White Mountain National Forest


Visiting New Hampshire's White Mountain National Forest in late April put me about 2 weeks ahead of the early spring growth ready to explode on the trees. Bright sun and warm temperatures made for beautiful weather for driving around, but I was looking hard for landscapes. I drove the famous Kancamagus Highway and did the big loop through Franconia Notch and Crawford Notch. I met my good buddy Craig Goss who drove in from Vermont for 2 days of fooling around. Unfortunately I think the weather was not going to cooperate. Stopping at a ranger station we spoke to a park service guide about the absence of old growth in the area. He interestingly remarked that the clearcutting of the forest allowed the secondary deciduous forest to come in giving the fantastic fall colors and a boom to the local economy. Hmmm, justification for the horrors of decimating the forest. You have to remember that the US government basically purchased all the lands throughout the country that were raped and clear cut and turned it into the National Forest system. So very rarely would you find any old growth in a National Forest. Ok, this makes sense, a positive spin on things.


WhiteMountains_2016-0501-155My ultimate destination was a small patch of rare old growth located in a place called The Bowl Natural Research Area off the Dicey's Mill Trail which we attempted on Day 2. It was a rough hike (for me) uphill and I think we must have missed a turn somewhere because we never really think we saw an old growth forest, even though Craig, my guide, told me that NH "old growth" probably looks like your typical growth. Maybe we walked through it and never noticed. It started to rain and we wimped out after about 2 hours of hiking in. The camera gear was getting very heavy. At least we had a good workout, and a memorable story about the elusive old growth forest that we never found.