Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Maine - a Winter Wonderland.

Barbara had it all planned out - a three day road trip up north to central Maine over a long weekend. We packed the car & headed off to meet with Barbara's father in New Hampshire. He lives in the shadow of Mt. Washington & was to loan us the Subaru, which had all wheel drive & yes we did need it!
It must be living in America, that makes you
 do crazy stuff!
We made good time but needed hot food & so pulled into a very entertaining diner! The food was good as well!
I love the d├ęcor!
Anyone we know working here?
Barbara had chosen the outdoor centre of Pinkham Notch to be our lodging for the first night. It proved to be an excellent choice, we were both tired and driving conditions were difficult & it snowed again overnight.
Pinkham Notch in New Hampshire.
This was the main entrance to the centre -
notice the snow has been shovelled away!
We pressed on north throughout the morning, and believe it or not, the snow got thicker and deeper! It was a nice drive although we didn't have as much time as we would have liked as we had to be at the trailhead before 3pm, in order to snowshoe in to the hut, where we were staying the night.


 Look at all the gear! Amazing!
At the start of the trailhead to the hut.
Photo courtesy of Barbara.
 The trail had been graded, in preparation for the next days race.
We made excellent progress & it really was quite exciting moving through this rather surreal, but winter wonderland landscape. Certainly, it was a change for me! We arrived at the hut before dark & what a place it turned out to be! It was the Hilton of Huts, more like a proper lodge, with hot food, beer & we had our own room! When Barbara booked this place we were expected to share.

Me, outside the back of the hut.
Photo courtesy of Barbara.

We settled in & met a few others & what an interesting bunch they turned out to be. We enjoyed an excellent evening & we were up at dawn.
We awoke to find it had snowed yet again overnight! This was the scene outside our door early the next morning - a bit of a shock! Not a bit like Abu Dhabi!
Cosy inside, but not outside!

Errm! It looks like a challenging day ahead of us!
Check out the depth of snow next to the chairs!
Photo courtesy of Barbara.
 We had a quick walk around the lodge looking over the lake, which was of course totally frozen. It was a beautiful setting.
 The view from the lodge. Er hut!
Me toughing it out! I wasn't cold - honest!

 Does Barbara look warmer than me?
I don't think so!
 We set off down the track, to the start of the 40k race.
Photo courtesy of Barbara.
 I think Barbara was rather hoping to hitch a lift!
Even here logging is prevalent. There is little
 old growth forest left now in the States.
We were here to help out at the start of the race
& man/woman a checkpoint giving food & drink
to the competitors.
The off!
Barbara & I then snowshoe through the forest to get to our checkpoint & to meet up with Craig. Craig was an interesting & very likeable character!

 Craig & me.
Photo courtesy of Barbara.
 Barbara & Craig.
 Goodies & a warm smile on offer!
 We all had a great time.
We then decided to explore a track alongside the river. I was rather hoping to see a few birds, but it wasn't to be! In two days in the high country I only saw four species!

The river was beautiful, but no Harlequin Ducks on it!
Rather sensibly they would now be on the coast.
 We walked through the forest for a few kilometres 
& then found a beautiful frozen lake.
 We spent the night in the wonderful
 small town of Kingsfield.
We stayed in a lovely B&B, but had to walk to
the next building for dinner!
The main road?

 Did I mention that it snowed again?
We were quite close to the Canadian border.
Notice the Swiss badge!

We enjoyed a leisurely drive through some wonderful scenery & eventually backtracked into New Hampshire to drop off the car at Barbara's fathers place. Thanks Richard for lending us the wheels, we really did need it, as Barbara's saloon car, wouldn't have made this trip. It was dark & freezing cold as we swopped all the gear from car to car. New Hampshire is definitely still in the icy grip of winter! For someone like me, who has lived in Abu Dhabi for twenty two years, the conditions were amazing! It was a long, tiring drive home to Boston. Barbara did all of the driving & did wonderfully well. We eventually tumbled exhausted into bed, around midnight. But it had been one hell of a trip & we both enjoyed ourselves immensely.

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