This family trip is the first half of two Fall visits to the Pemigewasset Wilderness. It was a bit past peak color, but the weather was clear and warm for the end of September. We’ve been back country camping with The Tot with pretty good result so we took a shot at camping near other people and set out for the Franconia Brook Tent Site from the Lincoln Woods trailhead.The Eastside Trail runs about three miles from the parking area to the wilderness boundary gate which is where the official camping area is currently located. I’d passed through on my way into the wilderness on previous trips but this was my first time camping here. I prefer getting farther out into the woods to camp alone, but this made sense for a family adventure.
There was a tent pad big enough for the Kelty TR3, though just barely. It is heavy by modern tent standards, but oh so roomy! We have plenty of room for gear inside which is important with kids along. We also brought along some premade, foil wrapped and frozen hobo dinners. Considering my usual diet of dehydrated meals this seemed like the best idea ever. Just some precooked sausage with lots of veggies, but even now my mouth is watering remembering how good it was under the trees with a bit of smoke in the air.
The Pemigewasset River was amusingly quiet. If you are familiar with what it looks like when it is really running this version just seems cute. We spent some time watching folks deciding whether to make a quick wet crossing or a long and complicated attempt at keeping their boots on and dry.
The sun was warm but in the shadows you could feel a hint of autumn. I would have been happy to just hang around enjoying the views all day but The Tot had other plans. First we headed east along the river on the Wilderness Trail for a mile or more with some stops along the shore.
In the afternoon she decided we needed to go on another adventure so we waded across the river and then poked around until we found our way to the Franconia Falls Trail. I kept expecting her to get tired and turn us around, but we went all the way up.
There was just enough water to fill the slide folks like to shoot out of, but not much water in the basin below. Our neighbors from the campsite were doing some swimming, but we just enjoyed the views.
I enjoy how relaxing these family trips can be compared to the sort of trouble I usually line up for my solo adventures. There was a lot of time to appreciate how pretty things were, how great it was to be there with the family and just to be alive in general.
No snappy tunes or explosions, but here are two minutes of Fall in the Whites
Compared to our Baxter trips this was definitely not an adventure down less traveled paths, but we had mostly neighborly neighbors and no one seemed to lure in any bears. Clustered camp sites like this will never appeal to me like being alone in the back country, but this place provides a relatively safe and easy to reach entry into the outdoors, especially for those with kids. Lots of day hikes available and water to splash in when you’re done so this place is very popular during the Summer, but less crowded for shoulder seasons especially during the week.