Is Memorial Day the New Fourth of July in the Whites?

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peakbagger

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By the looks of the area and the tourists in town this weekend, it sure looked like a 4th of July weekend rather than Memorial Day. Lots of hotels reportedly booked solid, restaurants busy from opening to closing, the new ATV parking in Gorham was full to capacity, campgrounds look full and even the overflow spots on Jefferson Notch road had a few campers. Temps are what early July used to be. Very few snow fields visible. About the only difference is the black flies are still in area waiting for their traditional Fathers day exit. The other impact is water activities, the temps are too low except for the stupid, the brave, or much rarare the well equipped but water levels are rapidly dropping.
 
It's another symptom of climate change, just like the migration of ticks, mourning doves, and opossums up here in the northeast. With young moose being killed off by tick infestations and moose hunting "season" under threat of being shortened, maybe we need to institute a "real" tourist season. Just joshing of course. Old Hillwalker, formerly Hillwalker.
 
Was it a busy weekend? I was actually going to create a post on this. For a variety of personal and work related issues I haven't had a chance to get up there since DEC. Finally got my chance MON. We did Madison via the Osgood Trail. I come up via 93/3/115/2/16 so I go by all the main trailheads and it seemed dead as a door nail, especially for a holiday. It was 6:30-7:00AM as we drove by most lots - Lafayette (couldn't really see well through the trees but definitely some cars), the Skook (empty), Lowes store (maybe 3-4 hiker cars) and Appalachia which only had about 10-12 cars and one straggler out on Rte 2 but not really that far from lot). We only saw 5 people on Osgood Trail on the way up (all of which were heading back from the campsite - had trail to ourselves after that) and there were only 4 people when we got to summit, 2 of which left shortly after us. On the way out we passed a group who had been camping and were overtaken by a USFS ranger(??Uniformed forest service guy with tools). I asked him where everybody was and he was surprised by the lack of people too, although he said it was busier SUN. There were no traffic issues going home on Rte 93 either, which I usually hit on any SUN or holiday MON.

This is WAY SLOWER than what has been my experience in recent years on any weekend up there, let alone the holiday. There was a stretch where I was going by Appalachia at 4-4:30AM and there were already cars 1/4 mile down the road there. We were hoping to hit that new brewery on the way home but it was closed so we wound up on the deck at Mr Pizza. I asked the waitress how the weekend was and she said it was "steady". Maybe gas prices are finally hitting home (it was $4.99/gal at the rest areas on Rte 93 and $4.49/gal and most of the stations in Gorham)? Is the COVID surge in hiking finally burning off? Curious to hear feedback from the "regulars" on here about what things have been like in general this year. I'm totally out of the loop on things these days....
 
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We were in Acadia all weekend. I would say it was 'as expected.' Not crazy, but definitely not dead. We sat in traffic through the NH toll on 95 for 45 min yesterday around 6 pm. I'd rate that 'as expected.' That was the only traffic we hit. As an aside, my back-of-the-envelope calculations suggest NH takes in a pretty penny via the Blue Star turnpike. Quite the lucrative 16 miles of highway.

The strangest thing was the weather. Memorial Day in Acadia is HIGHLY unpredictable - we've had spitting snow some years. This year it was above 80 degrees Sunday and Monday.

My friends in the travel industry tell me their projections suggest the COVID travel peak has already passed and the craziness we've observed the past couple of years is predicted to subside.
 
It was busy for a Memorial Day on Sunday at the Edmands Path lot. Lots of folks up on Ike summit. Caps Ridge Trail lot was full with overflow along the road both directions. Only about a 1/4 of the bootleg camping spots that have formed north of Cap Ridge lot were full in the AM. Lowes was not busy, a few cars parked at the trailhead and a couple in the parking lot. Appalachia was full with some overflow.

Gorham's newly reorganized ATV lot was full on Saturday afternoon. Looked like the rental parking lot was busy but not full.

The forecast rain on Saturday probably knocked a few folks out of coming up. Many folks I know over the years skip Memorial Day up north due to the potentially variable weather and pretty predictable bugs.

The Blue star penalty is just NH way of getting back at Mass hogging all the ocean frontage ;) . Usually the backup in NH is the Maine tolls and the Maine turnpike
 
My friends in the travel industry tell me their projections suggest the COVID travel peak has already passed and the craziness we've observed the past couple of years is predicted to subside.

I would think the hundreds and hundreds of cancelations that are becoming common now with the lack of staffing in the airline industry will help put a damper on trips too. I know 4 people who have gone to Florida this year and none of them came home on the day they planned. One got "stuck" for 3 days (at a resort the hotel paid for)
 
Gorham's newly reorganized ATV lot was full on Saturday afternoon. Looked like the rental parking lot was busy but not full.

That was another thing that struck me was the lack of ATV traffic I have come to be used to, At 7AM and around 5PM when we left that huge lot (forget name) for ATV riders in the 30mph zone as you come into Gorham from the East on Rte 2 was empty. I only saw 4-5 ATV's parked in town too. And only one actually on the road....which of course was in front of me doing 25mph all the way through town when we were leaving.
 
The parking lot on RT 2 is west of downtown Gorham. That is closed to ATV unloading and parking. It is now parking for the non motorized section of the Presidential range rail trail and the mountain bike network. ATVs can still ride the rail trail to the lot and back to the strip on RT 2 if they want to but the traffic on this stretch is way down. The new ATV unloading and parking lot is north of the trestle on RT 16 heading to Berlin next to the ATV rental facility. It does tend to get most of the ATV traffic north of the intersection of RT 16 and RT 2. The ATV trails were only opened on Monday before the weekend so I expect some folks elected to stay home rather than chance it.
 
With gas prices hovering around $5 and diesel over $6, it's probably a $300 day to drive up and ride an ATV around Gorham now. That's not counting hotels, and food.
 
With gas prices hovering around $5 and diesel over $6, it's probably a $300 day to drive up and ride an ATV around Gorham now. That's not counting hotels, and food.

I often think of this issue regarding alpine skiing: With $100 per day lift tickets common and all the associated expenses of travel and food, a ski day burns a few bucks also. I guess that's why folks go for passes like the Ikon.
 

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