When I first told my family that I would be one of the Interpretive Rangers at Franconia Notch State Park this summer, the first question my grandmother asked, was “So when are we gonna visit Vicky?”.
On August 7th, my mom, dad, and grandma, left home in Cleveland, Ohio and drove about 12 hours to Lincoln, New Hampshire for a five day vacation. It was great seeing my parents and grandma, but the adventures we went on while in Franconia Notch State Park were even better!
Our first adventure took us on the Aerial Tram up to the top of Cannon Mountain. Naturally, we made sure to bring coats because the top of the mountain is usually cooler than the valley floor. Grandma also brought her cane because on top of the mountain there is a short, relatively flat Rim Trail that takes you around the top of the mountain to a lookout platform, with some amazing views!
Hiking around Cannon Mountain built up our appetite! So for our next adventure we went to explore and eat lunch at the Basin. We ate at one of the two picnic tables there, and, of course, we made sure that we packed out all of our trash because Franconia Notch State Park is a “Carry in, Carry out” park! That means that everything you bring into the park you must take with you when you leave.
After our food, we went on an after-lunch walk through the Basin area. The Basin refers to the unique geological formation that the Pemigewasset River carved into the solid granite bedrock. Thousands of years ago, the Basin was just a small depression in the rock. But as the river grew over time so did the depression, because when water entered the depression, it formed a whirlpool. Sand and gravel swirled around in this whirlpool, creating liquid sandpaper that began to erode away the rock. This process began during the Ice Age, when a glacier covered the area and melt water formed the Pemigewasset River.
Our last adventure that day was to go through The Flume Gorge. The Flume is another amazing geological formation found in Franconia Notch. The Flume was formed about 200 million years ago when the granite that comprises it, came up to the Earth’s surface from the Earth’s center. Then, a large crack formed in this giant granite shelf. This crack was filled with basalt; another , different type of igneous rock. But over time, the basalt was eroded away by the river that currently flows through the Gorge, but the granite wasn’t creating the Gorge’s unique and dramatic topography. Today, you can easily walk through the Gorge and appreciate its natural beauty thanks to the boardwalk that is in place.
My family and I fit a lot of adventuring into one day! We were so excited to explore everything! Our adventures eventually came to an end as we ran out of time, and since Grandma, an 89 year-old German-Hungarian who came to America after World War II, was very tired, we decided to call it a day. Even though we were able to get to The Flume Gorge, The Basin, and Cannon Mountain, we did miss some things. Like Boise Rock and The Old Man in the Mountain Memorial Site. But we can save those adventures for another day!
Franconia Notch State Park has such a wide variety of hiking trails as well as many interesting attractions. Spending multiple days here with family or friends is very easy (and very fun!). My family really enjoyed their adventures here and loved the beautiful mountains; they even talked about coming back to see the leaves change color! I can’t wait!
–Vicky Benko, Franconia Notch State Park Interpretive Ranger