NEW HAMPSHIRE, WHITE MOUNTAINS
Looking down into a cave in the gorge. Before one can enter the caves, one must descend over 300 steps to the hidden river; then one slowly ascends that same distance while going through caves and looking at rock formations.
This formation, for instance, has been named Fenris the Wolf because it reminded someone in charge of the son of Loki and Angur-Boda. (I'm not sure who did the naming, but there was an article on the lost river hanging in the gift shop, dated this date -- August 19th -- in 1917, so it could be that old or older.)
It was quite cool and smelled deliciously of pine, and the sound of running water could be heard everywhere -- even where the river is underground.
Before heading into the White Mountains, we visited America's Stonehenge in North Salem, New Hampshire, so named because among other rock formations it contains a stone circle that serves as a calendar similar to Stonehenge, including this one aligned with the rising sun on the winter solstice, though the stones are not nearly as large and the deep woods around them blocks most of the sun anyway, making it a gorgeous place to hike.
There are also a number of deep rock chambers, a carved-out stream drain and what looks like a huge flat stone table, all dating back several thousand years. This for me was the more interesting aspect of the site, historically, as it was almost certainly built by early Native Americans.
I am somewhat skeptical of the claims that the layout of the archaeological site was designed according to the European Pagan calendar -- there are stones that align with the sunrise on Beltane, Lammas, Samhain and Imbolc as well as the solstices and equinoxes, and I found myself wondering whether perhaps other stones had been moved or lain flat in the circle to make these cross-quarter markers more prominent for tourist purposes.
But I am a great fan of megalithic astronomy, so even if there has been some tampering, I enjoyed visiting the site. They also had a practice archaeological dig where Adam was the only kid to find two pieces of jasper, which made him quite happy.
The White Mountains are full of deliciously fragrant pine. We had quite a bit of cloud cover (and pouring rain that began right in the middle of dinner at the campground, ruining our fire and sending us fleeing to shut the van and bring in the towels), so I have no spectacular photos of mountaintops as they were largely obscured...
...as here, a photo of the mountain where the Old Man of the Mountain presided over New Hampshire for about ten thousand years, until that high rock formation collapsed in May of 2003. (We saw it the last time we were here, in 2000.) In this photo you can't tell where the Old Man of the Mountain should have been, anyway!
Twin Mountain KOA has an old caboose that has been converted into a camping cabin. It has electrical outlets but no running water. These notes were written sitting on the bed in the back room of the caboose while listening to the rain on the roof.
And, I mean...what kid doesn't want to sleep in a caboose?