I’m back in New Hampshire. H has the week off, and we’re planning to walk together in the mountains every day we can. Of course, this means sweet B, too, not to mention Jasper the Wonderdog.

This bright and gorgeous autumn morning, we headed north up I-93 from Concord to Franconia, then swung west up to Sugar Hill and breakfast at Polly’s Pancake Parlor. The high mountains to the east were still obscured by mist, so the stunning view was absent, but the food was as good as usual. I’m not sure, but I think B is saying, “Whoa, dude, Amazing pancakes!”:

At any rate, like us, she was a satisfied customer:
Our Monday walk was a short, sweet classic, Artists Bluff and Bald Mountain in Franconia Notch. H carried B in the Kelty and handled J the W, who really resents the indignity of being asked to carry his own water.
Artists Bluff is a sharpish but short climb to a ledge that offered the 19th Century painters who infested the White Mountains spectacular views of mountains, notch, and distant ridgelines. We, of course, carried a digital point-and-shoot, which another tourist was kind enough to point in our direction.
That’s Cannon Mountain ski area behind us, a typical rough and tough Eastern hill (much steeper than it looks—it’s a 4,000-footer), where you can be assured—it faces north—of finding more ice than powder. Gotta be good to ski smooth at Cannon.

After a woodsy traverse, reaching Bald’s peak requires negotiating some awkward slabs. The view opens up more to the north and west. I hope you can make out, right over H’s head, Mt. Mooselauke, Dartmouth’s mountain, eight miles away.

B also tolerated a grandfatherly hug, for which I was grateful.

Shortly after H snapped that photo, she noticed dark clouds quickly heading our way. We repacked baby and dog and made our way back down the slabs just in time to avoid one of those awful greasy descents. We got soaked, but only after we were down and safe.

Of course, when I say we, I mean H, J the W (who couldn’t have cared less), and me. The Queen of the May rode perfectly dry, mistress of all she surveyed. And why not?

We were on the trail for just shy of two hours, and it was wonderful. More to come.

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