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The White Mountains of New Hampshire

by Arthur Wooten
White Mountains New Hampshire National Forest

Whether it’s an exhilarating winter day of downhill skiing, a gorgeous spring morning of birdwatching, a warm summer day of hiking, or a stunning afternoon of fall leaf peeping, the White Mountains of New Hampshire has it all.

Arthur Wooten

I mentioned to Christopher that I was surprised at how gay friendly the White Mountain area is. “Yes, it is and I am President of the local Pride group, White Mountains Pride, and continue to work to promote the area as an inclusive place to live, work, and play not only for LGBTQIA+ people, but all people.”

Winter, spring, summer or fall, the White Mountains of New Hampshire has something for everyone. Nearly 800,000 acres make up the White Mountain National Forest in the Northeast part of the state. The boundaries are roughly from the town of Berlin to the North, Franconia to the West, Conway to the East and the southern edge is Rumney. All year round the area offers a multitude of outdoor activities as well as attractions and entertainment, plus the opportunity to admire the gorgeous vistas.

When I was a youngster, my mom’s parents, Granny and Papa, would frequently pack us kids into the car during the summer months and travel up to the White Mountains. I think Papa really loved the Whites (which they are nicknamed) because it reminded him of his home country of Scotland. He was a professional soccer player and immigrated to America in 1920. Sixty million years ago Scotland was joined to America and Greenland, and it separated when the North Atlantic began to form. Hence, the White Mountain region looks amazingly similar to parts of Scotland. Papa must have felt right at home.

My most recent trip to the Whites afforded me the opportunity to revisit childhood memories, as well as make new ones. I stopped by Polar Caves located in Rumney, which we always went to first on our trips. There are nine granite caves that were formed during the last ice age, plus they have an animal park. As a kid I loved this place and I remember my favorite cave to push through was called The Lemon Squeeze, when I was a fraction of the size I am today. Well, having returned to Polar Caves as an adult, I have now renamed the Lemon Squeeze, the MRI. Still, it’s a great attraction and perfect for kids up to the age of maybe 10.

Traveling north you quickly reach the White Mountains. Folklore says that in 1524 a seafaring explorer on the Atlantic glancing towards the New Hampshire mountain range off in the far distance named them the White Mountains due to their snowcapped peaks.

Polar Caves Park - White Mountains New Hampshire

Main Sign at Polar Caves Park
Photo: Polar Caves Park

The White Mountains make up the Presidential range, which include Mount Madison, Jefferson, Adams, Clay, Monroe, Eisenhower, and the highest peak Mount Washington. The Whites are also part of the Appalachian Trail, offering 89.5 miles of phenomenal and diverse hiking and camping opportunities. Suggested months to hike the trails are May through October.

There are easier ways to explore the range, in particular, Mount Washington. In 1861 the Mount Washington Auto Road opened up to the public. The route travels 4,618 feet from the base and reaches the highest point in the Northeast at 6,288 feet above sea level. You’re welcome to drive the route yourself or join a guided tour.

Related:  Video| Cool Gay And Quirky In The Berkshires

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