Up Beaver Brook, down Benton

A gorgeous late-autumn hike to my favorite mountain.

Beaver Brook cascades, on Mount Moosilauke.

There are days when it becomes essential to set aside the to-do list and head outside, and today was one of them: an unusually warm and sunny day for the end of October, an opportunity to climb (again) my favorite mountain, Mount Moosilauke, via an atypical route.

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Slide Brook

Fall foliage at its peak.

Fall foliage has hit its peak color in many parts of the Upper Valley. I had limited time to get out into the woods this weekend, but had the opportunity to join some friends on a walk up the first mile of the Tunnel Brook Trail on the southwest side of Mount Moosilauke. Despite their hundreds of visits to Moosilauke over nearly four decades, they had never been on this trail – and I’d been here only once. Today, its trees were at the peak colors of leaf season… with beeches, birches, and maples reaching prime color and dusting the forest floor with colorful leaves. The trail follows Slide Brook as it cascades over the ancient, moss-covered rocks of Mount Moosilauke, so I stopped often to set up my tripod for long-exposure photographs. I’ve selected four for the gallery.

Autumn colors on Slide Brook, Mount Moosilauke.

I am pleased – but in retrospect, have ideas about how I could have done better with exposure, composition, and editing. I’ll just need to go back!

Mount Willard

A favorite morning jaunt.

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.

Early morning view from Mount Willard, looking south through Crawford Notch.
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Mount Pierce and Mitzpah Hut

View of the Presidential Range from near the summit of Mt. Pierce, White Mountains.

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.

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Wandering the Lyme woods

I never quite know where I’ll go or what I’ll find.

Last weekend’s hike to Holts Ledge emphasized the end of winter/snow hiking, despite the spectacular powder snow I encountered on Kinsman Ridge two weeks ago. That change, coupled with area roads swallowed under a mud season of “biblical proportions”, led me to stay close to home for my hiking this weekend: literally out my back door. It’s a common mud-season opportunity for me, while the trails remain muddy in the mountains and the river is still shedding its winter ice. Today’s outing led to two interesting finds! Read on.

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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

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.

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Rheinfall and Schaffhausen

A daytrip to see the Rheinfall and wander the old town of Schaffhausen.

For our final day of free Swiss rail travel, we decided to stay close to home.  We headed northeast, to a curious finger of Switzerland on the north side of  the Rhine River – which otherwise forms the border with Germany. The train stops directly at the Rheinfall, the most powerful waterfall in Europe, where there are some impressive viewing platforms and an historic castle now converted into a restaurant. The waterfall was beautiful, though the flow was at an annual low – it being winter, and there being no rain for the past week.  The low-angle sun (1:30pm, a few weeks after winter solstice) painted a pretty rainbow on the mist of the falls (a “mistbow”?).  Read on, and check out the Rheinfall gallery and Schaffhausen gallery.

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