A few weeks ago a coworker and I were discussing my year of hiking and if I had any further adventures planned. I had mentioned a few places I had been this year, including a great trip to Acadia in Maine over the summer, but I didn't have much else planned for the year. But I had accumulated several extra vacation days due to my schedule earlier in the year and was interested in a good way to spend them. My coworker then mentioned Vermont and New Hampshire. I had driven through New Hampshire on my way to Acadia earlier in the year, but I wasn't able to explore much of it.
It didn't take much research to settle on White Mountains National Forest in New Hampshire. I had heard of The Whites, as they are often called, when a friend was planning to do the presidential traverse a few years ago. Needless to say, after looking in to the region I was sold.
As with any hike I want to go on, my first question is, "Are dogs allowed?" I have a three-year-old mutt, part pitbull, part Labrador, part whippet, part name your favorite breed. One of the greatest joys of being outside in the wild is being able to share it with your dog. It's one of the main reasons I got Sydney in the first place. But much of America is not as dog friendly as you might think. So one of my biggest concerns is whether or not I can bring my girl with me.
As I quickly learned, the Whites are not very dog friendly. There are several restrictions on pets for many trails and campgrounds. This was a major factor in the decision to get a hotel rather than camp.
I knew that I wanted to do the Franconia Ridge trail in Franconia Notch State Park, but the campground near the trail head stated no dogs were allowed. Sylvia and I began searching for other options and found several pet friendly hotels in the area.
After I looked at the location of them all, I noticed that one in particular was in an excellent location to another hike I was told would be incredible, the Ammonoosuc Ravine trail. And as luck would have it, the Ammonoosuc Ravine trail is the primary way up to Mt. Washington.
The hotel in question was the Bartlett Inn in Bartlett, NH. It sits almost equidistant between Mt. Washington and the Franconia Ridge trail. That settled it. We would stay there and go one direction on day one, then the other direction on day two.
I'm a big believer in paper maps. I always have one with me on hikes. Since I had never been to the Whites before, and really know nothing about the area, I also picked up the New Hampshire Falcon guide from REI.
All in all, This is set to be an excellent finale to the year. An interesting note is that the New England geology is the same as Scotland. Before Pangaea split, Scotland and Ireland were part of the area that makes up Main and New Hampshire. It's no surprise that hiking in this area can lead to some stunning photography.