A Stop, A Climb, A Swing and a Row

My previous post was all about the mountain.  Mount Washington, to be precise.  However, our five-day trip did not begin there, nor did it end there!  No, no, I must truly start at the beginning.

It all started when my sister had the grand idea of going away two weeks before going away for our summer holidays.  A vacation before the vacation, so to speak… This meant extra work for hubs (though we assured him he would have access to WiFi and would be able to do whatever work needed to be done…)!  You see, sister works shifts so taking two days off means she has a whole week off!  And her hubs works in a school so he’s off all summer.  Not too much of a challenge for them to get away.  Time-wise.

So, before Mick could say “Boo!”, I booked the Eastern Slope Campsite in Conway, New Hampshire, right on the Saco River.  He did what he had to do and we packed up the camper and off we went!

Just so you know… gas is a lot cheaper in the States than it is in Quebec.  We put $30-$40 of gas into the tank to make it to the border and across for a first full fill-up.  Our truck is a big F-150. Our trailer is 27 feet long and weighs a good 7,000 lbs when full of stuff (as it was).  Driving towards Conway means driving through the White Mountains.  Driving through the mountains means you get a lot less mileage per litre than you would driving, say, on a straight highway not lugging a trailer….

Truck & trailer

Truck & trailer

We drive through customs (I won’t mention that we may or may not have taken the wrong road and took an un-scheduled detour) and off we went, our eyes open for a gas station.  When you have as much real estate to pull as we do, you have to be picky about where you stop.  When you think you’re going to have to putz around trying to get into an itty-bitty gas station, you pass until the next one.  Mistake.  And then you watch your dashboard all lit up letting you know you only have about 25km left in your tank.  You don’t quite panic, but you just may start to fret.  They you see you have only about 11 km left of gas in the tank.  You grab the GPS to see where the next available gas station is (because at this point, you’ll take itty-bitty!) and by the time it finds it, you have 5 km left in your tank at the station is 3 km away.  Any way you count it, it does not add up.

Now what?

Sputter, sputter… oh shit! We are officially at ZERO!  The gods were on our side as just to the right, down a hill a bit was a rest area.  Yessiree!  We coasted down the hill and parked (beautifully, I might add) on the side.  Then we called CAA (same thing as AAA) and ordered ourselves a cherry bomb of gas!  We had a good 45-minute wait in the lovely Lyndon rest area and it just happened to be lunch time and I just happened to have a chopped egg mixture in the trailer so I made lunch, Aidan and Mick played backgammon, Iain snoozed and I walked around taking pictures and reading.

AAA arrived with the gas, we got back into the truck and hightailed it to that gas station, just 3 MILES away… not the same as 3 KILOMETRES!  Filled up the tank (at a sort of itty-bitty) and made our way to the campground!

Set up camp and joined my sister and her family for some quality family time!  We did our usual pasta night on the first night and the next day was a beach day and outlet shopping day (had to get some hiking boots as mine were dead!)

The kids had a blast jumping off the “Tarzan rope” strategically hung across the river from us.  I had a great vantage point with a good zoom lens to catch their antics!  First it was the kids only.  They were excited/scared to try it!

Waiting for their turn

Waiting for their turn

After lunch, the dads joined in.  It was hilarious to watch… the various techniques and aerial positions had me in stitches.  I truly could have posted some of the wackiest but I want my family to continue to love me…

Their hands a little raw, a few scrapes later and it was time to go prepare supper.  While packing up, we watched a mother duck and her ducklings paddle away from us, ever faster!  I have no clue what kind these are!


Mama and her babies

As we were walking back to our site, I turned back to take a picture of the darkening skies…. they were about to burst!  And they did, just as we got back to the lean-to! But what comes after rain?  Yes!  A rainbow!

That evening was wing night!  Mick as developed a new recipe and quite frankly, it is delicious…


While dinner was being cooked, my sister and I howled with laughter when we witnessed this:


… as it reminded us of a time waaaaaaay back when we were immature younger adults and had been kicked out of our camping site for being too noisy the night before.  They didn’t kick us out of the campground so we just picked up the tents and walked them over to another section!  Memories….

The next day’s forecast (Wednesday) was for sun and warmth.  Perfect day to climb Mount Washington!

Still smilin'

Still smilin’

Come Thursday, we were a little slow getting ourselves organised.  I was surprised that I felt no real repercussions for the previous day’s exertions.  We had a late breakfast and then hubs and sis went to sign us up for an inner tube ride down the Saco River.  We were too late for that so we signed up for a seven-mile kayak trip down the Saco.  (Like we hadn’t done enough exercise the day before!)  We had 15 minutes to get ourselves into our bathing suits, pack a few beers and go!

There is no way in hell I was bringing my camera onto a kayak (especially since I have been in one only – never!) and decided to not even bring my phone just in case so I’ve no pictures of our adventure!  I will await copies of my brother-in-law’s as he was brave enough….

You’ll just have to wait for the last part of our Conway Get-Away!


At the Top of the World….Well, in New Hampshire Anyway!


All ready to go!

We wanted to climb Mount Washington last year during the Labour Day week-end with my sister and her family but it just didn’t work out…

This year, why wait until Labour Day, when chances are it’ll be cooler outside, when you can do it in 29°C (84°F) instead?  I mean, seriously!  So, we booked a Monday to Friday trip to New Hampshire, at the Eastern Slope Campground right on the Saco River.  Nice place, very close to Mount Washington plus we would be able to swim in the river, jump off Tarzan ropes and go kayaking after our climb.  A nice time was in store.

But first, we had a mountain to climb! A 6,288 foot mountain, to be precise!  Let us just say that it was no “walk in the park”!  The year before we had gone up Whiteface, which had some challenges but was a couple of thousand feet shorter!  Then again, Sister did warn us that this would be a challenge.  (How she and her hubs did it hung over is beyond me!)  Off we went, full of smiles and good cheer.

Of course, when you see a sign like this, you realise that it’s a good thing we are doing this in summer!


The path from the beginning until the Hermit Lake shelter is quite something, full of rocks and nary a downward slope.  You know, going up Whiteface there were flattish parts here and there, Washington? Not so much.  So it’s rocks and up and up and up!

Some time between the Shelter and the top, we met a gentleman who would be just behind us, going at a steady pace.  We’d break, he’d catch up; we’d take off, take another break, and there he was again.  We offered to let him pass (some places were more narrow than others) but he said that no, he much preferred to follow OUR pace!  He said that he would have ended up pushing himself too far, too fast and this was just fine, thank you very much!  His name was Bob, a 59 (!) year old EMT from New York.

Mick and Bob

Mick and Bob

From this point on, the challenge was on:  as we went up, up, up; the rocks got bigger and the air thinner.  Let’s just say we took a few more breaks during the top half! It was gorgeous, though!  And I totally loved the little bouquets, tucked in here and there amidst the rocks!

At the top portion (will we EVER reach it???) all vegetation was basically gone and we just had to manoeuvre ourselves over these humungous rocks.  Even Zeke was having a hard time of it!  The wind at this point really picked up and my god-daughter, the smallest and youngest of the group, was getting pretty fed up.  At one point she stopped, arms akimbo, looked at her dad and said:  “Maudit, que je pogne dans le vent!”  This sort of loosely translates to:  “Damn, the wind keeps tossing me about!”

Finally, finally!  We made it! It was, as hubby likes to say, “a little nipple-y” out!  The temperature was a mere 11°C (52°F) at the top!  What a crazy difference in temperature!   We hurriedly took our group pictures, shivering all the while (and the reason my picture of the elevation sign is blurry – couldn’t stop shivering)….

We made it!

We made it!



For those of you who’ve never been to the top of Mount Washington, 231 miles per hour was the highest wind ever recorded by man.  So windy, one of the original houses is chained down!

Once inside the restaurant/souvenir area to warm up and fill our bellies we realised that what goes up, must come down.  Zeke was NOT going to make it and frankly, Mick, my sister and I were not overly enthusiastic either.  If the consensus had been to hike down, most of us would have found the energy.  I would have had to figure out what to do with Zeke.  That said, we looked into sending the two men down by bus to get the trucks and it was – gulp! – $60 per person!  My sister, ever the charmer, said hang on… went up to a woman and asked her if she was heading down.  The woman said she was waiting for her boyfriend so when he showed up my sister told them we had a lame dog (not quite but people care more about dogs and people so it worked!) and would it be possible to bring her husband and brother-in-law down to get their trucks.  Of course she said yes!  This couple was German and quite the beer discussion went on during the ride…. Our guys offered to pay them for the ride, the couple refused, the guys insisted… so they paid them twenty bucks  ($100 less than it would have cost for the bus!!)

We had a good hour’s wait for the guys to drive down, get the trucks and drive up.  Mick’s first words upon arriving were:  “Holy cow!  It’s a scary drive!”  Wait till you see it!  I can now understand why people proudly display their stickers This car climbed Mt Washington – we have ours but haven’t stuck it on…. It actually costs $28 to be allowed to drive up to the top.  That said, you get your fabulous sticker and a CD which you listen to as you ride up and down that is full of very interesting information…

Here come our rides!

Here come our rides!

We watched from inside the warm restaurant to see our men coming up the mountain.  We piled into our respective vehicles and made our way down.  Whoa!  What a ride!  Along the way there are places to stop and cool your breaks and if needed, fill your radiator with water!

We actually did stop to take a break and I went around to take some of the vegetation mentioned in the CD… The trees are all twisted and quite small but are over 100 years old!

Driving down was gorgeous as well as scary – especially when we encountered a car coming up.  The rule is, the right of way is given to those coming up the mountain…. we may not have been on the edge of the cliff as they were but there was truly not much room to move!

Driving down

Driving down

All in all, a most satisfying, fun, push-yourself-to-the-limits kind of day.  Though, frankly, I think Zeke had more than his fill…. Poor guy. We totally understood how he felt!

Pooped dog

Pooped dog


Sunday Gratitude – July 6, 2014

Where did June go?  In the beginning of the month I feared we’d have the same type of month of June like last year:  cold, miserable, totally un-summer-like!  Nope.  This has been a most beautiful month on the whole.  Lovely little heat waves to warm our bodies, our gardens, our pools.  Rains that came, just in the nick of time (though we probably could have had a bit more!) Wonderfully warm evenings begging me to “stay just one more minute on the front stoop”.  The garden is blooming (I’ve frankly lost control of the weeds…) and I’ve enjoyed sugar snap peas, radishes and a few cherry tomatoes: yellow, orange and red.  I have to snap them up when I see ’em or I lose them to my son!

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We’re preparing for our little getaway to New Hampshire, more particularly Mount Washington with my sister and her family.  Cannot wait!  Must finish packing my clothes and put them into the trailer.  We leave bright and early!  It will be nice to put our feet up, relax, read, and of course, climb the mountain!  It’s going to be quite the workout I’m sure!  Last year’s Whiteface was quite the challenge and it’s a smaller mountain!  Gulp!

Gratitude List

  1. I am so happy we have great neighbours to take care of our house and garden when we are away.

  2. I so love the warm evenings with the perfect amount of breeze.  I swear I could stay out all night!

  3. Tomatoes picked directly from the garden (especially the grape or cherry ones), still warm from the sun.  Nothing else is needed, no salt, no oil, no vinegar… just tomatoes!  Natures little candies!

  4. The rhythm of the days.  Though there are things to be done, the urgency is minimal and when there is a deadline, it’s doesn’t feel like a chore.

  5. Happy, happy clients who let me know that they are tremendously pleased with the food they’ve received from me so far.  They repeat it week after week that I have eased their load and kept their bellies full!

  6. Being able to, spur of the moment, share my meal with the neighbours:  joining our meals together so there is not just one “slave” in the kitchen!

  7. Omigosh!  How could I almost forget!  THANK YOU!  To my fabulous husband who fixed my gas oven… It will be so much easier to prepare food for clients with a working one! xoxo!