Friday, August 22, 2014

Travelogue – losing a river

How does a river get lost? Since I went to Lost River Gorge, the question is appropriate. In this case send the river down a gorge (steep walled narrow canyon, similar to yesterday's flume) and drop some huge boulders into the gorge. In contrast to yesterday, the water flows under the boulders instead of over. So, lost river. In addition, those crazily piled boulders make a series of “boulder caves” – little rooms and passages under the boulders. Some of them are accommodating, others – such as the “lemon squeezer” – are not. Those I passed by, especially when my knees told me they weren't so pleased about that hands-and-knees thing. My slacks aren't either. Of course, all the kids around me thought these little caves were pretty cool, especially since their parents couldn't follow them. That made me wonder about the signs that said children under 12 should be accompanied by their parents at all times. Who thought up these rules?

Here's a view to a cave opening, which is why I didn't venture into many of them.

This time I had my jacket with me. I also carried my umbrella through the gorge, though I didn't need to open it.

To get to the gorge I drove the Kancamagus Highway again. I was glad I had stopped at the scenic overlooks yesterday because the clouds were so low today they covered the pass.

After lunch (again, one I brought with me) I headed down the K-Hwy one more time. This time I stopped to hike to Franconia Falls. This time the trail was straight with a gentle grade – it had been the route of a lumber train. In many places the railroad ties still lay in the path.

Alas, this trail was much longer than I had thought and the falls weren't spectacular. A steady light rain had started when I got out of the car, so I had my umbrella with me – and I used it. The whole hike was over 3 hours.

Since this was in a national forest I had to get a day-pass for my car. That's when I hit an issue that seems to be more prevalent lately. The stand to buy the pass was self-serve – stick your money in an envelope, then tear off the window hanger and display that in your car. The issue – nobody around to offer change. Don't have the right number of singles? You could go back into town (about 10 miles) for change or you could slip a $5 in the envelope when the fee is only $3.

I'm not going to complain too loudly about the National Forest Service getting a couple extra bucks out of me. But I had a similar experience at the laundromat a couple days ago. The machines didn't take coins, they took an “easy card” – one put bills (not coins – and again I didn't have singles) into the machine and out popped a card. Each washer and dryer deducted from the card. Put too much on the card? Use it when you come again. Not coming again? Sorry, we don't make change. I gave the card to my B&B hosts.

I encountered a parking structure in the Detroit area that didn't give change. When I didn't have the exact coins I went into the adjacent movie theater and asked for the difference. They gave it to me though I had to wait for a manager. But that is an incentive to never park in that structure again.

I hope I don't see this trend expand.

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