I had to be on a conference call for work at 11:00, so I rushed to get back to a good cell phone signal in North Conway. An hour later, freed from work obligations, I hit some of the many outdoor stores in North Conway, including an LL Bean outlet. There's also a cool outdoor consignment store (Int'l Mtn Equipment) in North Conway, with two floors of quality outdoor clothing and gear at reasonable prices. Picked up a Patagonia jacket for myself and a nice North Face down jacket for my wife (always good to bring home a present, right?). Stop by and check it out if you are in the area. I was talking with the owner and he said they stopped selling new outdoor clothes a year or so ago, because of people buying in the Internet. Says he's making more money now with the consignment model, and basically has no inventory costs.
After power shopping, I headed up the hill to Pinkham Notch, which sits at the base of Mount Washington.
The foliage is really looking nice at this higher altitude. The Appalachian Mtn Club has a facility here, with a small lodge, dining room, and coin op showers for people coming off the nearby trails (the Appalachian Trail crosses here). It's also a nice option for showers when boondocking in the van, and I'll take advantage of them tomorrow morning.
My plan was to do dispersed camping tonight on one of the dirt side roads in the White Mtn Natl Forest, but for some reason all my normal go-to roads are closed (gated) at the moment or now have prominent "no camping" signs.
So I'm stealth camping tonight in a parking lot, hoping to not get woken up at 3am by somebody with a flashlight. We'll see how it goes.
There are several NFS and state campgrounds in the area, but I'd rather not pay $25 for a basic site when I'm by myself. Free camping helps offset the extra fuel cost incurred by bringing the van, anyway. Dolly Copp CG, just down the road from Pinkham Notch, is purportedly one of the biggest NFS CGs in the entire country.
Despite "Moose Crossing" signs everywhere, I haven't seen one yet on this trip. Although I nearly hit a red fox on the road, and saw a turkey on the shoulder.
Tomorrow's activities include checking out a 15-mile rail trail by bike and maybe doing a short hike. Off to my stealthy van-bed now!