A Week in the White Mountains – ESI and Ziplining

Right after returning from Budapest last fall, Betty and I were faced with selecting a couple of RCI destinations for our 2013 travel. Possibly still jet-lagged, we decided to stay stateside and swapped our points for a May week in Taos, NM and an October week at the Eastern Slope Inn in North Conway, NH.

As the dates approached, I was a bit apprehensive. After being in Portugal, Spain and Budapest, would Taos and especially North Conway be a bit, I don’t know, pedestrian maybe? Well New Mexico turned out to be great week, but like many MA residents (affectionately known in NH as "Massholes"), we had already spent a good portion of our lives traipsing around the Granite State, renting cottages, hiking in the mountains, skiing, camping, etc. Would an entire week in the White Mountains, especially North Conway, be just the same old thing?

No, it was really great to go back and revisit all that old stuff and we found lots of new stuff to keep us busy.

We had reserved a studio at the ESI and, from reading the online brochure, we thought we would be getting another Murphy bed setup. But, Betty called the week and we were told that there would be an automatic upgrade due to our RCI status.

We wound up with a large two room suite with a hot tub.

And a nice sitting room with a full kitchen and a washer & dryer.

ESI is centrally located next to the Scenic Railway station in downtown North Conway. We were steps from about forty nice restaurants.

I believe that this is where I got stranded one drunken night in the early 70s after my friends went back to the lodge without me. Only when Betty inquired as to my whereabouts did they realize I had gone missing. I finally bribed a couple of locals with promises of beer to drive me back to Jackson. As I remember, we then couldn’t get rid of them until about 3am. The things you remember.

A Mt. Cranmore ski train car. We saw several of them decorating lawns and businesses all over town. These iconic relics were replaced with a modern ski lift many years ago.

For Monday, we had arranged to go zip-lining at Alpine Adventures in Lincoln. We wondered how strenuous it would be with climbing swinging from cables and all, but it turned out that we pretty much just had to show up.

We were double harnessed into safety straps and basically handled like a sack of mail. No climbing, just "Stand here", "Do like this" and "Let go".

As you can see, anytime we walked across bridges or rode down cables from platform to platform, or even when just standing on a platform waiting, we were securely connected to safety lines at all times.

Here’s Betty taking flight.

Here she is coming in for a landing.

There were six total cables to cross and they were all fun. The best was saved for last, though. They set us up to leave the final platform facing backwards, it was described as sort of a "trust fall". When the guide released his hold, you were dropped off into space for a few milliseconds of freefall before the slack came out of the cable.

Doesn’t sound like much of a drop, but it almost always coaxes a scream out of the dropee. It was well worth the price and we’re glad we signed up.

After, we went for a late lunch in North Woodstock and then headed farther west along Rt 112 towards Swiftwater to find our old camping area and the Big Eddy.

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