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Trip Report Cross Country Skiing in New Hampshire

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Hi everyone,

My trip report is about a short trip to Jackson, NH that I just returned from. I thought it would be a good idea to write the report while everything is still fresh in my mind.

I left my home near Boston on Sunday December 23rd and got onto I-95. I continued on until my GPS directed me to turn onto I-93 for 120 miles. The drive was quite boring and I had begun to worry about the lack of snow on the ground as I passed through the Lakes Region. It was about 1pm and I was beginning to get hungry so I decided to find something to eat. My first attempt in Penacook was futile for I had only managed to find a pizza place and a McDonalds, both of which I was not particularly fond of. I got back onto the interstate and continued to the town of Tilton and found a place called Pauli's Bakery and Cafe. It was small and my egg and cheese sandwich on wheat bread was better than I expected. I left the small town and continued north to the promised land of Jackson, NH. I had decided that I would take the more scenic route through the White Mountains instead of a shorter route through boring countryside. My choice was proven to be correct and I passed my first view of significant amounts of snow as I passed Cannon Ski Area. One exit later I turned onto US-3 or Daniel Webster Memorial Hwy and continued onwards. The mountains that I saw were more like hills and I was perplexed by how little snow there was on the grass along the road. I continued on Route 302 past Bretton Woods and caught some magnificent views of Mount Washington from a pullover. I was ready to find my final destination and charged down 302 until hit route 16 in Glen, NH. I turned left and after 10 minutes saw the covered bridge the read "Jackson, NH". I had finally reached the promised land. The snow blanketing the town was about 8 inches deep and my fears had gone away. I checked into my hotel, The Eagle Mountain House, and found my first surprise when the woman at the check in desk told me that the elevator was manually operated. I thought it was all cool until I ran into the simple problem of having to keep two metal doors open while trying to pull a suitcase and a duffel bag into an elevator. I maneuvered myself into the elevator and pushed the doors closed behind me. I pressed the button for floor #2 and the elevator slowly climbed up the shaft. My eyes drifted onto a plaque on the wall that read in large letters that it had been certified and inspected earlier this year. I found it quite funny knowing that many people took comfort from that plaque. I inserted the key into the lock and opened the door. I walked into a room with two double beds, an armchair, a tv, and a clean bathroom. It was perfect for me and I thought that the beds were some of the most comfortable that I had slept on. I quickly unpacked and went outside to look around, there was not much around and I jumped into the car and headed down to North Conway. The shops were mostly full of useless little things but there were some large stores. I spent about an hour there and headed back north to find something to eat. I drove past the Red Parka restaurant as I headed into the Jackson the first time and I decided to head back to see how it was. I sat down for dinner and ordered the bbq buffalo wings and they were crunchy and flavorful. For an entree I ordered the 8oz new york sirloin and it was cooked pretty well. I left the restaurant happily and knowing that I would survive until the next meal. I awoke the next morning well rested and headed out to find somewhere to eat breakfast. I found a small bakery called the Backcountry Bakery and Cafe and ordered the Walnut Banana Muffin and a medium hot chocolate with whipped cream. As I waited for my hot chocolate I looked at the photographs and books that lined the walls and ended up buying one with a title along the lines of "Murder in the High Himalayas". My muffin was still warm and the foam on the hot chocolate was to die for. I also learned that the owner had biked from Washington to the East Coast and from Portugal to Ukraine before he moved to Jackson. I returned to the hotel and donned my snow pants and put my cross country skiing equipment into my car. The Jackson XC was 2 minutes away and they assured me that the snow conditions were great and that they had tons of snow. Their website boasted that middle and upper elevations had anywhere from 12-20 inches on the ground. I found the 20 inches to be a little bit of a stretch for Mount Washington had only 14 inches on the summit. I made my way out of the center and ran into my first challenge. I had not skied for two years since the amount of snow MA got last year was less than zero. The hill in front of me was extremely steep and completely covered in blue ice. I did not wish to kill myself on the first downhill and took of my skies and walked down to where the trail started. The next few minutes were an disastrous attempt to regain my ski legs while trying to not slip on the ice. After I took off my skies again and crossed a covered bridge, went underneath the highway through a tunnel, and crossed a road I was on the Ellis River trail. The snow here was soft and I was the only one in the area. I covered a lot of ground before my toe started to hurt and I decided to complete a shorter loop and I only did 10km that day. I returned to the lodge and packed up to back to the hotel. For lunch I had to eat the granola bars and apples that I had brought from home because the restaurants were already closing because of Christmas Eve. I was curious if other places were open for skiing on the 25th so I decided to call around. Finally I called the Bear Notch XC and they told me that I could use the trails free of charge the next day because they were closed. They also told me that they had great snow conditions and I was quite suspicious. I had a reservation at the hotel dining room for the Christmas buffet at 6:30 and had to come down a little earlier because my granola bars were wearing off. I was seated and went up to the buffet to see what there was to eat. I knew that I had to pace myself and took a cup of italian wedding soup with a bread roll back to the table. I finished it quickly and went back up and put some chicken with a delicious sauce and mushrooms and some tortellini with red peppers on my plate. It quickly disappeared into my mouth and I went up to try the meat that they were serving. I took a piece and found that it was very good. I finished up my entree course and forced myself to wait before eating the dessert. For dessert I had chocolate cake and chocolate covered strawberries. I paid the bill and got myself into my room before passing out on the bed and waking up 11 hours later still full from the night before. The forecast for Christmas Day was a 30% chance of flurries with no accumulation expected. As always, the weathermen pulled off a cruel joke on the entire population of the town when people woke up on Christmas morning and found that instead of opening presents with their kids they would be shoveling 4-5 inches of snow that had fallen in 4 hours. I went down for breakfast and ordered the short stack of blueberry pancakes that I found average but edible. I returned to my room and put on my snow pants yet again and went to wipe off my car. I knew that I would need the snow brush that I put in the back just in case. The Bear Notch trails were 15 minutes away and the unplowed roads were a nightmare to drive on. I arrived at the center and I was alone on the trails. The tracks were erased and I found myself making tracks for others to use. The trail was quite interesting at first when I had to cross a semi frozen river across old pallets. Form there I found the trail and went to the scenic vista by the half frozen river. The views were great and I was all alone. I spent 2 hours skiing before heading back to my car.

I will post the rest of my adventure soon,

I hope that you enjoyed it.

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