Arriving in New Hampshire, we make an attempt to climb Mount Washington (in our vehicle, that is). The highest wind speeds in the world were recorded here at 231 MPH. The observatory at the top is chained to the ground so that it isn’t blown away! Unfortunately, the road is closed due to snow and ice, so we have to turn back. The weather at the bottom of the mountain is beautiful so we aren’t too disappointed to stay at this level.
We stop at White Mountain National Forest, where they warn you of the dangers in the area by handing you a list of casualties, as well as their causes. We thought it a bit morbid and decided not to take any two-day hikes into the wilderness. Further down the road, we photograph a beautiful little spot called Glen Ellis Falls and visit the Conic Scenic Railroad Station. In Holderness, Alfonso has extended family in Holderness, so we head there to visit them for dinner. Along the way, we stop several times to take pictures of the fall foliage and amazing views.
Bob and Lisa serve a wonderful Turkey dinner. Their daughter also has friends over so it makes for a very lively night. This is my first time meeting this part of the family, and Bob has me laughing all night with his jokes. We stay for the night and wake up clean and refreshed. Showers become such a luxury when living as a nomad!
As we continue in our route of discovery in New Hampshire, I can’t help but notice the rough profile that adorns the road signs and license plates. Come to find out, it is the face of “The Old Man of the Mountain,” which became New Hampshire’s state symbol before collapsing in 2003. We ask people about the details and realize that many mourn this loss like one of their own family members. Flowers are placed at the base of the cliff where the stone-faced celebrity rests in peace.
We later learn that New Hampshire native, Daniel Webster, originally brought fame to the stone profile. He wrote: “Men hang out their signs indicative of their respective trades; shoe makers hang out a gigantic shoe; jewelers a monster watch, and the dentist hangs out a gold tooth; but up in the Mountains of New Hampshire, God Almighty has hung out a sign to show that there He makes men.” In 1850, a short story was inspired by the mountain and titled “The Great Stone Face,” by Nathaniel Hawthorne. People visited from all over the country, and world to see for themselves a Great Stone Face.
On May 3rd, 2003 at approximately 7:30 a.m. two Franconia Notch State Park employees noticed that the Forty-foot profile had collapsed. A period of sadness ensued. Coin-operated viewfinders have been set up at the base of the cliff to show how the Old Man used to look. Unfortunately, this is not enough to bring in the crowds of people that once visited the famous profile in stone. The Old man remains only in photos and memories. By our personification, the cliff on Cannon Mountain went from mere erosion to a tragic death, and the entire Northeast mourns.