Posted by: kerryl29 | March 6, 2017

Day 15: An Appropriate Send-Off – The Prelude

After spending most of Day 14 in Pinkham Notch I had returned to North Conway via Crawford Notch where a brief inspection had revealed the color to be excellent.  With the day’s forecast calling for overcast conditions throughout I planned to start out in Crawford Notch with my first stop Arethusa Falls.

A guidebook I was using gushed–pardon the pun–over Arethusa Falls, calling it a “must see” destination.  When I had driven past the trailhead the previous day it was so crowded the cars were spilling out on the highway from the parking area.  This was Columbus Day weekend in the White Mountains and things were busy everywhere.  I decided that if I wanted to photograph at Arethusa Falls without being constantly frustrated by the unwanted presence of countless other visitors, I better get there early.   Since the forecast indicated that there wouldn’t be a visible sunrise, I planned to arrive at daybreak.

The forecast was correct; there wasn’t a hint of a sunrise that morning and when I arrived at the Arethusa Falls parking area at dawn it was blissfully deserted.  The hike to/from the falls involves an approximate 4 1/2 miles round trip with considerable elevation change, so I grabbed my backpack and tripod and quickly hit the trail.  There were a fair number of fresh leaves on the ground along the way, and I took note of some possible intimate shots for potential further investigation on the return.

When I reached the falls after a hike of roughly 45 minutes I was immediately disappointed; the water flow was quite weak.  To make matters worse, the descent to the base of the falls was a problematic climb between and over a series of boulders.  I dutifully undertook it and then determined it to have been a waste of time; I couldn’t find a compelling composition, so I retreated back to the high point where the falls had first come into view and resumed the search for a perspective that interested me.  After much consideration, I finally found something I liked, though it required a two-image stack to pull it off.

Arethusa Falls, Crawford Notch State Park, New Hampshire

Arethusa Falls, Crawford Notch State Park, New Hampshire

Somewhat disappointed–had the effort to reach the falls really been worth it?–I began the process of returning to the car.  I began to see the occasional party of hikers heading towards the falls on my return, but I stopped at one of the spots I’d identified on the way in to make an intimate image that I found interesting.  What you see below represents a six-image focus stack.  This scene was fairly characteristic of much of the trail; there were many fresh leaves down.

Arethusa Falls Trail, Crawford Notch State Park, New Hampshire

Arethusa Falls Trail, Crawford Notch State Park, New Hampshire

When I got back to the parking area it was, obviously, much brighter than it had been when I arrived and I now saw some marvelous color in the trees in the notch.  I pulled out the telephoto lens and made a few images.

Autumn Color, Crawford Notch State Park, New Hampshire

Autumn Color, Crawford Notch State Park, New Hampshire

Autumn Color, Crawford Notch State Park, New Hampshire

Autumn Color, Crawford Notch State Park, New Hampshire

I then made the drive to Silver Cascades, a location I’d scouted in bright, sunny conditions on Day 12.  Silver Cascades is an interesting place.  Essentially, the cascade is a ribbon of water that drops several hundred feet, in steps, down a cliff face.  It’s visible from the road and that’s where the vast majority of people photograph it–from a bridge along the highway.  Water flow, however, wasn’t good so the view from the bottom wasn’t very impressive when it came to the waterfall itself; the color, however, was excellent, as it was throughout Crawford Notch as a whole.

On Day 12, I had climbed up the rock face (it’s not difficult at all) in the crevice where the Silver Cascades is located to see if I could find any views that I found more compelling than the one from the base.  I had discovered a thick clutch of ferns, many of which had begun to yellow, that could be used as a foreground.  So when I returned to the location I made a beeline to this spot.  If you look hard you can see a bit of the cascade near the upper-middle of the frame below.

Silver Cascades, Crawford Notch State Park, New Hampshire

Silver Cascades, Crawford Notch State Park, New Hampshire

The other thing I’d noticed when I scouted the Silver Cascades rock face on Day 12 was that there were some terrific views of the trees on the other side of the notch from this height.  Now, three days later, they were at peak color.

Autumn Color, Crawford Notch State Park, New Hampshire

Autumn Color, Crawford Notch State Park, New Hampshire

Autumn Color, Crawford Notch State Park, New Hampshire

Autumn Color, Crawford Notch State Park, New Hampshire

I returned to the area around Willey Pond in Crawford Notch.  The slopes there were a tremendous  wealth of color.  From where I stood, the slopes were brilliant, rich yellows, reds and oranges mixed with the dark green of the coniferous trees.  I pulled out the telephoto lens and went to town.

Autumn Color, Crawford Notch State Park, New Hampshire

Autumn Color, Crawford Notch State Park, New Hampshire

Autumn Color, Crawford Notch State Park, New Hampshire

Autumn Color, Crawford Notch State Park, New Hampshire

Autumn Color, Crawford Notch State Park, New Hampshire

Autumn Color, Crawford Notch State Park, New Hampshire

Autumn Color, Crawford Notch State Park, New Hampshire

Autumn Color, Crawford Notch State Park, New Hampshire

There’s a covered bridge in Jackson, New Hampshire that I’d caught a glimpse of when I’d made my way in and out of the southern end of Pinkham Notch on Day 14.  So on this day, when I was done in Crawford Notch, I made a brief detour up NH-16 and found the bridge.  It was raining lightly when I was there and after viewing the bridge from street level I decided to explore the perspective from river level.  Down on the bank I saw an impressive set of boulders and a nice bed of bright, fresh leaves.  I set the tripod up low, placing the rocks and leaves in the foreground.  Again, a focus stack set produced the image you see below.

Honeymoon Covered Bridge, Carroll Covered Bridge, New Hampshire

Honeymoon Covered Bridge, Carroll Covered Bridge, New Hampshire

I retreated south on NH-16, in the direction of US-302.  Near the junction of the US-302 and NH-16 I came upon a tall stand of pines intermixed with smaller deciduous trees that were a riot of color.

Color Amidst the Pines, Carroll County, New Hampshire

Color Amidst the Pines, Carroll County, New Hampshire

I made my way back to the Kancamagus Highway by way of Bear Notch Road and gradually made my west to Hancock Overlook, a spot I had scouted when I made my way from Maine to Vermont via the Kanc on Day 6.

Hancock Overlook, Kancamagus Highway, White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire

Hancock Overlook, Kancamagus Highway, White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire

As nice as the view from the overlook was, the trees on the other side of the Kanc from the Hancock parking area captured my attention.

Hancock Overlook, Kancamagus Highway, White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire

Hancock Overlook, Kancamagus Highway, White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire

Hancock Overlook, Kancamagus Highway, White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire

Hancock Overlook, Kancamagus Highway, White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire

I started my way east, in the direction of North Conway.  It was now late afternoon and the sky was every bit as cloudy as it had been at first light.  With no expectation of a sunset in my future I stopped at any point along the road that caught my attention, including a towering, willowy birch backed by riotous color.

Kancamagus Highway, White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire

Kancamagus Highway, White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire

My next stops were at the adjoining Lower Falls and Rocky Gorge Scenic Areas and it was the events here that led to a remarkable, serendipitous set of occurrences that concluded the day–and my New England photographic excursion.  I’ll tell that story in the next post.

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Responses

  1. Fantastic color, Kerry. I expect to be hiking out there this summer (Presidential Range). Alas, I’ll miss the colors you depict here.

    • Thanks, Mike. I hope your trip goes well. You may miss the fall colors, but hopefully you’ll get some predictable/serviceable weather. As I’m sure you know, the conditions on those Presidential Range peaks can be awfully rough at times.

  2. Oh! The colours are so beautiful, haven’t seen the likes of them for many years.The images bring back the memory of the smells in the woods at this time of year.That climbing probably warrants a good chocolate bar or trail mix for a snack.I like the contrasts and lines of the tree at the end as well as the falls in the beginning.It looks like you are standing right beside the stream bed where the water has flowed more fully at another time.Worth a trip back?

    • Thanks, Jane.

      I’d go back to New England in the fall in a heartbeat. Whether I’d get significantly better water flow is an unknown as autumn is the driest time of the year there.

  3. You certainly have some beautiful countryside around you.

    • Thanks for weighing in.

      Just as a point of clarification, the scenes depicted in this series are more than 1000 miles from where I live. I only WISH we had places like this nearby.

  4. Beautiful, beautiful photos, Kerry. The colors are very striking. Last autumn, in Colorado, the colors came early and were vivid gold but disappeared rather quickly when it turned dry. Your mention of the overflowing parking lot is also common here during the fall colors season. On the weekends, the highways through the mountains are so crowded, you spend more time negotiating the traffic than looking at the scenery and every overlook jammed packed with people and their cameras. Whether they are getting quality images is anyone’s guess.

    On a side note, for all the mention of restricting access into Maroon Bells, that has been delayed indefinitely. Several of the trails in the wilderness area needs to be rehabbed, but to do it right the whole area needs to be closed off completely for 3-5 years. The NFS is undecided how they’re going to do it, but they also need the project funded to proceed.

    • Thanks, David!

      I read with even greater interest than usual your comments about the situation in Colorado as I’m planning to head out there this fall. I’d be very interested (and grateful) to hear your thoughts on my (still very rough, at this time) itinerary and general plans. I’ll send you a note through your blog.

  5. […] left off last time by describing the majority of my final day in New England, spent in various parts of New Hampshire’s White Mountains.  It was late afternoon by the […]

  6. Such intense color! The texture and shimmer of that cascade of ferns is exceptional. Kerry, I’m beginning to run out of superlatives – so, just know that a visit to your blog is always a visual feast.

    • Thanks, Lynn. That’s high praise indeed!


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