Thursday, October 13, 2011

Fall Colors.

The color change from summer green to fall yellow, orange, red, etc. seems to be a Rather Big Deal in this part of the world, and a slight mystery to me, who spent the majority of my life in places where foliage went directly from green to brown to bare-branch with little or no transition.

This meant that a trip to New Hampshuh was necessary, so D., her mother and daughter and I piled into the car for a northward run. It was a delightful two days.

Of course one of the first lessons a photographer learns is that neat things don't always become neat pictures. Vivid flora abounded, but wasn't necessarily arranged so that it made for good images. I managed, but it took time and a lot of shooting....

Naturally, there was much more to see than a bunch of trees and plants changing hues. We also went up the Mount Washington Auto Road, billed as the "oldest man-made attraction in America," which is celebrating its 150th birthday this year. A nit-picker -- that would be me -- might point out that it could not have been known as an "auto road" for most of its first half-century, as there were no automobiles in 1861. But never mind that.

We ascended to the summit. Not, alas, with me behind the wheel. Now that I think of it, that might have been a Good Thing, as I have the impression that D. has never seen herself riding with me at 165 mph on the track at Daytona; nor has she likely longed to be in the passenger's seat cruising along at 185 mph on a German Autobahn. The more sedate guided van tour was chosen, and if she was picking up my thoughts as I checked out the road during the trip ("accelerate hard now...heavy on the brakes...downshift...start turning...clip the apex of the corner here...accelerate...") she didn't exactly refuse when I insisted I will drive next time we're visiting Mount Washington.

The climb is amazingly rapid, going from ground level through forest -- yes, more Fall Colors -- and ending up at the summit, well above the tree line. Though the weather was fine while we were there, it can be dramatically different -- often worse -- on top than what's encountered at the base. Apparently, the weather station at the peak recorded a wind speed of 231 mph on a blustery day back in the 1930s....

It's a beautiful place, with plenty to see both on the road and at the peak, but somehow photos don't really get the point across.

There are three ways to climb the mountain: road, hiking trails, and the cog railway. You can see road and railway in the above photo....

Speaking of railroads, we stayed in North Conway, which is also the home of the North Conway Scenic Railroad. Conditions permitting, I would have opted for an extra day or two just to check out the trips offered and take a leisurely look at the wonderful collection of classic locomotives, railcars and general memorabilia gathered there.

This too was a natural for taking photos, and I did, coming away with many, many photos; I have too many to choose from! So instead of showing them (yet, anyway), here's a peek inside the beautifully restored station:

I haven't sorted all the trip photos yet (there were more than 180 from our two days, plus those D. took), and frankly I'm a bit under the weather (and therefore not overly energetic) today. I think I've got a bit of a cold. Or it might just be my normal allergic reaction to yuppie tourists, who filled the sidewalks of North Conway and its curio, trinket and bauble shops.

Even if it hadn't been as great a trip as it was, the excursion definitely got my travel-juices flowing again. Just think: a little more driving and we might have added Berlin or Lebanon to our agenda!

PARENTHETICAL MULTI-COLORED THOUGHT: yes: we're getting Fall Colors here as well, but D. thinks they are nowhere near as vivid as they were in New Hampshuh. Based on limited experience, I can only agree.

1 comment:

John0 Juanderlust said...

I like the look of that area. The train ride would be a blast. I think these pics give a good idea of the feel. Just guessing of course, but they leave me knowing more than I did.