Hiking in snow

A lovely outing in late-fall conditions.

Today I went out with a friend for a short hike in the hills on the eastern side of Hanover. It was a warm afternoon, but we were surprised to see an inch of fresh snow on the leaf-covered forest floor, with melting snow dripping from the fir trees overhead. It rained hard here last night – down along the Connecticut River – but only a few hundred feet higher it had apparently snowed.

First snow along the trails of the Shumway Forest in eastern Hanover, with views to Moose, Smarts, and Moosilauke.

It was nonetheless a lovely hike through the forest along a set of trails managed by the Hanover Conservancy, culminating in a series of rocky overlooks on the ledges of the ridge that extends south from Moose Mountain.

First snow along the trails of the Shumway Forest in eastern Hanover, with views to Moose, Smarts, and Moosilauke.

We wore bright-orange vests, because this weekend is the first big weekend of deer season, and we could frequently hear the report of rifle shots in the valley to the east. The sight of snow – as much as an inch of heavy, wet snow in some areas – reminds me of how quickly winter is coming.

Hike stats:
Distance: 3.94km
Time: 1h12m
Map: see red route below. (The green route refers to my prior visit)

Fall foliage

A chance encounter.

October has ended but the fall foliage is still brilliant – at least in certain pockets of our valley, and in valleys further to the south. On Sunday October 31, after photographing Dummerston Falls in southern Vermont, there were spectacular colors along the hillsides lining the interstate highway heading northward. So in Windsor I pulled off the highway to cross the Connecticut River on the iconic Cornish-Windsor covered bridge (the longest wooden covered bridge in North America, dating back to 1866), where I knew there was an opportunity for a view of the river, the bridge, and Mount Ascutney beyond.

Cornish-Windsor covered bridge, with Mount Ascutney at rear; NH-VT.

I was not disappointed; there is an informal pullout for parking nearby, and a quick dash across the road and a hop over the guardrail gives one access to this spectacular view. As I turned to head back to my car, I noticed a wooden post – rather new looking, with a square board screwed atop as if to form a seat. I looked up to see a man approaching, dressed for the weather, wearing a hunter-orange cap and carrying a camouflage bag. After a short greeting he sat on the wooden post, pulled a Canon camera out of his bag, and we began to chat as he began to photograph the same scene.

Dan lives and works nearby, and stops to sit on this post every day. He has captured a new photograph here pretty much every day for the past ten years, posting them to his blog The Shape of the Year. It’s quite interesting to see, for example, what this scene looked like on November 3, February 3, May 3, and August 3. It was fun to meet another photographer, and to exchange our calling cards. Here’s my shot of the similar scene, October 31.

See a gallery with a few more of my roadside fall-foliage photos from across the month and around the region.

Bully Brook Cascades

Incredible foliage and a beautiful cascade – on the same hike!

This week it was time to follow the foliage south, as the season progresses. Lelia and I headed for White Rocks National Recreation Area, a USFS area in southern Vermont. I’d heard it was an impressive place; as we found, it is particularly beautiful in fall foliage. We walked through brilliantly yellow hardwood forests, and reached an overlook with a broad view across the many colors of the rolling hills in this area.

Fall foliage from the viewpoint in the White Rocks National Recreation Area – Vermont.

As the daylight faded and we neared the trailhead, the trail passed along Bully Brook… close to a series of impressive cascades. Here I was, the fourth weekend in a row, with an opportunity to capture waterfalls in foliage season!

Cascades on Bully Brook – White Rocks National Recreation Area – Vermont.

Check out the full gallery for more, full-res photos.

Hike stats:
Distance: 6.6km
Time: 3h12 (with many photo stops)
Gain: 372m

Beaver Brook cascades

An incredible photographic journey.

After my visit to Georgiana Falls last week, I realized the tremendous photographic potential of this season. I determined to visit another appealing waterfall this weekend, and selected Beaver Brook cascades. This impressively long sequence of cascades is visible for nearly a kilometer along the Appalachian Trail as it ascends the north side of Mount Moosilauke, the trail often hugging the cascades so closely that the trail is cut into the New Hampshire granite and studded with wooden blocks to enable footing along the water-slickened rock. Read on for a glimpse of one cascade, and visit the gallery for the complete set of full-res photos!

Steep and slippery along the Beaver Brook Trail, Mount Moosilauke, NH.
Continue reading “Beaver Brook cascades”

Georgiana Falls

The place to be on a drizzly day.

Months ago I planned to do some hiking in Franconia Notch with an old friend. When the day arrived, however, it was gray and drizzly, with all the summits deeply ensconced in clouds. So we avoided the trails to the high peaks and chose instead to hike up to one of the area’s hidden gems, Georgiana Falls.

Georgiana Falls, Franconia Notch, NH

With the fall colors beginning to emerge, and the leaves damp from the rain, it was a great opportunity to experiment with waterfall photography. My favorites are in this gallery, full resolution.

Continue reading “Georgiana Falls”

Fall foliage

A spectacular year for fall foliage.

This fall brought us some of the most intense fall foliage we’ve ever seen, in three decades of living in the upper valley region of New Hampshire and Vermont. When we had a seriously long drought this August, so many were concerned about a potentially disappointing fall-foliage season, but we’ve experienced quite the opposite! Don’t miss the full gallery.

The trees around our home in their fall foliage; Lyme NH.

Farnum Hill

A late-fall outing in a forest close to home.

This weekend’s outing was a mild hike across the ridgeline of Farnum Hill, in nearby Lebanon, NH. Its trails stroll along the rolling hilltop on an 820-acre reserve managed by the city as a space for wildlife and recreation. Here at the end of October (Halloween morning!) these hardwood forests were mostly bare, with a colorful carpet of fallen leaves covering the forest floor. I walked out and back along the spine of this ridge, enjoying the sunshine of a late-fall morning and the crisp crunch of barely-frozen leaves along the trail.

A late-October snowfall mingles with the fall foliage along the trail in Lebanon, NH.

The trail begins at a marker noting the historic King’s Highway, “the first planned colonial road in Lebanon”, and now a class-VI woods-road suitable for walkers and skiers.

The trail begins along the historic King’s Highway in Lebanon, NH.

A light dusting of snow on the fir trees recalled the early snow that drifted through the morning before.

A late-October snowfall dusts the fir trees along the trail in Lebanon, NH.

A small critter walked along top a snowy log, not too long before I did.

A critter had made its way along a snow-covered log.

Hike stats:
distance: 10.3km round-trip
time: 2h20m
gain: 367m

Holts Ledge

Hiking from fall to winter.

After yesterday’s brief snowfall the weather turned warm and sunny once again, allowing us a beautiful fall afternoon. This morning we woke to dense river-valley fog, so I headed across Lyme to the Dartmouth Skiway and the high point of Holts Ledge. There, well above the fog, I encountered brilliant foliage at the base and an impressive 2″ snowcover on the exposed slopes near the top. Here is one photo from the top, showing Holts Ledge at left and the peaks of Moosilauke, Cube, and Smarts left to right – but don’t miss the gallery for six other full-res photos in brilliant color.

View of Holts Ledge with (L to R) Moosilauke, Cube, and Smarts, with waves of fall foliage below.

Hike stats:
distance = 5.9km
gain = 353m
time = 1h 37m (including photo stops)

First snowfall

Brief but beautiful.

It rained all day yesterday, and rained hard all night long. At first light today, I looked out the window to see blobs of snow falling amongst the raindrops. Although the air temperature was above freezing, it must have been cold higher up. The snow/rain mix continued for about an hour, with little of the snow sticking to the warm, wet ground. It’s a beautiful sight, and also a reminder that the warm side of fall weather may be with us only for a few more weeks.

Season’s first snowfall at home.
A few snowflakes cling to the fallen leaves.