Fall Foliage 2015 Cliffs and Colors in Northern New Hampshire Oct 3-4, 2015

14th October 2015

Table Rock summit pillar, Dixville Notch, NH

A very hot September in NH (90 degree temps still in the middle of the month) delayed the colors of fall foliage this year. On the first weekend of October, with not much happening for color even in the Whites, so I decided to drive to the far north of NH and camp near the Canadian border to hunt for some colorful fall foliage. Here a few shots from that excursion:

Driving up north I found myself in Franconia Notch just before sunrise. I headed off to a spot I knew, watching the sun reflect off Cannon Cliffs:

The scene was very contrasty, even with a split neutral density filter, so some of the river and reflected light shots were probably the best.

From there I drove another two hours north to Dixville Notch, under 20 miles southeast of the Canadian Border the way the crow flies. I hiked a 5.5 mile loop going up and over both ridges that form the headwalls of this dramatic notch. Route 26 runs in the middle of this notch and you have to descend to it in the middle of the loop before climbing the next headwall. First I headed up the Sanguinary Ridge trail.

The trail had plenty of ledges to check out Lake Gloriette and the currently closed Balsams Resort. Nice foliage behind.

The trail also passes through an open, somewhat loose talus field.

There were some unusual spires along this trail in this section, like this hundred foot high one in the foreground of the picture. The notch is in between, a straight drop down to Rt. 26, and the cliffs of Table Rock (2510') are seen in the far right, my final perch of the day later on. You walk right out onto that point!

Speaking of walking right out onto Table Rock

The winds were blowing over 20 mph, so I didn't trust keeping my camera on the tripod unattended after this photo. The last bit to the tip of Table Rock is quite narrow (3 feet wide) and a sheer dropoff.

Looking over the edge (awful photo due to contrast but just to convey dropoff)

Mud Pond, in the distance, had the best color of the day around it. This pond can be accessed by the Cohos Trail, a 165 mile trail running from the White Mountains to Canada.

Another vantage point on Table Rock (the pinnacle on the far right), shot the next morning in early light

After finishing the hike I headed further north to Coleman State Park in NH to camp for the night. It got below freezing and there was a heavy frost in the Great North Woods the next morning. But that cold clear weather made for great stargazing from my campsite, where the Milky Way was visible with the naked eye. God's promise to Abraham to make his descendants as numerous as the stars makes more sense when you look up at the sky in NH 10 miles from the Canadian Border. In cities, you'd probably guess Abraham only had 10 people in his line.

I spent sunrise at Little Diamond Pond.

Didn't find too many good photo ops headed south, but did find this leaf landing on a split rail fence, with a carpet of fallen red leaves below it.

For a hike on the way home, I decided to check out Iron Mountain 2726' in the White Mountain National Forest near Jackson, NH.

The trail immediately crosses a field that provides views to the Presidential Range, left, and Carter Range, right.

After reaching that summit, you can descend the opposite side of the mountain for another .7 miles to vast south facing ledges. Being south facing, their wasn't much photo potential in the late afternoon, but here is a sample of what the views look like. Not much foliage yet (10/4/15), usually its peak!

But there were isolated patches of color along the trail.

The mountain got its name from the iron mine that used to exist on it. You can continue to descend the further down the south side of the mountain and find old tailings, relics, and even a cool cave:

Of course, all that exploring means you have to reclimb the peak and then descend, but the total hike is only a little over 4 miles with all the detours and very worthwhile. Driving down the steep dirt road I spotted this final view of Mt. Washington, framed by just emerging fall color. A fine way to end an outing.

As always, I am thankful to God for having the health and opportunity to experience the beauty of creation.

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