Around this time last year my friend, Jess, and I decided we needed a social media detox in the mountains. Personally, I didn’t feel too overwhelmed by the presence of Instagram and Facebook in my life (although the hell that is Twitter needed to go), but a week in the mountains sounded exactly like my cup of tea.
We started in a log cabin in Maine with Jess’s family. Social media wasn’t an option due to the lack of wifi, so we spent a lot of the time doing jigsaw puzzles, sunbathing on the lake, paddleboarding, roasting marshmallows on a fire and above all else, playing Mafia. Sooo many games of Mafia. We also visited Acadia National Park one afternoon. Blog post coming soon! (Hopefully, I know I’m a bit rubbish with this stuff).
After Maine, I convinced Jess to let me visit the White Mountains, a place in New Hampshire that looked as if it came straight out of a Wes Anderson film. I love little American towns like this one with the mountainous backdrop, independent cafes and shady motels. It reminded me a little bit of when we visited Yellowstone, except this time we were here with a purpose. A social media detox kind of a purpose.
We started the day with breakfast at the White Mountain Bagel Co. The bagels were amazing and I’d recommend visiting wholeheartedly if you get the chance. I got a PB&J one on cinnamon raisin then bought another, hummus, tomato and spinach on an everything bagel to eat at the top of the mountain, later.
Speaking of, you can’t go to the White Mountains without seeing a mountain. We needed to hike. There ain’t nothing better for the brain than the endorphins released by exercise and trees. Hiking is perfect for this. I had chosen an 8.6 mile hike called the Franconia Ridge Loop Trail via Falling Waters. It’s one of the most difficult but rewarding hikes in the White Mountains and I was excited to begin. Jess, not so much.
See, here’s the thing. I’m one of those people who is rarely affected by the weather. I’ll complain a little if it gets too cold and I’m not wearing the right clothes, but rain or shine, freezing or melting, I go about my business as usual. One of the freakiest things about me is that no matter how hot it is or how much I’m working out, I don’t sweat. I know this is probably some sort of medical anomaly that I should be concerned about but so far it’s only benefitted me. This was one of those times. I packed a single 1 litre bottle of water and I knew that this would be fine for me in 36 degree celsius heat. Jess packed four and a few hours in, she was down to her final water and I had barely started on mine.
Jess decided to turn back as we reached the final waterfall on the Falling Waters trail. In her defence, this trail was difficult, especially the first ascent. I could understand how hard she found it when, unlike me, the weather did affect her.
I should mention at this point that I had left my phone in the hotel. Why? Well, I took the whole no social media thing very seriously. Okay, I’ll admit, I’m not so committed to the cause, I just left it behind because I forgot it. I only realised when Jess confessed she’d be turning around. She agreed to wait for me in the parking lot in four hours and we both just had to hope that I wouldn’t decide to turn around too.
I didn’t complete the entire Franconia Ridge Loop. I made it to the top of the first mountain, Little Haystack, and turned around. It was a whole lot less fun doing it alone and once the trees cleared, the heat began to affect even me. Funnily enough, though, the entire thing took me approximately six hours – the same amount of time the full trail should have taken – and we both conquered the most difficult part of the trail by ascending via the Falling Waters. A big accomplishment for both of us. To do it without a phone was an added bonus.
The next day, we decided to see another mountain, only this time, we’d cheat and take a cable car. This ended up being a good decision, because the weather was not on our side. 36 degree heat and sunshine had turned into a thunderstorm. The ride up the aerial tramway was a slightly rocky one, but safe. A guide dog next to us on the journey thought otherwise and was whimpering the whole time, poor thing.
When we reached the top of Cannon Mountain, we stayed inside for shelter from the rain. Once it cleared (barely), we ventured out to do a short loop around the top of the mountain. I’m sure the views would have been lovely on a clear day. Some of the signs pointed out that we could see Canada, but all we could see was a thick layer of white clouds.
Overall, it was a fun weekend and I enjoyed the two days we spent in the White Mountains. I’d love to visit again some other time and maybe do the full Franconia Ridge Loop. I’ll bring my phone along, too, so that I can document the journey on my instagram story. Doubt I’ll need another social media detox for a while.