Friday, August 13, 2010

Presidential Rail Trail

For something different, we decided to walk on the greenway today.  Portions of this walking/bicycling path are clearly visible from the highway and every time we drive by we say we need to get out there.

One of our holdups was the fact that we couldn’t get any information about parking, length, etc.  Even the lady at the Information Center in Gorham seemed like she didn’t know what we were talking about.  When we finally made her understand, she still was unable to find a map of the trail.  So today, we just decided to go find out for ourselves.

We parked at a large parking area on US 2.  We knew the path went west at least to the Appalachia parking area because we’ve walked across the greenway as we headed out to all the trails which leave from there.  We also thought it went east on into downtown Gorham because we had seen people walking across an old railroad bridge.  At the parking lot on US 2 there was a map posted on a board, but the map was labeled “Presidential Snowmobile Club” and had many different trails going in all directions.  We were more confused by the map.  We dashed across busy US 2 and around the gate to the greenway.  We were on a mission.

As we started out, we were greatly impressed with the trail surface of crushed stone and a very expensive bridge over Moose River.  We were zipping along and all of a sudden we were passing houses and found ourselves back at US 2 again.  We were standing around with confused looks on our faces when a father with his three children came along on bicycles.  He was no help, however; he was as confused as we were.  We said something about the greenway and the guy seemed like he was confused by our question.  They turned around and so did we and headed back to the truck.

Our next step was to drive up to the Appalachia parking area and walk toward Gorham.  Soon after we got started there, we ran into a gentleman on a bicycle.  He looked like he knew what he was doing, so we asked him where the trail went.  He explained where it ended which was about two-tenths of a mile west of where we had originally parked.  When we tried to explain to him that we had gotten on the greenway at the large parking lot in town, he, too, acted like he didn’t know what we were talking about.

We finally came across a sign which identified the path we were on as a “Rail Trail”.  We have rail trail conversions in Tennessee, but they are always referred to as “Greenways”.  We kept saying, “greenway” and no one knew what we were talking about.  We’ve been frustrated with folks around here for two weeks and it’s been our fault all along.  And you thought English was the universal language.

Moose River

We enjoyed our walk.  The trail was wide, flat, and free of rocks, roots, and ruts.  There were bridges over every creek (I think they’re called brooks here) and over the river.  We passed a couple ponds which was neat, even though there were no moose.  Because the path is wide, we were out in the sun more.  Having more sun meant a few flowers rather than moss and fungi which we see on the shaded trails.  It was a nice change of pace.

beaver lodge

Our hiking buddies are continuing their trek across the Presidentials.  Today, they were on the ridge above timberline all day and passed over Mt Washington and skirted around the edge of Mt Clay, Mt Jefferson, and Mt Adams.  They are at Madison Hut tonight.  We plan to meet them for dinner tomorrow evening after they climb over the top of Mt Madison then make their way down the rocks to Pinkham Notch.  We’re anxious to hear their stories.

I think that about does it for today.

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