Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Franconia Falls and Black Pond on Earth Day

Base of Franconia Falls
A short trail description for a long walk in the woods!  Friday morning, TybTangs and I took a nice meander up Lincoln Woods Trail to Franconia Falls and Black Pond.  Not knowing how the weather was going to pan out or what sort of hike we were in for the next day in terms of conditions, I thought it would be a great hike to start the weekend.  Thankfully, the dogs informed me I chose well!

So much signage...


Representative of the LW Trail up to the bridge over the East Branch of the Pemi
Lincoln Woods is accessed via a large parking lot, which is your first indication this is a very popular trail.  Luckily for us, I had Friday off and there was some very light rain that had recently fallen and was forecasted to occur again so it was fairly quiet.  I figured we would head up to Franconia Falls (round trip 6.2 miles) but we tacked on another 1.6 miles (or two if you go by the trail signs) when we decided to check out Black Pond on our return to the car.
Sections of the old railroad bed that are still intact along the trail
From the trailhead, we followed the path past the ranger station and over the suspension bridge that wavered subtly as we crossed.  A right turn and off we went!  The trail is very broad and flat, which is really as much as this trail description needs.  It follows the river and the noise of the water was comforting when we were out there alone.  
View from the side of the trail of the East Branch of the Pemi
The trail is also a multi-use trail and, while we didn't encounter anyone on bikes, there were  tracks in the mud.  The mud situation is minimal; the trail is so broad that the small amount of mud we encountered on LW could be walked around.  
Aforementioned bridge
We walked as far as the second bridge, where the spur to Franconia Falls is on the left.  That trail is more of a traditional nature trail - single file but not narrow, and some very minor rocks, roots, mud (at the moment) and incline.  Apparently Franconia Falls is wicked popular in the summer and I can see why.  It's super cool and for an attraction not immediately off a major route, it is very accessible.  We spent a little time wandering the rocks and making it to the official end of the trail that Tybee did not wish to acknowledge!

The signage continues... mostly about water safety at this kiosk

Franconia Falls:

Dog goes anywhere she wants til I ask her to do it on command!

Top of the falls
We scooted down the rocks for one more scenic river vista before turning around
The dogs disagree
We were making such great time and the weather was so cooperative that we also took the spur for Black Pond on the way back. This one was evidently less popular and more of the narrow hiker's path one expects.  Still, a pretty flat walk overall (some small, gentle ups and downs) and decent footing (ranging from easy to some roots and slick leaves to be cautious of, as well as mud at the moment).  The view of the pond was very pretty and it felt cool to visit such an untouched body of water.  Unlike Franconia Falls, there was no end of trail sign and I had to convince Ty that today wasn't the day to find the Black Pond Bushwhack!

Black Pond
Ty stuck her nose in some leaves and this readily popped up
from among them.  Cool find we left for the next hiker to see!
Tango approved! 
We really enjoyed this 4.25 hour walk (included random breaks and photo opps) and hope we can do it again with some less hiking-inclined folks before it gets busy for the season.  I felt good about the mileage but it was in no way taxing on my "old man."  Both dogs benefited from lots of access to water (though anything running from Black Pond is probably a bad idea due to the beavers).  It was an ideal start to our weekend and perfectly situated right down Rt 112 from Hancock Campground, where we later met up with Linda to spend the night drinking, chatting, and struggling with my new-to-me (gifted from my stepdad!) Coleman grill in preparation for the next day's hike up to Greenleaf Hut with more hiking humans and pups.  That didn't quite happen but we had a great hike anyway and finished the day on hedgehog enjoying the sunny skies outside of the notch!

Trip Report: 4/23 Greenleaf Trail
Our first official night of camping 2016!!
River behind the campground

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