Sunday, May 20, 2012

Mount Chocorua, 5-19-12

I had set aside yesterday to hike weeks ago and hoped the weather would be good... boy was it! After talking to a hiking buddy about a trip she did to Chocorua with another friend of ours last year, I decided I should check this mountain out. We've hiked some trails in this area before but never done Chocorua, and I figured it was time. I heard about waterfalls and chose to do the Champney Falls trail up and back. Looked like it would be a long-ish day - about 7.5 miles round trip, not too bad for me but long for some of the group, but everyone was game so we went for it.

The trail starts out right off the Kancamagus highway, and the first mile and a half is a very nice moderate hike through the woods to the falls, which took us less than an hour. There are several areas of falls, and we stopped to take pictures and have a snack. The bugs were awful and of course we all forgot bug spray, so sitting next to the falls with the breeze helped keep them away temporarily!

After the break at the falls we pressed on. The trail started to get steeper and more rocky as we went on, with switchbacks further up. The last half mile was mostly all rock climbing and scrambling, which I love even though not everyone else does! We finally reached the summit, laid out in the sun and had lunch. It was super warm and even though there was a breeze at the top, it didn't cool us off right away. The views from the top are absolutely amazing, especially on a beautiful day like yesterday.

We headed down figuring we'd probably make it down in less time than it took us to get up. We were mostly right, although unfortunately we had a minor injury when one friend fell on a rock and scraped the hell out of her leg. She'll be bruised and scraped for a little while but thankfully it wasn't as bad as it could have been - I was behind her and when I saw her fall, I was afraid she'd fallen right on her face. It hurt her the rest of the way down but she was fine overall. This goes to show the importance of having first aid supplies with you on hike.

After a stop for my friend to soak her leg in the ice-cold river, we got back to the car pretty quickly, grabbed snacks/drinks on the way out and headed home. Long day (and long drive) but awesome hike. I love this mountain and will have to go back! My husband wasn't feeling well yesterday morning and didn't come, so I'd love to go back so he can do the hike sometime. We're planning on hiking next Sunday but I'm not sure where yet. This was a great day and great hike!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The High Line, NYC, 4-21-12

This was not a traditional hike (more of a walk), but I had to write a post about it as it's so cool! The weekend of April 20th we visited a friend in Albany and trained into New York City for the day on Saturday. She'd been told about this trail in the city she figured we'd enjoy checking out, and we were of course game. The High Line is a linear park built on an old elevated rail line on the west side of Manhattan. It's owned by the city, and maintained by the city and a preservation group. I'd looked at a few photos before we went and was super excited to see this! I think it's great when space in urban areas like this is re-purposed as parks or recreation areas, it's a great way to encourage people to get outside and appreciate what they have around them.

There are several stairways into the park along its length and we started on 14th street, near one end. (above is a view across the river from where we started.) The entire length of the High Line is about 1.5 miles so we probably walked about 1.25 miles of it. I was so overwhelmed I started taking pictures immediately and pretty much didn't stop the whole walk! Since it was such a nice day there were lots of people walking, but luckily not so many that I couldn't stop for pictures. There is greenery everywhere and sections of track that were left and planted around, which is so cool.

Besides the green space that's been created (there were actually some flowers in bloom!), another really cool thing for me was seeing the city from this perspective. We were a story or two up most of the time, possibly higher depending on what areas the trail was going through, and it's very interesting walking through the city at that level! You walk by people's balconies and patios, above busy streets and intersections, right by what are probably people's home or office windows, and also by some abandoned or busted up buildings/neighborhoods, which I love seeing. Really a great way to see the city. We had views of the Empire State building in the distance from some parts of the trail too.

Oh! And there was this bank of bird houses, designed like a shiny metal linear sculpture. The pictures I took don't really give the right perspective on how it was set up  - it's positioned at maybe a 30-35 degree angle to the ground even though the picture below makes it look like it's standing straight up, but it was a really interesting design, and the birds were happily using it despite tons of people gawking at them.

We walked along the entire length to the opposite end at 30th street. At that end, you can see the next length of track they are working on to add to the trail. I don't know how far this particular rail keeps going but I hope they're able to convert the whole thing to add to this wonderful park. So much fun to walk it! We don't visit the city very often but I would absolutely come back here, maybe during the summer or fall when more of the flowers are blooming (there is also supposedly a water feature I don't think we saw, probably too early in the season for it). Here are a few more random pics from the walk.

I will have a more complete flickr gallery of this trip up shortly - here's the link and I will be adding photos to this shortly to complete it. I would absolutely recommend checking out the High Line to anyone visiting NYC and looking for an interesting urban adventure, complete with green space!