I wish that the dogs and I could be hiking big hikes right now, but we can’t. I’m trying to look at the situation as an interesting challenge. Anybody can find big views of the glorious New England autumn by skipping up above treeline. How can we instead make the most of limited miles and a requirement for good footing?
The Presidential Rail Trail is our latest attempt. We parked near Mount Washington Regional Airport and walked a nondescript but pleasant (and rehabbing-dog-friendly!) mile and a half to a viewing platform on Cherry Pond.
We’d had a surprisingly efficient morning. Now the afternoon stretched ahead of us with many hours before we had to report back in to life. So I considered our options to get where we needed to go and selected the route that led us through Evans Notch.
Seasonally-gated 113 is a lovely, twisty road that parallels the Wild River for a while before turning away into the Notch. The foliage peak had continued to make its way east over the week and stretches of 113 just glowed. And then we reached a wide-open vista (albeit at least in part due to tree-cutting, which is not my favorite way to achieve a view) of Evans Notch.
There’s also a memorial plaque here, allegedly the only one of its kind in the Whites — although Bette Davis might have a thing or two to say about that! Google tells me that it’s a tribute to one of the foremen who build the road through the Notch and who had asked that his ashes be scattered at the height of land. I’m a little ambivalent about this sort of thing in general: I totally understand wanting to be connected to a place that you or your loved one enjoyed in life but I also feel it’s important to preserve the wild-ness of these places as much as we can. Here, though, close to the road that Donahue himself built and apparently still maintained by his family, it felt fitting.
The dogs and I lingered here for a while, sitting on rocks and enjoying the sun. They ate dinner; I read a chapter of an old favorite book. It wasn’t proper hiking, but for now, it will do.