On our way from Vermont to Maine we naturally drove through New Hampshire. The drive through the White Mountain National Forest was spectacular, and at nightfall we had reached our destination. We were going to stay in North Conway for two nights to do some much-needed hiking. After we had checked in, we drove downtown and had a nice burger.
The hotel we were staying in was a short drive from Main Street on a quiet road winding itself through the forest. It was run by a lovely couple who turned out to be of French origin. In the main house of the hotel they had a breakfast room and on our first morning we really appreciated the fact that they had their own understanding of a proper breakfast.
Conveniently enough, our hotel was in walking distance from some of the trail heads. Our host had recommended a particular route which we didn’t think twice about taking. From the hotel we walked for a few minutes until we entered the Merriman State Forest and embarked on the trail up Mount Kearsarge North (996m elevation). When we started, it was still overcast and downright foggy, yet I was sweating profusely after the first few steep inclines. I was so out of shape that I took off my shirt and hiked topless for the next hour.
On the way up Kearsarge North we encountered very few people. At some point the fog started to break up, either because it was dissipating or because we had reached a certain elevation. Shortly after that, we reached the barren summit of Kearsarge North. The most prominent feature there is the white wooden fire-lookout tower, anchored to the rock and open to hikers. Again, we were the only people on the summit so we took our time and went up the tower to add a line to the trail log. We then had lunch and marvelled at the fact that were being encircled by clouds from the valleys all around Kearsarge North.
Our way down was long but uneventful. At one point we met a fellow hiker and stopped to talk to him about the trail. He told us that he loved hiking (no surprise there) and that he in fact just completed through-hiking the whole Appalachian Trail (3500km) about a month earlier.
After we got back to the hotel, we went downtown to do some shopping and strolling along Main Street. We had dinner in the same place as the night before and then retired as we’d be heading out towards Maine the next morning.