adventure, connections, friends, memories, moments, natural wonders, nature, photography, road trip, travel

Mountains and old men…

I will admit that I had high hopes for this road trip.  High enough hopes that I scared myself a little.  Would it live up to my impossible expectations?  And I’m happy to say that yes, yes it has.  And still I wander…

When you go to the Franconia Notch area of New Hampshire and buy a ticket to visit the Flume Gorge you will see that there is a deal available and you may decide to also buy a ticket to ride the tram to the top of Cannon Mountain.  What a spectacular view of the distant mountain ranges, which the guide said included NH, VT, NY and even Quebec.  I can only show you photos, but can’t say which mountains you are viewing.  I just know that they are beautiful.  Is it any wonder that my old friend has permanently lost his heart to these mountains?

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The trees on top of the mountain aren’t particularly tall, but I wouldn’t have noticed that on my own.  My own personal mountain man guide says that it’s because the snow and wind breaks off the tops of the trees.  And then I saw what he meant.

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Canon Mountain was also the home of the Old Man of the Mountain, an image and name that I knew from childhood, but never saw in person.  I snapped this photo of a poster just as we were hopping onto the tram, because seeing the rock formation that formed the ‘face’ makes you understand how it came to fall in 2003.  This next from Wikipedia;

The Old Man first became famous largely because of statesman Daniel Webster, a New Hampshire native, who once wrote: “Men hang out their signs indicative of their respective trades; shoemakers hang out a gigantic shoe; jewelers a monster watch, and the dentist hangs out a gold tooth; but up in the Mountains of New Hampshire, God Almighty has hung out a sign to show that there He makes men.”

adventure, friends, fun, natural wonders, nature, on closer examination, perseverance, photography, road trip, sunset, travel

The Flume…

New Hampshire sunsets happen behind layers of mountains, but if you are lucky you see the sky light up before it’s done altogether.

On Saturday we found the trails I was looking for on Friday, when we made a last minute decision to go to the Flume Gorge.  With it’s wooden walkways, and an 800 foot gorge, it sounded like a beautiful sight to see.  And while there was a nice trail to follow to get to the walkway, that trail was straight uphill.  The struggle to get up the hill was real, and the fellow hikers were encouraging to each other as we made our way up the hill.  Fortunately there were benches and boulders to sit on to rest as you headed ever upward.  I thought that instead of climbing every mountain we were sitting on every bench, and when I said that out loud I heard a few people around us laugh in agreement.     Here and there along the way we saw people who had gone off the trails and made their way onto the boulders in the river, usually for photo ops.  (Not me, I had my hands full just getting up the hill).  And there was one guy who was doing his darnedest to make a rock pyramid by trying to balance a triangular rock on one of it’s points and get it to stay long enough to take a picture.  It was giving him lots of trouble, that was obvious, so we kept on with our climb, but when we reached an overlook the people up there were excited because they could see that this guy had succeeded.  There he was down below in the gorge, taking pictures of his creation.  I have no idea how he managed this feat, if smaller rocks were helping to keep it in place, or possibly mud?  It’s a mystery.

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That this gorge was discovered in 1808 by a 93 your old woman who happened across it while fishing is especially amazing to think about.  I’ll bet there weren’t any benches for her to sit on back in her day.  And I ought to mention that there is a bus available that will take you up the trail to the walkway, and back down.  But we are tough, or possibly just stubborn, we made it on our own…

adventure, childhood, connections, friends, fun, natural wonders, nature, photography, road trip, travel

Reliving your childhood…

I don’t know about you, but when I had a chance to have another adventure with a childhood friend I took it.  I had faith.  A camping trip, a chance to go back to favorite camping spots, only I got to go along this time.  I imagined a hike along a trail through the woods, a camping spot with scenic views, so I was lugging my camera bag, which I came to regret.  The reality was that I had to stick to using the iPhone for photos because what we wound up doing was blazing a path through the woods because there was no trail.  And we crossed the river several times, which required picking your way over and around the boulders that filled the river bed.  This part of the river didn’t always exist, a flood rerouted the river, downing trees and depositing these huge rocks.  And the campsite was pretty much gone.  Now that I know that we survived with only minor scrapes and bruises I can say that it was fun.  I could just imagine how much fun it would have been 60 years ago.  We would have scrambled over those rocks as if it were nothing.  I can see us now…7-16openroad7-16rock37-16rocks47-16rockw

learning, natural wonders, on closer examination, perseverance, photography, sunset, technology

Chasing the sunset…

After seeing that possibly elusive opening in the clouds on Saturday night I stopped for the sunset on the way to Hudson beach.  It has been suggested to me by more than one fisherman that Hammond’s Creek bridge isn’t the best place in Aripeka to take sunset photos.  They both said to go to the next bridge down.  Not knowing exactly where they meant for me to go I kept glancing to my right as I drove, to find the spot and to make sure that the promise of a beautiful sunset was still on the table.  And I came around a bend to see the prettiest setting for the sunset that I’d seen in a while.  I turned the car around and found a place to pull off the road, and climbed over the guardrail to set the camera up as far off the road as I could.  My landing zone was probably 6 square feet.  Standing on that little road, at a hairpin bend in the road, in the twilight, was probably not the best move, but it was a great shot.  Not the one they told me to look for though, guess I’ll try to find that next time…5-20sunsetHDR25-19aripekasunset

And from the iPhone a panoramic shot, straight out of the camera…iphonearipekasunsetWell, I did resize from the 56 mp size that it was.  Yes, the color really was that dramatic.  And I took so many pictures, but all of the same exact scene.  There was nowhere else to look from that little spot.  After you’ve been looking at the photos in order to choose the few you’ll use they begin to look normal, then you check the post later and that’s when you’ll see how strong the colors are.  But with another day of thunderstorms ahead this post will probably be published as is.  Just another day on the Nature Coast…

go with the flow, healing, life goes on, moments, natural wonders, nature, photography, sunrise

Daybreak…

I was the only one there for the sunrise at Hammond’s Creek bridge.  Well, if you don’t count the no-see-ums that is.  They were there in spades, and attacked before I could get the camera set up.  For once I was happy that I barely made it as the sun came up.  The two footed Great Blue Heron was there too, and watched me as I switched back and forth across the road, shooting the sunrise and the reflection.  And just as I was getting ready to leave the Budweiser bicycle guy rode up and said ‘hi’.  I made fun of him after I met him last time, and I felt a little bad about that since he was so friendly, and said he was glad I got some good pictures.  I didn’t stay to see if he enjoys a beer with every sunrise…

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finding my way, natural wonders, nature, photography, simple things, sunrise, technology, unintended images

Older and wiser…

When I let Ozzie out in the dark and quiet it was drizzling, which made me give up on the notion of joining the photo walk at John Chestnut park this morning.  And an alternative plan I had thought of was to go to Philippe park and visit the owlet.  I heard that she is flying between the branches now, and it was suggested that spotting her might be a bit of an exercise in Where’s Waldo since she would be camouflaged quite well in the thick Spanish moss hanging on the trees.  But then I saw a photo that had been posted last night that showed her falling out of the tree, and she has been taken to a raptor rehab, and will hopefully be returned asap.  With that sad news I decided that I’d stay home and take care of the house, but head out to 7:15 Mass first.  I was oblivious to the sunrise until I took my first right turn to head west, and spotted this.2-25Sundaysunrise2

I had to stop, I just couldn’t take a chance that there might be a better place, a better angle to take a picture.  Then I got to the corner and stopped again.  That’s where I took the feature photo above.  I felt like I was racing the clock, not because I’d be late to church, but because I hated to stop when I expected that the best view would be at the church itself.  It sits up on a bit of a hill, and I was arguing with myself that I should just quit wasting time and get there before the color started to fade.  But this last is the view from the church, not the wide open view I had expected.  What did I used to do when I saw these incredible displays that nature puts on fairly regularly but I wasn’t ‘into’ photography?  Did I not notice?   Should I just credit technology, since carrying an iPhone means I’m never without a camera, so that’s the inspiration?  Or just admit to myself that it’s probably that older and wiser thing…2-25Sundaysunrise