Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Kancamagus Scenic Byway- June 7

Before I start,I want to mention that on this blog I will post a picture of mountain lupine which we saw on the train trip we took yesterday. Yesterday we drove the Kancamangus highway first. It goes through the heart of the White Mountains and is filled with many natural attractions. Yet when we stopped at the lower falls and gorge,John and I looked at each other and I said:"this is not so great,we have seen this before". You might say we were sated with such scenic attractions. Something caught my eye,however. One of the signs explaining the gorge had the words "basalt dike" and my curiosity was fired up. I started paying attention to other signs and listening to John's explanations as to how gorges and rivers are formed. Please bear with me on this,maybe you will find this as interesting as I did. Millions of years ago rock formations happened from lava or magma flow. A couple of these rocks are granite and basalt and they formed mountain ranges. Move up to about one hundred thousand years ago and we are talking the glacier meltdown which reformed the mountains. Faults(cracks in the rocks)happened and rivers changed their courses. Cracks will always happen in the less porous rock as basalt- I have posted a picture here of a basalt dike which we saw on the floor of the gorge. The dike is the darker streak of rock in the picture,the rest is granite. Mass wearing,or erosion, is always going on what with such natural elements as snow,ice,tree roots,ect. So our natural world is always changing and reshaping itself. Which brings me to the rest of our day when we toured the Franconia Notch State Park. Franconian Notch was the home of the famous Old Man,known as the "Great Stone Face". He hovered majestically over Profile Lake. The Old Man was made of five separate granite ledges arranged horizontally to form a man's profile. The elements wore on him and on May 3,2003 he collapsed during the night hours. Gone was a structure whose beginnings started about 200 million years ago. Most of this day was a wash for us. It was rainy and overcast. When we reached great mountain heights we could hardly see in front of us because of the fog, consequently we could not see any panoramic mountain vistas. We returned to Enfield.

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