NOTE: This should be dated July 26, 2006.
I visit New Hampshire every summer. I live in California, but it's nice for me to remember where I grew up (and why I moved). Anyway, during this trip back east, I went on a day excursion to the White Mountains with my friend Amy. We drove from Manchester for about 2 or 3 hours north, to the White Mountain National Park. This is basically a gigantic forest. It stretches from Eastern Canada all the way to the Southern USA. The northern New Hampshire part of it is extremely unpopulated. You might find a quaint town or two, but mostly, it's trees. Lots of trees. The mountains are furred with pine trees and look like hills or clouds from a distance, because they're round and hump-like, but up close, you can see they're taller than hills. The tallest White Mountains are known as the Presidential Range (named after U.S. Presidents), and they tend to have tundra or bare granite peaks due to the awful weather at the top. In midsummer, the tops of these mountains experience freezing rain and the highest windspeeds on Earth. In winter, it gets worse.
We didn't visit any granite peaks on this trip. Instead, we visited Lost River Gorge.
This is one of several parks in upstate New Hampshire where you can explore granite caves (the most well-known one is the Polar Caves). At Lost River, you follow the trail, which consists of walkways between, over, and under giant boulders in the woods. Every so often, you'll see a crack between boulders with a sign inviting you to enter the cave. If you can contort your body through the crack, you're fine. Some of these caves involve spaces that a child has trouble crawling through. Seriously, you need to be flexible and NOT claustrophobic.
Here's a man emerging from a cave:
Here's a view of the White Mountains. Appalachia at its finest!
So, what does one find in a Lost River cave? Somtimes chilly little underground ponds. Sometimes old-style lanterns. Sometimes ladders made out of sticks that you have to climb in order to get out. Sometimes children (or adults) looking for an easier way out. Not much else!
At least it's a fun hike, and there are plenty of nice views.