.
The Kanc starts by making a 10 mile climb to KancamagusPass, elevation 2860 feet.
If I knew what I was doing this would have been a great picture
We drove the speed limit these first 10 miles. There was very little traffic and while the scenery was good, there wasn’t much that told us we should pull over. And then when we did see something that inspired up to gape, there was no safe place to pull over. When you are on a winding mountain road, you do not just pull over. You risk life, limb, and insurance deductible.
After we crested the pass and started the down hill leg, the scenery improved. As mentioned before we had missed the peak of the foliage fireworks, and had to settle for the waning display. But, conditions on the east side of the pass allowed for the leaves to linger a bit longer. As the colors brightened and became for eye catching, Margo’s pace slowed down. (She drove. I’m a more aggressive driver, so she gets the wheel duty in any place that might get aggravating or requires a slower pace). We began scanning every turn in the road for a place to pull over.
Well, that isn’t exactly accurate. We were both looking for a place to pull over or into. But, she was driving and waiting for me to make the decision when to stop and check out the scenery.
Margo took a few of these close ups, and they all turned out good.
Her thought was I had planned this trip, driving on the Kancmangus was my idea, so where we stopped was my decision. My thought was it all looked pretty good and any place was fine with me. Did you ever hear old married couples explain that they had gotten to the point where they could basically read each other’s mind? Margo and I have been married for 21 years. We aren’t there yet. We passed several places before the decision making hierarchy was firmly established.
We ended up pulling over just three times. But, that worked out fine. The first place, which I failed to note its name, was little more than a wide spot in the road. But, we did take some nice pictures, including the one I used as the photo for this entire blog. We only linger for about ten or fifteen minutes before moving on.
By now I was using a map that I had brought that listed the overlooks and other places to stop, so I could give Margo advanced warning. The next stop that we came to was an overlook, which again I failed to note its name. I hate it when I do that. I also hate when I forget to take pictures. Something’s are obvious. You see the sunrise, take a picture.
The Swift River, me, Margo, and some guy
But, when something out of ordinary happens (see my discovery of Moxie in Lincoln, NH) and I develop amnesia. But, I digress.
The stop had a parking lot, and a concrete and stone overlook. The view was into a valley, mostly obscured by near by trees, but still impressive. Margo and I walked and took pictures. We posed for pictures. We sat and took pictures. We took pictures of each other. After we felt that each leave had had its chance to smile for us, we climbed back into the Calibre and continued east.
Our last stop on The Kanc, turned out to be our most memorable. This stop was called LowerFalls. I know this because I managed to capture the sign for it, while taking a picture in the parking lot. I don’t recall if this was intentional or not, but I’m still proud of myself for finally knowing where I was at.
LowerFalls had a trail that led down to the SwiftRiver.
Lower Falls. It was relaxing watching and listening to the wate
The SwiftRiver is a small mountain river filled with granite boulders of varying sizes and shapes. The river is carved through the granite. All of this makes for very picturesque scenery and a bit of fun climbing on the rocks. That is exactly what Margo and I did. Not only did we have lot of leaves that wanted to be in our photos, but now we had many rocks that insisted we take their pictures, too. Who were we to say no to such pretty stones?
We must have spent another 20-30 minutes climbing around on the boulders, and pretending we were kids again. Granted, we were fat, old, and decrepit kids, but kids none the less. But, all too soon we had to leave. Our original plan was to spend a few hours shopping at the shops in Conway. But, we spent too much time in Franconia, and Lincoln, and now on The Kanc. We didn’t regret one second of it. Nor did I care that we weren’t going to traipse around a retail plaza or discount shops looking at stuff I didn’t have to fly half way across the country to see. Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner.