Summer seems reluctant to leave. There’s a slight nip in the air, but Fall is taking her time dressing up. Our friends invited us to go leaf peeping with them to New England last weekend. We’ve been wanting to do this too, and happily join. Maine and Vermont are supposedly past peak and Connecticut is yet to peak, so we settle on New Hampshire (NH). Our friends, seasoned fall peepers, chalk out the itinerary. Good company makes the long road short, yet it’s close to midnight by the time we throw ourselves on our beds.
When morning comes and I rub my sleepy eyes and look out of the window, I am treated to the perfect sight – a tree Fall has finished painting in bold reds and fiery orange. It’s a sign for sure! We pile into the car.
In the car, we (our friends really) come up with a list of places we need to cover. We must go to Lincoln. We should drive further North. We have to do the Kancamagus highway (lazily called the Kanc). We could drive up the road to the little bridge the man at the motel suggested. We drive down the road and get food. Somewhere in all this we decide to get some expert recommendations at the local visitor center, where we are advised to go to Square Rock. It would be a short and easy hike, ending with a breathtaking view of the valley. That sounds promising, but wait – the man at the bike rental shop (where we stopped to gather information, not rent bikes) also mentioned a waterfall. Turns out, that’s a short walk too, and very dramatic. Cascading water, surrounded by trees decked out in warm red and rust, reflected in a still pool of cold water. I imagine an (Asian) Indian bride admiring herself in the mirror. We just had to do this!
We get a lovely view of the valley at the Glen Ellis Falls, but there are no trees peeking into the pool and the 64 feet fall is less dramatic than we expected.
We quickly change gears and decide to drive up the Mount Washington motor way, spend sometime time at the summit and drive back home along the scenic Kancagamus highway. By the time we hit the Kanc the sun is low in the sky, casting a lovely golden glow over the world – the bride just put her jewelry on.
The glitch is, we are travelling east, away from the orange orb. We are surrounded by mountains, which in the daytime would have cut out the harsh afternoon light, but were now blocking out direct illumination by the setting sun. This is so disappointing! We drove all day to NH (and drove back all night), only to find Fall being coy!
Lets re-wind a little here. We drove with friends. The company was definitely worth the drive. We went shopping on a holiday, something we don’t generally do. I even bought something, which is almost an accomplishment for me, and a hallelujah moment for those accompanying me. In an unknown town, we chanced upon a lovely dinner place. The weather held up. Not just that, it was great. The motor road up to Mt. Washington was open. Mt. Washington has been on our to-do list, and now – check. And while fall may not have peaked, there was plenty of colour. A sprinkling of green amidst the reds and the yellows, does not take away, it adds to picture.
The trick is to pause. Walk with Fall. Hold her hand and match her step. Admire the warmth she brings with her colours, and enjoy her cool breath on your skin. Don’t chase her. It’s pointless.