After sunset, and as the summer evening fades into twilight, our friendly neighborhood groundhog comes out to browse. (I think he lives under our storage shed.) He’s quite shy, so I snapped a few photos from the deck – using my new 800mm lens plus a 1.4x teleconverter (effective 1120mm). The combination is fixed at f/16 and, combined with the deepening twilight, the photos are a bit noisy. Still, he’s a cute fellow!
As I was rowing on the river this morning, I scanned the tall riverside trees to see whether I might see anything interesting, as is my habit. Unlike other days, today I spotted the telltale white head of a bald eagle, high in the branches of a distant dead snag. I turned around, headed home, grabbed my camera, and drove up the road to that location. This was a great opportunity to test my new 800mm lens!
It appears to be a somewhat immature bald eagle – not fully developed with the all-white head of an adult. It stuck around as long as I would, and beyond. I hope to see it again sometime soon.
I can’t seem to get enough of this place – my third overnight visit in two months. The weather was hot – with a high in the 80s at the lodge and in the 70s on the summit – so the conditions weren’t great for hiking. But my group took our time climbing and descending, enjoying the summit breeze and the mix of clouds and sun (and a brief sprinkle) the weather delivered us today. It was my great pleasure to introduce the mountain, and the lodge, to a new group of people.
Today I climbed Camel’s Hump – the third-highest peak in Vermont, along the Long Trail as it travels over the spine of the Green Mountains – with friends Lelia and Kristin. We spotted a car so we would not be constrained to one of the standard ‘loop’ hikes, getting underway just before 10am near where the Long Trail crosses the Winooski River. The 10km hike to the summit is grueling, with many steep sections and several rocky scrambles over the cracked granite of Vermont’s spine. The hot, humid weather made it even more challenging. (The last time I climbed Camel’s Hump, the conditions were very different!) Check out the photo gallery!
On the final day of my vacation we took a late-morning walk along the Ammonoosuc River, upstream from the Mount Washington Hotel. This is a beautiful mountain stream formed upslope in the Ammonoosuc Ravine on the slopes of Mount Washington. Along this section, it passes through several narrow cracks in the granite, forming cascades, waterfalls, and deep pools of cold, clear water. Beautiful, yes … but also a great playground on a hot summer’s day. Check out the gallery.
Hike stats: Distance: 6.27km Time: 2h19 with many stops Gain: 54m
Today broke clear and cool. I wanted to get out for one more hike, before we had to head home. From the Mount Washington Hotel I have found many lovely, short hikes, doable before breakfast. I selected the most convenient, the short jaunt up Mount Willard. It’s one I’ve visited many times. It includes a nice waterfall and a grand view south along Crawford Notch.
In my forty years of visiting and living in New Hampshire, I’d never driven up the Auto Road to the top of Mount Washington – though the “This Car Climbed Mount Washington” bumper stickers are ubiquitous. Today was a beautiful day, though, and Pam indicated she’d never been to the top of Mount Washington… so we went. As we passed through the toll gate we noted the Tesla Model Y battery was at 50%. We wound our way up the mountain, on extremely narrow roads with no guardrails and steep drop-offs on one side or another. The views were stupendous, but allowable only to the passenger! We reached the summit parking area with battery at 35%; it thus takes 15% of the battery to climb the mountain. But we earned most of it back! read on.
Back in New Hampshire, I spent the weekend at the Mount Washington Hotel in the White Mountains – with perfect weather and a grand view of the Presidential Range. Pam joined me for the two-night stay. On Saturday morning the day broke cool and clear so I headed a few miles down the road to Crawford Notch and headed up the Crawford Path. This path is the oldest continuously used mountain trail in the United States, dating to 1819. There were few people on the trail this early in the morning (7am), but that would soon change. Read on, and check out the photo gallery.
Thus concludes four lovely days in Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor, Maine. In my recent posts I have shared stories and photos from my hikes and other activities. But not everything fit, so let me share a final photo gallery – distinct from photos in the other galleries, it is a mixed bag of scenery, activity, and food :-). I especially like the video of Boulder Beach where, if you listen carefully, you can hear the boulders rolling in the surf as it recedes.
Acadia is well-known for sunrise and sunset views. Indeed, many people vie for reservations to drive up Cadillac Mountain for sunrise, purportedly one of the earliest sunrise views in the U.S. because of its elevation and far-eastern position in the timezone. But for the same reason, sunrise here is remarkably early: every day this week it has been between 4:50am and 4:57am, and that is later than it was on the summer solstice a few weeks ago. I am not interested in sunrise from the peak – indeed, I find it far more interesting to photograph scenery illuminated by the golden rays of the sun than to photograph the sun itself. After some reading, I learned that Boulder Beach, on the eastern shore, is a great location. It’s also only 10 minutes drive from my hotel in Bar Harbor.
I’m an early riser. Still, when the alarm went off at 4:00am this morning, it was tough to drag myself out of bed and prepare for the day. Out in the parking lot I fired up my JetBoil camp stove to boil water for tea – no place is open this early! – and headed south in the growing twilight toward Otter Cliffs. I parked at a nearby picnic area and walked over to the beach, with 15 minutes to spare before sunrise, only to find three other tripod-rigged photographers already on scene. It was none other than John Putnam, of JK Photography, whom I’d met a couple of days ago in his gallery over in Southwest Harbor. He was out here with two clients, sharing his wisdom and tips for sunrise photography. I’d seen his photograph of sunrise at this spot, back in the gallery, and it is awe-inspiring.
I explored a few different shot locations and exposures. The sun rose through some clouds, so the cliffs illuminated a bit late, and the clouds behind them never quite lit up. But it was a fine morning and I’m pleased with the result. Wish I could try again and again. See the photo gallery for more.
After the sunrise had faded, I walked closer to the cliffs to find a seal swimming toward me, curious; it bobbed for a moment, then dove away to find its breakfast.
Ok, now it’s 6:00am. It’s starting to rain. What else will the day bring?