Holts Ledge – fall colors

Leaf season is here.

I’ve been meaning to get out hiking, in the high mountains to the north – knowing that the fall colors will arrive several weeks sooner there than here. But somehow the colors snuck up faster than I expected. I went today for one of my favorite nearby hikes – to the top of Holts Ledge, the cliff-faced ridgeline on which the Dartmouth Skiway sits. The Applachian Trail rambles over this hilltop, brushing the tops of the cliffs and providing fantastic views to the south and east.

It was a sunny afternoon and there were many other people out to enjoy the day. As I climbed through mixed hardwoods, I noted the various browns, yellows, oranges, and reds of the leaves that had fallen from the trees above… more and more leaves as I climbed. Although I only gained a thousand feet, when I reached the top and looked across the valley I was amazed to see many areas already at peak foliage. Perhaps the dry summer has caused so much stress the trees are turning earlier than I expected. In any case, it was beautiful.

Fall colors from the top of Holts Ledge, Lyme NH

On the way down I encountered a wooly bear caterpillar, one of my favorites. He explored my palm for a while, looking for a way across. Soon I put him back down, to go about his business on the forest floor.

Wooly bear catepillar, on the AT on Holts Ledge.

Author: dfkotz

David Kotz is an outdoor enthusiast, traveller, husband, and father of three. He is also a Professor of Computer Science at Dartmouth College.

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