A Misguided Tour of Champney Falls Trail

Yesterday was a great day.

The sun was shining with the bright and hazy heat of late summer, the sky wore infinite shades of blue, and I performed a public service.

I introduced a friend to hiking.

This is D

This is D.

D is a newly baptised hiker and fellow Milspouse. Her sweetie is where my sweetie is.

We hiked Mount Chocorua. This is pronounced “Cho-koo’-ra”, unless you are my husband, in which case it is purposely mispronounced “Choke-a-roo-ah” in order to elicit an eye roll from me.

Because this was D’s first hike, I picked a mountain that I had climbed before in the hopes that it would maximize our chances of staying on the right trail and minor things like that.

While we’re on the subject, here’s a piece of hiking advice: When you see an arrow that points to the right, like this…

Turn right

…you should not immediately cross the stream directly in front of you and hike 30 feet into the woods.

At least I only went 30 feet before I realized something was wrong.

Anyway, Champney Falls Trail starts our fairly wide and flat, but trail maintenance should really consider putting the signs a little lower. And making them bigger. And maybe yellow. With blinking lights.

Hey, MilSpouses with deployed soldiers have a lot to talk about, okay? We can’t be distracted by trivial things like trail markers.

After a slight but steady climb of about a mile and a half, we came to this juncture:

Champney Falls sign

Now that’s what I call a sign.

We took a left and headed another 0.3 miles to the falls.

Champney Falls

The falls were beautiful – peaceful with the sound of rushing water and refreshingly cool.

Which was probably why I got distracted, crossed the stream again and headed off in the wrong direction. Again.

But I realized it right away! That’s got to count for something, right?


After the falls, if you go the right way, there is a steep rock staircase and the climb gets tough for another mile or so. It levels out for a bit before the trail comes out of the woods.

Rock summit

Those little dots covering the second peak are people. In this picture, it looks lower than the nearer peak, but it’s really not. In fact, the last 0.2 miles are a bit hairy, and not particularly well-marked. The yellow blazes had kind of faded out by then.

It’s true!

Excuse me, but the point of the story is that we eventually, after a couple of freaky rock scrambles, made it to the top.

D and I at the summit

The mountain in the background with all the clouds hovering over it is Mount Washington.

I think.

D and I took a nice long break for lunch and had a very pleasant chat before making our way back down. D, who is a runner, was a super trooper. We made ridiculous time on this trail. The trail description advised that you allow six hours for the roundtrip hike. We made it in five and a half, including our lunch break.

She was also excellent company. We talked about shoes and ships and deployment. I had forgotten how nice it is to have someone to talk to that is going through the same things you are.

And the best part is, I didn’t even scare her away from hiking by almost getting us lost three times! She’s hooked now, too.

I’m looking forward to trying another hike soon. Only this time maybe I’ll bring a compass. And a GPS. And…

Oh hell, I’ll just bring Denis and we’ll follow him.

9 responses to “A Misguided Tour of Champney Falls Trail

  1. Looks like a great place to hike and explore–with the waterfall being the added bonus.

  2. I’m scared to hike. OccDoc and I got lost really bad one time in Maryland. Like we thought we were going to have to set up camp. Now I never leave home on a hike without a full pack of emergency supplies. And a GPS. And a compass.

  3. Gorgeous pictures! Although, I’m so allergic to nature that these photos are making me sneeze!

  4. I use to hike, believe it or not….but the guy I use to hike with said to stop looking at the ground when I walked. I had to….first snake, and I am history. Which is why I don’t hike anymore. All those rocks, look like wonderful snake condos. I would become superman (woman) and leap off of buildings, in this case mountain in one UGLY bound.

    Pics are lovely…I think if I start up again, it will only be in the fall.

  5. Deborah Russell

    I say we invite Denis and just follow LOL! Two days later my legs still aching but well worth it. Great Blog Sarah

  6. Beautiful scenery! We’ve had some gorgeous weather this past week in New England, we’ve been very lucky – fabulous for your hiking especially. Looks like yourself & D had a wonderful day out.

  7. Yay for hiking buddies! I wanna go!!! I’m glad you two had a great time. It looks gorgeous!

  8. Sounds like an amazing hike! Someday you’ll have to be my guide and show me the way. I trust you, distracted an all. :)

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