My first trip to the area was probably around 1978 or so. A friend from scouts was an avid hiker and back packer and familiar with the area. I grew up going to Rangeley Maine, which is in the north eastern tip of the White Mountain region, along the Appalachian trail where we still maintain a home. It was on a trip along the AT that my scouting friend would talk to me about trips in the Mount Washington area. We spent a portion of the summer of 78 based out of the lake house in Rangeley, taking long tips north and south along the AT. When we ran out of food – we would make a trail head and hitch hike back to my moms cooking. One of those trips went from Rangeley down through the Mahoosics. That was my first hiking in the northern presidentials.
Meanwhile, far far a way and unknown to me, Sally had developed a love of nature and mountains by way of regular vacations and hikes with her father in the Adirondacks at indian lake. A biologist and nature lover combined with a love of hiking and things outdoors had me knowing she was a great find when we met in 84. But back to the area – I moved to the valley in 1980 to work at a climbing shop in North Conway. I had discovered rock climbing which proceeded to eclipse my world. Hiking dropped to zero unless you counted approaches to climbs as hikes. The MWV (Mount Washington Valley) was THE prime climbing community on the east coast. It was a dream in that just weeks out of high school I found myself working in the premier shop, for an icon in the community and being introduced to big name climbers from around the world. That life ran it’s course. I knew that money was a limited commodity with that life style. That led me to jumping careers a few times – Home builder, land surveyor, then Data Processing Operator – yup. That’s where I met my bride – and things changed. It’s a love hate with the region. The populations swells enormously on the weekends – crazy and choked are the roads shops and facilities of the ‘valley’. When we lived here in 84 there were off seasons in the spring and fall (excluding leaf peeping weekends) but now, it seems like there is no down time for the area. And while it is maddening at times, we also recognize that we contribute to that as well.
Mittenstock overlooks the Sandwich range with Mount Chocorua a prominent feature. Most of our excursions are off the Kancamagus by virtue of both proximity and beauty. We are a mere four miles from the Ranger Station at the entrance to this scenic wonder highway. Hiking in the white mountains remains the premier activity for us while at Mittenstock.