How do you beat the summer New England heat? Head to a mountain gorge of course! Last weekend we went to Lost River Gorge and Boulder Caves in North Woodstock, NH. This interesting property is owned by SPNHF, but the “attraction” is leased out for management by White Mountain Attractions. There is a fee to go through the gorge and hike – not cheap, but worth it. We also blogged about this hike 3 years ago – you can read about it here.
We followed the boardwalk down to the bottom of the gorge wondering if Alden would remember this trip from three years ago. It seemed all new to him and very exciting as we entered our first cave.
It had rained a couple of days earlier and several of the caves were closed due to high water and debris that had washed down from the rainstorms. We still had a great time army crawling our way through the caves. The caves seem to get harder and tighter to squeeze through as you make your way through gorge. We brought a small backpack, but you still have to take it off to go through many of the caves. All of the caves have by-pass walkways so you can skip any or even all of them. But the funnest part is trying to make your way through. Even the adults find themselves in joyous glee at conquering an especially difficult cave.
If you can time it right (we showed up mid afternoon) and the crowds are small, this is a great hot weather activity – because the air is much cooler in the gorge!
After we made our way through the gorge, we followed the new boardwalk path to a pavilion and lookout. We even explored a life size eagle nest!
Back in the gift shop we bought Alden a bag of sand and rocks so he could be a miner and use the sluice table. This activity lasted an hour as the sand washed away to reveal many fabulous rocks to add to his ever-growing rock collection.
Last year, a forest fire came very close to the gorge and even closed down the attraction for a while until the fire was contained. From the visitor’s building and parking lot you can see the black and charred remains of the trees up on the ridge. We overheard workers discussing the increase in woody debris coming down off the ridge during the rains. We agreed with them when one questioned whether the dead and debris from the fire was the cause of this. He was probably right. Mudslides are common after forest fires for just this reason.
Another fun day at Lost River Gorge in the books! We will be back next year when the temperatures rise to 90 in the White Mountains of NH.