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YEAR #3 - STOP #25

For the first time in two months we are heading down the road to a real campground, where we can spend some time getting back in touch with nature. While it was great spending time visiting with family and friends, it will also feel good to once again start traveling and experiencing new destinations.

Campsite G01 at Russell Pond Campground

You may be wondering about those two poles on the back of THE POD? The one on the left is our cell booster antenna and the one on the right is our new weather station that measures wind speed, temperature and humidity.

Last summer we were also in this same area of New Hampshire, but only spent one week in the National Forest, instead we headed further north up to Maine and Acadia National Park. This year we are spending two weeks in the forests of New Hampshire before heading next door to Vermont for a six week visit.

WEDNESDAY - With nice sunny weather we decided to go for a long scenic drive through the forest and scout out what the free dispersed camping areas look like on the north end of the White Mountains National Forest.

The first location is on Gale River Loop Road which was probably used as a logging road back when that sort of activity was going on around here. Now the USFS has created 11 free campsites and several hiking trailheads along the roadway. Only a couple were large enough to accommodate THE POD while most were better suited for Class B Motorhomes (i.e. conversion vans), truck campers or tent camping.

In one site was a restored 1970's era Volkswagon Campervan. A middle aged couple were outside enjoying the sun and we just had to stop on the roadway and chat (at a safe distance of course) about their beautiful camper. Turns out they are a semi-retired couple who work seven months a year at Disneyworld in Orlando and travel the rest of the year around the United States in their camper. This was their first time trying the free camping in the White Mountains National Forest and it was only their second day here.

The second location is just a couple miles away on Haystack Road. Once again there were 11 campsites but these were larger and at least half of them would accommodate THE POD.

The third location is Old Cherry Mountain Road. The entrance road to the 9 campsites here is a little rough and steep which would make it difficult and unwise for us to try and bring THE POD for a visit. However ROVER was up to the task so we went and had a look. Not surprisingly all these sites were small and unusable by us, but would make for a wonderful tent camping experience.

The fourth location is Jefferson Notch Road. Upon our arrival here we found a locked gate blocking the roadway and prevented us from getting a look.

With all of our intended locations scouted it was time to head home. One thing all these sites had in common was they were all well spaced apart, sometimes by a half mile or so, and they were all right on the edge of the road, where dust and traffic noise could be a problem. With all that said you can't beat the price, it's FREE!

Tricia's camera is still not working and we haven't been able to find a place open to get it repaired without mailing it away, which would create the bigger problem of where to get it mailed back to us. Instead I created links to all of today's sites where you can see other people's photos and comments from our favorite campground review site, Campendium.

THURSDAY - With heavy fog, rain and cloudy weather forecast for today we still wanted to get out and explore. First we went to scout out our next reserved campsite at Campton Campground, just 15 miles south of our current location. It's not quite as nice as what we have here at Russell Pond Campground.

Just to show how foggy it was this morning, first is a photo of nearby Beaver Pond, followed by a photo of Russell Pond later the same afternoon.

Beaver Pond around 10:00AM

Russell Pond around 4:00PM

FRIDAY - WOW! What a difference a day makes! Here is another photo of Russell Pond taken this morning from nearly the same position as yesterday's photo. With weather like this we just had to climb back into ROVER and go explore some more.

Russell Pond around 10:00AM Friday morning

Today we plan on scouting six more National Forest Service campgrounds along one of America's Scenic Byways known as the Kancamagus Highway. While the highway is only 34.5 miles long it offers many spectacular hiking opportunities, scenic overlooks and of course the campgrounds. From the highest point of the highway at Kancamagus Pass (2855 feet) the eastern half of the highway roughly follows the course of the Swift River down into the town of Conway where it meets up with the Sacco River.


This rather unique entrance to the Covered Bridge Campground was originally built in 1858.
A lot of detail and craftmanship when into the original construction and 1970 renovation of this covered bridge.
A pedestrian suspension bridge over the Swift River.
The grandeur of the White Mountains National Forest.
Today's tranqil picnic location on the south bank of the Swift River

NOTE: With Tricia's camera still broken
all photos in this post were taken by using just our two cell phones.

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