Sunday, June 10, 2007

Family Backpacking Notes - This Time With Pictures

I made it all the way up and all the way back. That was goal number one. I'm old.

We did not find the Bette Davis plaque. It is supposedly a quarter-mile up the trail, by the brook's edge. Unfortunately, the trail does not get to the brook until the three-quarter mile mark. There is an old path and an old road, both with lots of treefall and overgrowth now. We tried the path, searching both upstream and down when we reached Coppermine Brook. No plaque. The road would be a better choice, then. Of course "the road that used to lead to the old bridge" doesn't narrow it down much in the White Mountain National Forest. The area you're in may look like ancient wilderness to you, but poke around any stream and you'll eventually be telling your companions "Huh. It looks like there used to be a bridge here."

My nephew Doug mentioned that there was supposedly an old copper mine, which hardly seems surprising on Coppermine brook. It took some searching of old maps to get a guess where it might be, but we found zoomable maps of the 1892 atlas of Grafton County in the David Rumsey Collection. Those maps mark the old copper mine near the trail and old lead mine above the falls. If it was old in 1892, after 100+ years of forest overgrowth we're not going to find it now without a lot of bushwhacking and frustration.

The plaque mentions Peckett's Hotel, and the mine was also called Peckett's Mine, which is of interest since an old friend of ours married into the Pecketts in Franconia.

The word "old" is showing up a lot in this post. Peachy. We had a wonderful time in the frigid water, tending the campfire, gorging on gorp and arguing about whose pack was heavier. I have the Fox News pack - fair and balanced. Mine leans to the left - must be a CNN pack. This led to my second son's discussion of the production values of the two networks, and he assures me that CNN's are much better. Fox still makes mistakes like running the wrong graphic, and to people who know camera and broadcasting work, it undermines their credibility.

I have to believe him. I've never seen Fox, and have seen CNN only in airports.

One of the Romanian brothers got to come for the first time, and so got to borrow some childhood memories. Fathers, be careful where you take your children camping when they're little, because when they wax nostalgiac twenty years later and want to "all hike to the place you used to take us," you'll want it to be something you can still manage. You could do worse than the 80-ft falls (two cascades) at Bridal Veil in Franconia. There's even a 3-sided shelter to get your old bones up off the ground.


Anonymous said...

How where the bugs?

GraniteDad said...

Not too bad, really. A little bothersome at the bottom, but at the falls and the shelter they weren't too bad at all.

Erin said...

I am a bit disappointed that you didn't name the post "there and back again"

Ben Wyman said...

Why couldn't Bette Davis have gotten lost in a place easier to find?

GM Roper said...

"There's even a 3-sided shelter to get your old bones up off the ground."

To those of us in the know, the 3 sided shelter is called an "Adirondack Shelter" and I have many, many fond memories of camping out in them in the early 60's up near Hawk Mountain in Penn. Those shelters dot American mountains on the east coast from Maine to West Virginia. Thanks for the memories.