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.

Five cascades

Five for five.

The month of October had five weekends and I visited a different set of cascades each weekend. Here are my favorite images from each; follow the link for a gallery of more photos.

Georgiana Falls (October 2)

Georgiana Falls, Franconia Notch, NH

Beaver Brook Cascades (October 10)

Beaver Brook Cascades, Appalachian Trail, Mount Moosilauke, NH.

Grant Brook Cascades (October 17)

Cascades and waterfalls along Grant Brook in Lyme, NH.

White Rocks (Bully Brook) (October 23)

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

Dummerston Falls (October 31)

Dummerston Falls, Vermont

Dummerston Falls

No hike needed.

Another weekend of fall foliage, another opportunity to visit a beautiful cascade. Again I headed south, chasing the foliage season. I am feeling a bit under the weather so I was not eager for a hike; Dummerston Falls was the ideal choice, because it is visible from the roadside. Indeed, my gallery of photos are taken from the guardrail on VT Route 30, adjacent to a small parking area.

Dummerston Falls, Vermont

The route to this tall waterfall took me through Brattleboro, VT – always a tantalizing place to visit – and an opportunity to visit one of my favorite shops, the Vermont Country Deli. It is literally impossible to enter that store and not come out without buying a buffet full of incredible sweet and savory food.

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

Mount Abraham and the Tunbridge Fair

Forest and Farm, in one day.

For my hike this weekend I decided to return to a peak I had not visited since the early 1980s – Mount Abraham, which is one of the five 4000-foot peaks in Vermont and one of only three Vermont peaks with an alpine-zone summit. My notion was to scramble up there in the morning and to stop by the Tunbridge World’s Fair on the way back, which would give me ample opportunities for lunch of both the healthy and unhealthy kind. Read on!

Continue reading “Mount Abraham and the Tunbridge Fair”

Mount Cushman

A short hike to a delightful remote peak, Mount Cushman, in central Vermont.

No, I’ve never heard of it either. This small peak in Central Vermont is not on anyone’s peak-bagger list, or on any long-distance trail. But when I was looking through the guidebook of dayhikes in Vermont, this one stuck out as an interesting new place to visit.

The trail along the ridgeline to Mount Cushman.
Continue reading “Mount Cushman”

Strawberry fields

An annual treat.

I’m delighted to be back in the Upper Valley region of NH & VT in time for strawberry season. We are fortunate to have an excellent organic farm nearby, Cedar Circle Farm, just up the river on the Vermont side. So yesterday morning you could find me out in their U-pick field before the sweltering summer weather arrived – quickly filling a six-quart tray with the best, ripest strawberries. I filled one tray with Jewel berries, suitable for freezing, and another quart with AC Valley Sunset berries, with plans to eat them within one or two days 🙂

The result was delish – strawberry shortcake for dinner dessert.

Return to Worcester

What a difference!

Rugged trail, straight up the fall line, on Worcester Mountain.

“It sure does look different in the winter”, said the hiker I met on this trail back in January. He had lost the trail just a couple hundred meters shy of the summit of Worcester Mountain, despite having climbed this trail “dozens” of times. After thanking him for his advice, I pressed on and experienced the most exhilarating hike of the season [read that story].

So today, a warm and muggy day in early June with the trees and shrubs almost fully leafed out for summer, and nary a snowflake left anywhere in New England, I decided to head back and see if Worcester Mountain really is “different in summer”. I got an early start, reaching the trailhead by 7:30am, but there were already three cars in the lot. Read on, to see what I found!

Continue reading “Return to Worcester”

Tesla… not

A month of body work awaits!

Sadly, I lost my brand-new Tesla one week ago.

damage to my Model Y after another driver rear-ended me.

Well, to be more precise, my Tesla is now in the shop, after a distracted driver rear-ended me last Thursday at a remote intersection in Vermont. (Nobody was hurt.) I’ve spent the last week on the phone with Tesla, two insurance companies, and a couple of body shops trying to make arrangements. Not easy!

As it turns out, there are no Tesla-approved body shops in either Vermont or New Hampshire, so the closest realistic option was to tow my car about 20 miles from the accident to a garage, and then 160 miles from that garage to the body shop near Boston. Tesla cars require special training and equipment to repair, because of the high-voltage electronics and because of the aluminum body components.

On the other hand, a major advantage of Tesla cars is that they have cameras all around, always recording;* I was able to pull the USB memory stick after the accident, giving me a several dramatic views of the incident. Check out the gallery for two photos and two brief videos.

Now I’m in this Toyota RAV4 SUV rental car. Very odd blue!

* If you’re really into this stuff, check out the YouTube Channel Wham Bam TeslaCam for dramatic video captures by Tesla cars around the world. Ironically, I was watching video from that channel before I went out last Thursday.