An Extremely Detailed and Unnecessarily Specific Account of Our Trip to Franconia

As most of you know, Josh and I got married last week and headed up to Franconia Notch for our little getaway. Because the wedding photos are not available yet, I am instead going to regale you with extremely detailed and unnecessarily specific tales of our adventure.

To begin with, this is Josh's car, packed to overflowing, the morning we left. Our wonderful family (Deb and Lindsey most specifically) made sure that we had plates of food from the caterer, all kinds of drinks, and ALL of our presents. We removed the presents, obviously, but filled the remaining space with clothes and books and other fun stuff.

Leased by Josh in 2013, and purchased in 2016, this Honda Accord, aptly named Lucille, has served as a dependable transportation solution, and has put up with Josh's lack of navigational skills from the very beginning.

Leased by Josh in 2013, and purchased in 2016, this Honda Accord, aptly named Lucille, has served as a dependable transportation solution, and has put up with Josh's lack of navigational skills from the very beginning.

The next photo I took wasn't until we arrived. It was pouring rain all the way there, so I didn't take any pictures of the views while we were driving. This is the mirror in the bedroom at the cabin. And me! That's me in the mirror.

Pictured taking her own picture in the mirror, Ariele is shown here wearing Josh's favorite elephant shirt.

Pictured taking her own picture in the mirror, Ariele is shown here wearing Josh's favorite elephant shirt.

Here you see a stunning view of the mountains as shown from 93 South.

Constructed between 1954 and 1959, Interstate 93 runs directly through Franconia Notch, starting at Canton, MA and ends in St. Johnsbury, VT.

Constructed between 1954 and 1959, Interstate 93 runs directly through Franconia Notch, starting at Canton, MA and ends in St. Johnsbury, VT.

Here we have Josh, driving with a smirk, following an extremely hilarious joke I told. This is also the first of several attempts, by me, to take his picture without him noticing.

Josh drapes his arm casually over the steering wheel as he heads towards our first destination--Lonesome Lake.

Josh drapes his arm casually over the steering wheel as he heads towards our first destination--Lonesome Lake.

Our GPS was very helpful. See how helpful it is.

The GPS helpfully indicates that our next turn is "road."

The GPS helpfully indicates that our next turn is "road."

This is the next photo I took of the mountains from the highway. I'm not sure the world can get more beautiful than this.

The largest cities along I-93 are Manchester, NH and Boston, MA. It also runs through the NH state capital, Concord.

The largest cities along I-93 are Manchester, NH and Boston, MA. It also runs through the NH state capital, Concord.

These are mountains in Franconia. With clouds!

Franconia Notch is an 8-mile stretch between the Kinsman Range and Franconia Range.

Franconia Notch is an 8-mile stretch between the Kinsman Range and Franconia Range.

This is attempt #2 to take Josh's picture without him noticing. Note the same smirk as earlier. My current theory is that he always drives with that smirk.

Josh makes his way down I-93, using the GPS for navigation. Otherwise we may have ended up somewhere in the middle of a mountain.

Josh makes his way down I-93, using the GPS for navigation. Otherwise we may have ended up somewhere in the middle of a mountain.

Lonesome Lake was a popular spot on Monday, although there are quite a few other trails that lead out from this parking area. The roundish mountain is Cannon Mountain. Lonesome Lake is sort of halfway up.

Cars parked along the entryway of the parking area for Lonesome Lake demonstrate the popularity of the area.

Cars parked along the entryway of the parking area for Lonesome Lake demonstrate the popularity of the area.

Look, more cars! And a house thing!

More cars line the edges of the road. 

More cars line the edges of the road. 

Woods are so cool. There are so many colours and textures and smells and all kinds of fun stuff. Here you can see a bridge.

Wooden bridges are used in hiking trails to make it easier to climb over small creeks, streams, and muddy areas.

Wooden bridges are used in hiking trails to make it easier to climb over small creeks, streams, and muddy areas.

Here is what it looks like when a person (in this case, Josh, more specifically), walks across the bridge. First one foot, then another.

In this photo, Josh demonstrates not only his superb hiking skills, but also his new pair of Timberland hiking boots.

In this photo, Josh demonstrates not only his superb hiking skills, but also his new pair of Timberland hiking boots.

In this photo, Josh demonstrates that this bridge is capable of supporting the weight of a full grown male human.

Most bridges are made of woods, though you may find massive bridges made of metals such as steel, and natural bridges made from rock.

Most bridges are made of woods, though you may find massive bridges made of metals such as steel, and natural bridges made from rock.

Because bridges are made for walking, they have a lot of experience meeting different types of shoes. If we had had time, I'm sure Josh and the bridge could have had some great conversation.

Ariele tests the bridge's durability and determines that it can, in fact, hold the weight of a full grown human female, too.

Ariele tests the bridge's durability and determines that it can, in fact, hold the weight of a full grown human female, too.

Surrounding the bridge, gorgeous trees cover the mountain. Josh studies the green and the sun in the forest.

Photosynthesis is the process by which trees and plants derive energy from the sun. Here, that is exactly what these trees are doing.

Photosynthesis is the process by which trees and plants derive energy from the sun. Here, that is exactly what these trees are doing.

This is where the trail we were hiking split off into other trails. We continued on the Lonesome Lake trail and arrived at the Lonesome lake in 0.8 miles.

Signs are frequently used for helping hikers find their way through the state forest. This sign pointed Ariele and Josh towards Lonesome Lake.

Signs are frequently used for helping hikers find their way through the state forest. This sign pointed Ariele and Josh towards Lonesome Lake.

I love trees. As in, seriously a lot. Almost as much as I love the universe. This is a really cool tree, with stunning root patterns. That combined with the green mosses just sets off the tree's figure. Great dresser, that tree.

Rocks are cool too!

Rocks are cool too!

We met a chipmunk. It is an AWESOME chipmunk. I named it Carol. Carol has great fur, amazing stripes, and gorgeous eyes. She is great at finding things to eat too.

Classed as mammals in the Scuiridae family, chipmunks keep their food in very organized burrows in the ground.

Classed as mammals in the Scuiridae family, chipmunks keep their food in very organized burrows in the ground.

This sign is located right near Lonesome Lake. We proceeded to walk around Lonesome Lake and back down the mountain.

Smoky Bear says FIRES ARE PREVENTABLE.

Smoky Bear says FIRES ARE PREVENTABLE.

This is Lonesome Lake. I must say, it is absolutely spectacular. Legendary, if you will. This was our first view.

The lake contains brook trout and ducks!

The lake contains brook trout and ducks!

Many of the trees in the white mountains look like they are walking across the planet. I found this one particularly elegant, with it's swirly skirt of roots, and awesome green hairdo.

One of the survival techniques of many White Mountain tree species is that they grow their roots around rock formations under the soil. The trees may look small, but may actually be quite old, as they spend their formative years growing their supply lines.

One of the survival techniques of many White Mountain tree species is that they grow their roots around rock formations under the soil. The trees may look small, but may actually be quite old, as they spend their formative years growing their supply lines.

This is Edward the Friendly Duck. 

[I think] this is an extremely beautiful American Black Duck, a species which breeds frequently with Mallards, and is known to flock with them as well. They are a declining species, although hunting regulations have stabilized their population. Declining habitat is still a problem.

[I think] this is an extremely beautiful American Black Duck, a species which breeds frequently with Mallards, and is known to flock with them as well. They are a declining species, although hunting regulations have stabilized their population. Declining habitat is still a problem.

Edward decided it would be a good idea to take a look at the book Josh was reading, and to say hello. Josh is not as good at catching ducks as me, though, so Edward made his fond farewells and departed sans photo shoot.

Josh reads for a short time beside the beautiful shores of Lonesome Lake. We found a spot that had no people, and for good reason as it was rather uncomfortable.

Josh is reading a book entitled "1177." It details the "abrupt and cataclysmic end" of the Bronze Age.

Josh is reading a book entitled "1177." It details the "abrupt and cataclysmic end" of the Bronze Age.

Here are two rapscallions enjoying some time beside the lake.

Although currently living on the NH seacoast, Ariele and Josh spend their free time exploring the wild west of New England.

Although currently living on the NH seacoast, Ariele and Josh spend their free time exploring the wild west of New England.

The mountains surround Lonesome Lake, so no matter which angle you see it from, there are still gorgeous sloping hills of periwinkle blue.

The average depth of Lonesome Lake is only four feet.

The average depth of Lonesome Lake is only four feet.

On the far side of the lake, the ground gets pretty swampy, as small tributaries of water run down from Cannon Mountain. Also, Goblin is head butting me right now and it is rather difficult to type. As a result, these wooden pathways have been laid, not only making it easier to walk, but also making it look like a fairy wonderland.

One of the planks was floating a little when I stepped on it, and it was super exciting when I didn't fall in.

One of the planks was floating a little when I stepped on it, and it was super exciting when I didn't fall in.

This is what it looks like when a person of ill repute steps on the wooden planks. The water underneath is so clear! And filled with little tadpole fishes.

Ariele strides confidently across the wooden pathways, knowing  that at any moment she will have to stop and tuck in her shoelace as it is tickling her ankle.

Ariele strides confidently across the wooden pathways, knowing  that at any moment she will have to stop and tuck in her shoelace as it is tickling her ankle.

See how cool the trails are. The clouds are partially blocking the mountain views (clouds do that sometimes), similarly to the way Goblin is blocking my view of my keyboard and part of my monitor. It's a good thing I can type without looking at my hands.

I don't know the name of the bushes in this picture, but I can tell you that they are not blueberries. Some kind of flower bush, I think.

I don't know the name of the bushes in this picture, but I can tell you that they are not blueberries. Some kind of flower bush, I think.

Here is the third in my series of pictures of Josh when he isn't looking. Here, he enjoys the splendid view of Mt. Cannon from the edges of Lonesome Lake. Meanwhile, Goblin has settled comfortably on my left arm, and I can now see the keyboard and the entirety of my screen, although I can't move my left arm from its position.

Mount Cannon sits comfortably next to its neighbors, the Cannonballs, similarly to the way Goblin sits comfortably next to my pillows.

Mount Cannon sits comfortably next to its neighbors, the Cannonballs, similarly to the way Goblin sits comfortably next to my pillows.

There were cool little ponds throughout the swampy area next to Lonesome Lake. They reflected the sky quite nicely.

Clear and clean, the water was filled with tadpoles.

Clear and clean, the water was filled with tadpoles.

Josh loves to examine things, particularly dogs. Well, there were no dogs in this pool of water, but the tadpoles were cute and had little tails. We debated whether they were tadpoles or fish or some kind of partially grown newt. We settled on newt eventually.

Josh's new Timberland boots gave him the power of Sherpa!

Josh's new Timberland boots gave him the power of Sherpa!

Here is a clear view of the mountains over the lake. 

I love the way the sky is reflected in the water.

I love the way the sky is reflected in the water.

We met a dog. This dog is named Ricky. Ricky was a good girl. She picked up a big stick--it was probably six feet long and quite large in diameter. Ricky came over to say hello and I petted her until she ran off after two other dogs, and her dad had to put her on a leash.

Ricky the dog appears to be a Straffordshire Terrier mix. Straffordshire Terriers are dogs of great strength and size.

Ricky the dog appears to be a Straffordshire Terrier mix. Straffordshire Terriers are dogs of great strength and size.

I just can't get enough of the views. The breeze was perfect and cool, and it smelled like pine needs, the water lapped gently against the rocks. Perfect.

A hammock and a stack of books and I wouldn't ever have left.

A hammock and a stack of books and I wouldn't ever have left.

This is what the mountains looked like at the bottom. There were so many cars! They were parked all the way back up onto the highway.

I don't recognize the brand, but that is a silver car turning left.

I don't recognize the brand, but that is a silver car turning left.

This is the cabin we stayed in! It's so cute with a bed and a kitchen and a tiny dining room table, and a futon. The basement is super creepy (sorry no picture) and all the serial killer tools are in the shed. 

Old Crow Cabin is the perfect vacation destination for a couple that enjoys hiking.

Old Crow Cabin is the perfect vacation destination for a couple that enjoys hiking.

Here Josh poses cutely on the front porch of the cabin. 

Josh still wears his Timberland boots after returning from a hike.

Josh still wears his Timberland boots after returning from a hike.

This pump is in the yard. It doesn't pump water, though. I tried.

I love the rocks around the base.

I love the rocks around the base.

This crow decorates the driveway at the cabin. We call it Persimmon. Hello, Persimmon, how are you today? I am fine, thank you. Enjoying the beautiful summer weather here in New England and the smells of the trees.

There are 45 species of crow worldwide, not counting the iron species. This one is an iron crow.

There are 45 species of crow worldwide, not counting the iron species. This one is an iron crow.

Here we have a creek. It has water on it and trees around it.

I have no idea where this creek was.

I have no idea where this creek was.

Next up on our trip we visited the Flume, a highly recommended tourist attraction. It is part of the Pemigewasset River. This bridge, beautifully painted red, was built in 1886.

We did not walk under it because it was for the bus only. But we walked next to it!

We did not walk under it because it was for the bus only. But we walked next to it!

This is the Flume. According to The Flume website, "The Flume is a natural gorge extending 800 feet at the base of Mount Liberty. The walls of Conway granite rise to a height of 70 to 90 feet and are 12 to 20 feet apart."

I loved walking up the Flume.

I loved walking up the Flume.

I mean, it's gorgeous. Look at that moss on the rock. Stunning. The whole way up I imagined that I was the person that discovered it. Spoiler: it wasn't me :P

According to The Flume website, "The Flume was discovered in 1808 by 93-year-old  “Aunt” Jess Guernsey when she accidently came upon it while fishing. She had trouble convincing her family of the marvelous discovery, but eventually persuaded others to come and see for themselves. At that time, a huge egg-shaped boulder hung suspended between the walls. The rock was 10 feet (3m) high and 12 feet (3.6m) long. A heavy rainstorm in June of 1883 started a landslide that swept the boulder from its place. It has never been found. The same storm deepened the gorge and formed Avalanche Falls."

According to The Flume website, "The Flume was discovered in 1808 by 93-year-old  “Aunt” Jess Guernsey when she accidently came upon it while fishing. She had trouble convincing her family of the marvelous discovery, but eventually persuaded others to come and see for themselves. At that time, a huge egg-shaped boulder hung suspended between the walls. The rock was 10 feet (3m) high and 12 feet (3.6m) long. A heavy rainstorm in June of 1883 started a landslide that swept the boulder from its place. It has never been found. The same storm deepened the gorge and formed Avalanche Falls."

The Flume was covered with water falls that fed the river as it flowed through. Gorgeous and refreshing, are only two words that can describe it. You could also use words like relaxing and beautiful and petrichor and wet and rocky and river.

The water is so clear and clean, it makes you want to drink it. You're not supposed to though.

The water is so clear and clean, it makes you want to drink it. You're not supposed to though.

This is the view from the top of the Flume. Sort of. We had to kind of walk around the Flume, but it was a hill right next to the Flume. We did the two mile walk.

I love the layers of mountains.

I love the layers of mountains.

In the next picture you will see a clear, and beautiful shot of a rock turtle. Rock turtles are found in the mountains, usually higher up than this one, but occasionally at lower elevations. Rock turtles are carnivorous and use strategies such as putting food out in front of them to lure in unsuspecting travelers.

This rock turtle has hair.

This rock turtle has hair.

Here we have another walking tree. This one is practically levitating. 

So cool. Gorgeous. Trees. Other words that indicate an infatuation with cool looking trees.

So cool. Gorgeous. Trees. Other words that indicate an infatuation with cool looking trees.

This is more river, this time, early in the morning with fog... ethereal, except for all of the other humans wandering around. We humans do have a tendency to make things a lot less ethereal.

That could also be the remains of vampires being evaporated by the sun.

That could also be the remains of vampires being evaporated by the sun.

This is the Basin. It's this sweet rock formation made by thousands of years of water rushing into this pool. The rock is shaped like a big bowl, probably great for making a very large tossed salad.

Currently filled with water, this natural salad bowl has been used by many giants for family reunions and graduation parties.

Currently filled with water, this natural salad bowl has been used by many giants for family reunions and graduation parties.

This is Josh standing in front of the Basin. He's very beardly, wouldn't you agree?

Here Josh not only stands next to a really cool rock formation, he also models his Timberland work day t-shirt.

Here Josh not only stands next to a really cool rock formation, he also models his Timberland work day t-shirt.

We hiked uphill from the Basin, and were rewarded with a series of absolutely gorgeous waterfalls. These are some of my favourite pictures of the bunch. There was a cool breeze, as well, which broke the hot day nicely. I climbed over the rocks to get as close to the water as I could.

Can you imagine what it would look like if it had just stormed? 

Can you imagine what it would look like if it had just stormed? 

This is Josh exploring nature. He is not as excited about it as me, but he does a great job carrying the backpack. He likes it when we see dogs on the trail. We saw two black labs and a little yappy thing and a golden retriever and a dachshund-yellow lab mix on this particular day. Yes, I have gotten that good at remembering which dogs I see on what days. 

Note the epic tree roots that serve as steps as Josh hikes up the trail. This particular trail was extremely filled with tree roots.

Note the epic tree roots that serve as steps as Josh hikes up the trail. This particular trail was extremely filled with tree roots.

Here we have another walking tree. This tree is working very hard to make it over a particularly large piece of granite. 

The NH state nickname is actually The Granite State, due to the massive quantities of the rock that can be found.

The NH state nickname is actually The Granite State, due to the massive quantities of the rock that can be found.

Josh smiles cheerfully as he watches me clamber over rocks. 

I like this picture. -Ariele

I like this picture. -Ariele

This is the view looking down from the waterfall. I love the trees and the mountains and the breeze and the rocks and the water and everything about it.

I don't know if I could survive without places like this.

I don't know if I could survive without places like this.

This is me and Josh! Standing on the rocks! Josh has the best eyes, sorry not sorry, but we had a pretty fun time on this trip.

Look! More trees! After we clambered over rocks, we headed over to the Lost River to explore some caves. These trees were on the trails over there, also clambering over rocks. It's like me and the trees are the same person!

It was easy to walk over these ones because they built convenient wooden pathways.

It was easy to walk over these ones because they built convenient wooden pathways.

Here we find Josh involved in an ancient ritual called the pretend stabbing of the rock inside one of the caves at Lost River. I think the cave was called something like the Sun of Pluto's Rays or something. If I were less lazy, I would go to their website and figure out what the name of the cave is. But, yeah.

He's very good at this, can you tell?

He's very good at this, can you tell?

The wooden pathways that made their way through the gorge where the Lost River ran were an epic feat of engineering. We were continually impressed. They also made for a beautiful view as we moved through the trees and mosses and rocks.

Building these, if you were good at math, would be a really cool job.

Building these, if you were good at math, would be a really cool job.

Here Josh climbs out from inside one of the many caves we climbed through. A few of them were too small for comfort, but we enjoyed the experience. I particularly loved the caves with ponds and waterfalls inside them. I didn't get any good pictures though. Too dark.

Here Josh displays his impeccable fashion sense, with yellow shorts, a tan shirt, and blue Adidas flipflops.

Here Josh displays his impeccable fashion sense, with yellow shorts, a tan shirt, and blue Adidas flipflops.

When we exited the Lost River, it showed us this view from a very tall bench. We sat here for quite a while, until a rampaging pack of teenagers caught up with us and we had to run.

I very zoomed with my camera to get this photo.

I very zoomed with my camera to get this photo.

In conclusion, we had a wonderful time in the mountains, and in fact, I'll be heading back up at some point soon to do a mini-writing retreat. We loved the mountains, hiking, and all the time we spent watching movies and exploring the area. Also we started Pokemon Going which was fun.

Anyway, if you ever have the opportunity, I highly recommend a trip to Northern New England (but probably in the summer unless you really love snow).

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