Sometime late 2006/early 2007 my wife gave in to my begging and decided that for vacation that year, I could pick the destination and it could be a fishing based location. That was all the motivation I needed and I headed to the Somerset Fly Fishing Show to gather information and decide on a place to go. I came home from the show with a boatload of pamphlets on potential vacation spots, ranging from the outlandish (Jackson Hole, Yellowstone) to more regional choices. After doing more searching on the internet (my wife isn't a real camper and prefers a shower and permanent roof over her head) we settled on renting a cabin for a week from Lopstick Lodge in Pittsburg, New Hampshire.
The cabin was really nice, it had a front porch with a gas grill and chairs to sit out and look at First Connecticut Lake. Inside were two rooms, the front room was a combination living room, dining room and kitchen. It had a dining table and two chairs, a sofa, television and the kitchen had a fridge, sink, and stove with an oven. The bedroom was the other room and had a bathroom located off of that. There was a housekeeping service that came in daily if so desired and made sure the cabin was clean and that we had fresh linens and such.
We left Delaware early in the morning and got to our cabin sometime around dinner time (it's about a 10 hour drive from Wilmington to Pittsburg). We checked into our cabin and got our stuff set up. Then we ventured into town to see what it was about and get any groceries we decided to buy up there instead of bringing them with us. The town was quaint, and while just about as far north as you can go in New Hampshire without leaving the US, had whatever you would need to survive the week up there.
Our first full day, we had made arrangements with Lopstick (they offer a fly shop and guide service) to have a guide take us out and give us the lay of the land. We were hooked up with Bill, who was a fantastic guide. He gave us a lowdown on the rigging method, which I really did well with and used to catch many trout and still will use when the conditions dictate. We were using indicators with two nymphs underneath, the trailing nymph tied to the bend of the first nymph with some split shot between the flies to get them down quickly. Getting the flies down quickly was important since we were fishing lots of quick, pocket water. We weren't making long drifts, but the drifts we were making needed to count. I'd love to get back out there and fish the Upper Connecticut River using the Euro Methods I am now learning. We had a really successful morning of fishing, and caught a bunch of fish. I even hooked into a monster of a brook trout.
My wife did really well fishing during this week, and by the end of our vacation she was doing everything for herself: casting, drifting, setting the hook, battling fish, and releasing them back to be caught another day. I was so proud of her.
At night after a dinner out or grilling back at the cabin, we would head out onto Route 3 to look for moose. It wouldn't take long before we would find some each night.
During the few days that we didn't fish in the morning, we hit a few hiking trails. We hiked to Garfield Falls, which were breathtaking and a relatively easy hike.
Another hike we did was to Magalloway Fire Tower. I did this hike two times. My wife and I tried it with the dog, but my wife couldn't make it, since the one trail is very steep and seems to go straight up the side of the mountain. We didn't realize it at the time but found out when we got home, my wife was pregnant with our daughter during this vacation and that had a major impact on how tired she got during strenuous activity. We found out there was another trail that led to the fire tower and was more of a winding, switchback type trail. We decided to try that another day so my wife could take in the view from on top of the mountain. Coming back down the trail, we heard a large animal crashing through the forest to our left. I was nervous because in looking for the trail head for this hike, I had noticed a large amount of moose tracks and trails; I didn't want to come face to face with a mother moose and her calf. I immediately froze in my tracks and told my wife to do the same. I also scooped up my dog so he wouldn't make a ruckus and I could keep him calm. Imagine our surprise when no more than 20 feet from us, a large black bear broke through the growth! He saw us and took off back where he had come from. After our heart rates settled down, we finished the hike and were back at the truck.
One really nice dinner we had, since it was my wife's birthday, was at The Rainbow Grille. I wasn't really sure where to go, but asked at the desk of the lodge and they not only made a recommendation but went ahead and made reservations for us. I can't say enough good things about the staff at Lopstick Lodge. They went above and beyond to do whatever we needed from them while we were up there.
I would definitely recommend this a great place to vacation, either as a family, a group of hard core fishing people, or just a couple looking to get away from it all for a little bit.
I'm looking forward to heading back up there and disconnecting from everything at some point in the future.