White Mtns (NH) with kids (old but good)

1:22 p.m. on August 15, 2010 (EDT)
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Well since we haven't had a fresh trip report for a few days and we recently had a little discussion about hiking with kids, I thought I'd dig up some old photos and reminisce.

In summer 2001 our girls we six and ten, veterans of quite a few day hikes and a few overnighters in a couple of the AMC huts. To keep the days within reach of our six year old we decided to do a hybrid hut/camping trip across the top of the Pemi. My wife used to work for the AMC education dept and arranged for us to be Hut Naturalists where we take people out for an after dinner nature walk and get in for half price.

We started out on the Zealand Notch road for the short walk into Zealand Falls hut.

Here's Nancy and Zoe heading up the trail.

We got to the hut and proceeded to check in only to discover that our reservation was for the previous night. My wife had made all the reservations and had somehow time-shifted them in her head by one day. Unlike Norwegian huts, the AMC huts work on reservation only and they had no place for us. Fortunately it was still early afternoon so we decided to double up the first two days and proceed to Guyot campsite. That took us over Zealand Mountain, a treed-in summit without much of a view.

We also went over Guyot mountain which I think is one of the more remote summits in the Whites and somehow situated so it is especially windswept, rounded off rather than sharp and with some alpine vegetation and a close-cropped carpet of black spruce krummholz over much of the top.


The kids were real troopers about the long day. We made it to the campsite a little before dark, took a tent platform, and pitched our tarp over it.

The weather was a bit unsettled the next day as we headed up over South Twin. Not too bad at the summit...

...but as we headed down the steep trail to Galhead Hut a thunderstorm rolled in. Molly and I ran ahead to the hut, where I dropped my pack and headed back up just as it started to rain. I carried a scared Zoe down on my shoulders in the downpour with thunder and lightning all around. After the storm we took a little hike up nearby Galehead mountain and looked back down at the hut.

The hut croo was very welcoming and the kids thought they were about the coolest people in the world.


It was Nancy's birthday so they whipped up a cake for her.

The girls got to participate in the silly morning skit that the croo uses to remind people to fold blankets.

Here's the hut entrance as we were leaving the next morning to go up over Garfield.

We had an early supper by the old fire tower foundation on Garfield before heading down to make camp at Garfield campsite.

The next day took us up Lafayette, the high point of our trip.

I had put up the signs on top and along the ridge about 13 years previous when I worked on a WMNF trail crew.

We stayed our last night out at Greenleaf Hut, just below treeline.

On our last day Molly and I went back up over Lafayette, along the Franconia Ridge to Little Haystack, then down the Falling Waters Trail, while Nancy and Zoe went straight down the Bridal Path.

At that time my father owned a bed and breakfast in Easton, just south of Franconia, so we called him up for a ride.

There you have it! Despite the initial SNAFU with the hut reservations, things went pretty smoothly. We probably could have got the kids to do full hut-to-hut days but we all enjoyed taking it easy and it was nice to camp out. Maybe we don't do enough of that these days...

9:13 p.m. on August 16, 2010 (EDT)
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Very nice!

I backpacked & camped with my kids too and I wouldn't trade those memories for anything.

Great scenery you guys had there, and looks like a lot of fun too.

8:35 p.m. on August 19, 2010 (EDT)
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Very nice, how have your kids adapted to living in Norway? Have you all learned the lauguage enough to speak it or is English good enough to get by on? I liked the pictures. Been a long time since I was was in high alpine country.

2:30 a.m. on August 20, 2010 (EDT)
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We moved when they were 7 and 11 -- both are completely fluent and speak the local Trønder dialect to the point where they sound like natives. OTOH, my wife and I still struggle with vocabulary and grammar, but get by well enough to hold a conversation. One problem is that there are a lot of strong dialects -- imagine yourself in room with people from Brooklyn, Chicago, Alabama, Vermont, Liverpool, Glasgow etc. and trying to keep up with the flow of conversation with English as your second, recently acquired language. That's what my faculty meetings are like, with some Swedish and Danish thrown in for good measure. Or for that matter, some of the fjellsportgruppe (mountain sport group) trips I have been on, where I am pretty much the odd man out because I can't always keep up -- not physically, but with the flow of conversation. You can definitely get by on English here, but if you want to fit in, especially for the haul, it's important to learn some Norwegian.

8:41 a.m. on August 20, 2010 (EDT)
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Excellent memories! I do not have children right now, but someday when i do, I plan on their cutting teeth on the trail :)

December 22, 2014
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