Right after departing from our five days of Suzuki violin force-feeding otherwise known as Ogontz, la familia de Baby June headed right over to Lincoln, New Hampshire for some more vacationing. Why? I am not entirely sure. This is, however, our only big vacation of the year, so it is only natural that we would want to milk the opportunity for all it’s worth.
|How romantic, watching those mountains recede into the distance.|
We stayed for five days in a cute little condominium—much better than a hotel, even without room service—and made damn well sure we were all sick of seeing the same three things over and over again in various incarnations (rocks, trees, and water) after those five days.
|OH MY GOD A RAINBOW! Or something.|
I’m not particularly fond of vacations, but you’ve got to admit the White Mountains are really something. “Something” meaning “possessing the ability to make you feel small and insignificant while falling in love with inanimate objects and bodies of water”.
Like the Basin.
|Yup. That's it.|
The Basin is an enormous pothole in the Pemigewasset River (named after Abenaki Native American word meaning “swift”, which is in my experience a very accurate choice of name). It is 30 feet wide and 15 feet deep and no, you can’t swim in it. Goddamn killjoys, those park officials are.
Thankfully, we peasants are allowed to observe from afar, wishing we could only dip our feet into its greenish depths, to feel the swiftness rushing through us, to absorb this 25,000-year-old miracle of erosion, to see the water pressing through the rock in an endless push to wash straight through the earth. We can only lean over the fence and cup our faces like those pining lasses from Victorian novels—
—and think that hey, maybe if we came here in the moonlight, when no one’s around, we could take a quick dip in the water, and even if we drowned it would be worth it, that would be such an exciting death wouldn’t it?
Yeah. These waters are awfully Siren-like, if you ask me.
|This is the only full-body picture of me you'll ever get.|
Thankfully, there are some surrounding pools unguarded by those pesky little fences, so I did get to splash around like a little child for a bit. ‘Twas glorious.
Although it would have been even more fun if there really was one of those tube rides carved through the rock like we all thought there should have been. You here that, governor of New Hampshire or whatever? We need some smoothed-out rocks and inflatable tubes over here, stat.
|HOLY SHIT MORE MOUNTAINS!|
We also went hiking through the Flume Gorge, which is another classic attraction in Lincoln. It also happens to have a price tag, since over here in America you often have to pay to experience nature. But it’s worth it.
The beginning of the hike includes this view which you could call spectacular, but is actually quite pedestrian in the White Mountains. That mass of land on the far left is dubbed Liberty Mountain, as it supposedly looks like the face of George Washington staring up at the sky—which is highly sexist, since it could just as easily be a woman’s face as a man’s. Like Oprah. Why isn’t it called Oprah Mountain? I have no idea.
|A view up Flume Gorge.|
Walk up the trial about a half mile or so, and you will come upon the grand and somewhat terrifying Flume Gorge. There is a small boardwalk of sorts nailed to the side of the gorge, and I would be lying if I told you I wasn’t worried about crashing through the well-traveled planks into the rushing flume below.
|Obligatory photo of majestic waterfall.|
The park included a few other attractions, like the so-called Wolf’s Den—which was basically a small passage through some rocks hardly big enough for me to squeeze my butt through—and plenty more rocks and water and trees. Though it’s not a virgin forest, so the whole tree aspect isn’t particularly exciting.
|The rock wall rising up on the side of the gorge. And a face, according to my father.|
Speaking of my dad…I have to credit most of these nature photos to him, since he had control of the camera most of the time.
|If you look really closely, you can see my mom and me in our boats.|
And of course there was kayaking. In Echo Lake, to be specific—a relatively small body of water nestled in between the valleys, and no, shouting across it doesn’t create an echo so much as it annoys those kayaking alongside you. Nonetheless, it was gorgeous. The camera can’t quite capture the beauty of a place such as this, but just trust me.
|Some plants I plucked while kayaking. A "foraged bouquet".|
And yes that is my foot in the background. I apologize.
|Where the old man of the mountain used to be.|
We hiked as well, since you can’t go to the White Mountains without hiking at least a little bit, and chose the Indian Head trail up to that cliff you see above. It wasn’t a terribly strenuous hike when compared to the Tumbledown Mountain hike we did last year in Maine, but the view was incredible.
I enjoyed it for the first five seconds, then got the hell out of there. My anxiety doesn’t like cliffs.
I hope you haven’t died of boredom yet, because there is one more picture, and it includes pancakes—well, pancake:
|LOOK AT IT.|
Yes, it’s just one measly pancake, but LOOK AT HOW ROUND AND PERFECT IT IS. OBSERVE ITS PERFECTION.
This is because I found one of those nifty pancake pans while rooting around in the condo’s cabinets, and my mother decided one morning to make pancakes, and unfortunately I had gotten up early and already had some cereal, and unfortunately I wasn’t feeling in the mood for a second breakfast on that particular day, so I just had one pancake. Cos I had to try it. You can’t NOT try at least ONE when there are fresh pancakes to be had.
You feel me?
|You do what you gotta do.|
And you know what else I found while rooting around in those cabinets?
Casserole dishes! Cute lil casserole dishes. You know, for making casseroles.
|I hate casseroles.|
Well, whatever June, because the recipe has already been made and there’s not a lot you can do about it.
Basically, I made a couple dishes of fancy-pants baked French toast during a so-called “vacation”. How typical.
Baked French toast topped with maple blueberry crisp
Makes 4 to 6 servings
Adapted from Vegan Richa
60 grams • oats (preferably quick, but old-fashioned is fine) • ¾ cup
1 gram • baking powder • ¼ teaspoon
2 grams • salt • 1/8 teaspoon
150 grams • blueberries • 1 cup
160 grams • maple syrup • ½ cup
14 grams • oil of choice (such as coconut) • 1 tablespoon
300 grams • bread of choice, cubed • 12 slices
62 grams • vegan pancake mix (such as Bob’s Red Mill seven grain) • ½ cup
100 grams • banana, mashed • 1 medium
244 grams • nondairy milk • 1 cup
8 grams • vanilla extract • 1 teaspoon
80 grams • maple syrup • ¼ cup
Start by preheating an oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a baking dish and set aside.
For French toast, mix everything except bread (under “French toast”) in a medium bowl. Place cubed bread in baking dish in an even layer and pour batter over it.
To make crisp, combine oats, baking powder, and salt. Stir in maple syrup and oil, then fold in blueberries. Sprinkle over prepared French toast.
Bake for about 12 to 14 minutes or until the crisp is browned on the edges. Serve it right up, perhaps with a bit of extra maple syrup. Or maybe coconut whipped cream. Or ice cream. Who cares if it’s breakfast.
|I know, I know...but it tastes good?|
Let me explain.
I’m not sure about the dimensions of the two dishes I used (because I am far too lazy to pick up a ruler), so I am consequently not sure about what sort of pan YOU should use. It would probably work with a 9 x 13 pan. Doesn’t matter; you should make it anyway. You could pan fry it, even. Be a rebel. Live it up a little.
You may think that because I call for chopping up the bread in this recipe, it comes out sort of like a bread pudding. And you would be right. But it is technically French toast, because Vegan Richa’s recipe said so (before I adapted/bastardized it, of course). So consider it dessert for breakfast.
The blueberries on top? Well, um, they’re quite sweet and juicy and delicious (as fresh baked fruit tends to be), and do not at all taste like the black bulbous tumors they seem to be.
Be not afraid. Embrace the French toast. Love the French toast. And most importantly, eat the French toast.
(Make it first though.)