4Runner, 5D Mark II, 5D Mark III, Acadia National Park, Bangor ME, Bar Harbor ME, Bass Harbor ME, Birch Trees, Blackwoods Campground, Cadillac Mountain, Columbia Sportswear, Eagle Lake, F-Stop Gear, Fall Foliage, Gitzo, Jordan Pond, LEE Filters, Maple trees, Mt Washington, Oak Trees, Otter Pointe, Reflections, Stowe VT, Vasque, Vasque Footwear, Water, White Mountains
My last morning in the Adirondacks came too fast, but I began to pack up the 4Runner with the knowledge that a return for more exploration and adventure was very easy to do and sure to happen! Once the 4Runner was all packed up, I cleaned up the kitchen area a little to ensure I left the cabin as I had found it upon arrival, then spent 10 minutes on the couch reflecting on the blessings I had received from my Aunt Sue and her brother (Uncle Jim), allowing me to use the cabin for my stay.
Reconnecting with the Adirondacks and the memories that go along with the area was amazing. The aroma of the fireplace is one that will never leave my senses, but the added reference from my stay at Hearthhaven will fuel memories for years to come!
The day was another subfusc day, so I did not have grand illusions of great photographic conditions. As I left Hearthhaven, a little bit of sadness came about, but joy in the memories. Heading towards Tupper Lake, I went in and out of rain. There will definitely be a need to return and spend much more time exploring as I saw a number of locations where photographic opportunities existed with the right conditions!
Once in Tupper Lake, I filled up the fuel and headed off towards Saranac Lake and Lake Placid. The weather was looking good until about 10 minutes out of Lake Placid, when the rains started once again (darn, I was hoping to spend a little time poking around in Lake Placid). The Ski Jumping facility was still in prime condition and its’ size was hard to really grasp. When you watch the Olympics on TV, the height is really not understood or seen. Continuing an down to Crown Point and then up into Vermont, my next stop was Stowe.
Many years ago, I spent time in this area and while the events surround that are no longer relevant, the scenic beauty of Stowe has always remained. Fall foliage was probably five to seven days beyond peak sadly, so my images from the area were not exactly what I was looking for, though good for future reference!
Leaving Stowe, I began the final leg of the day finishing up at Moosebrook State Park just outside of Gorham, NH. This would be my basecamp for the next couple of nights. I arrived a bit later than I had hoped, giving myself just enough time to get my campsite set up before it became too dark to do anything, except cook dinner and unwind.
The next morning I awoke to brisk temperatures (low 40’s F) and an invigorating walk around the campground see what the fall foliage locally looked like. One thing that amazed me throughout this 25 day journey is that the fall foliage seemed to change in pockets. You might find that the color was nearly all gone in an area, but 5 miles away, the color was still very much at peak! Here is an image from Moosebrook State Park campground:
My first thought for the the day, after I cleaned up and got prepared to get out exploring was to drive up to the summit of Mt. Washington. Another opportunity to connect with my Grandfather, who did research up on Mt. Washington in the mid-1940’s while working with Dr. Irving Langmuir at General Electric Research Laboratory (The Liquid Water Content of Summer Clouds on the Summit …, Heat Requirements for Instruments and Airfoils During Icing … and The Use of High Speed Model Propellers for Studying De …). After paying the [exorbitant] entry fee of $28, which covered the vehicle and ONE occupant, with any additional occupants being an additional $8 per occupant, I started the drive up:
No traffic behind me allowed for the image above. Listening to the Audio CD provided, I cruised up the road taking in the scenery as I drove along in 2nd gear. As I climbed above tree line, there was a horseshoe bend with a view over the clouds that was too amazing to skip, so I pulled over in a parking area and created this moody image looking over the clouds towards Jackson, NH.
The more I climbed, the more I realized just how amazing this portion of the adventure really was; in the late 1800’s the bulk of trips up to the summit where done with horse and buckboard. WOW!! I also noticed the temperature dropping more and more. At the base, the temperature was +54F. By the time I made it to the parking lot (in the clouds/mist), the temperature was a brisk +38F and with the wind, well, let’s just say I put on my Gore-Tex shell to block the wind! Speaking of wind, the original facility burned down couple of times, but the most recent iteration built in the early 1900’s was literally chained to the granite rock of Mt. Washington!!
While I may not have hiked up to the summit, I needed to document that I had indeed been there, so I awaited a small group of tourists from Spain who were getting group pics, then I shot an image of the summit sign,
then quickly made my way to the new visitor center to warm the hands and look for any signs of the research my grandfather had done many years previously. The warm-up felt good even though I found nothing showing the research done in the 1940’s. Walking back to the vehicle, I was reminded of the winds just before I got to the short staircase down to the parking lot, when a fairly strong gust of wind came along to startle those of us going back to our vehicles.
Driving down the autoroad, I used the engine to do the bulk of the braking; cannot say the same for a few cars in front of me who were putting a lot of strain on their brakes (one, to the point where they had to pull over and let the brakes cool). Once back at the base, I headed towards Jackson as I wanted to see if there was any color left near a couple of the covered bridges. Sadly, the color was gone by both of them in Jackson.
The day was passing quickly and I found myself in the early part of the afternoon as I approached Crawford Notch State Park. I was looking at all of the scenery when a glance to the left forced me to look ahead to be sure no traffic was coming, then pull into a picnic area (conveniently) to create some images. What caught my eye was the almost sepia-tone look to the scene. The almost metallic copper look of the beyond peak oak tree leaves and the dark bark with a smattering of moss was just gorgeous! I’ve already had a print made on metallic paper for a wall display and it just POPS!!!
A short distance down the road was Silver Cascade (waterfall) and passing up a waterfall is not in my DNA!
The remainder of the day was spent exploring & scouting. I intentionally allocated only one day in this area as I knew that to do Vermont & New Hampshire justice, one really needs to just book a couple of weeks and spend that time purely in the area! Returning to camp shortly before dusk, I cooked up dinner (Mountain House Beef Stroganoff with Noodles) and then started working on post-processing. To do this, my tent is an REI Kingdom 6 that is large enough to have a sleeping area and a living area. I have a Cabela’s folding rocking chair (Cabela’s Camp Rocker) that allows for comfortable sitting as I work through post-processing.
Another brisk morning greeted me as I awoke. Fortunately, my camp stove was nearby and in short order, I had my morning coffee ready (Starbucks VIA French Roast, 2 cups of water, ~1-1/2 min on the stove and voila…perfect coffee!!). Once cleaned up, I started the task of packing up for the next destination. Practice makes perfect and 15 minutes later, I was all packed up and ready to roll. I left the campground and made my way to Gorham, where I topped off the fuel.
Fuel topped off and a 2nd cup of coffee in-hand, I turned on to US-2 headed towards Acadia National Park. Along the way, there were a couple of scenic views that offered a glimpse of the fall foliage.
Getting close to Bangor, ME, I wanted to once again, top off my fuel before getting out to Acadia NP. I was amazed when I saw a Shell gas station in Newport, ME with 89 octane for 3.11 / gallon!! Fuel-up complete, I continued on to Acadia NP. This was one part of the trip I was very excited about, as I wanted to really have a good opportunity to scout the park as well as create images in a few locations. Like many of locations, Acadia National Park is not one that you can just book two or three days and feel like you have created all the images you need!
The three days I spent in Acadia National Park were a good start and I did manage to get a number of great images. The drive to the campsite was filled with gawking at the sights. Once I checked in, I had my choice of two campsites (even though I had a reservation, the Ranger gave me first dibs). I was amazed at how full the campground was (only Loop A was open, but still, 100% full).
Once I had my campsite set up, I began my exploring of Acadia NP. Headed towards Bar Harbor and quickly discovered that I had forgotten my National Geographic Trails Illustrated map at home in CO, so I had to go to the visitor center and pray I could pick up a replacement map. They did not have the Trails Illustrated version, but did have one that was waterproof and was actually more recent in cartography. Heading out of Bar Harbor, I saw this image and had to create an image!
Queen Mary 2 in Bar Harbor:
Like the majority of my trip so far, the fall foliage was still good in pockets, so I did not shoot sunrise from the summit of Cadillac Mountain, since the colors I did see were beyond peak and not good enough, in my opinion, to provide the quality of image(s) that I had hoped to create.
My first morning, I walked down the Ocean Path trail from Blackwoods Campground to create twilight & sunrise images of the Atlantic Ocean and the Acadia coastline. The last time I had been to the east coast for any substantial time was when I lived in York Beach, ME back in the mid-1980’s. Morning twilight & sunrise did not disappoint!!!
Morning Twilight over Otter Point:
Acadia Coastline (Hunters Head):
Once twilight and sunrise were over and I was satisfied with the work I had done so far, I trekked back to my campsite for breakfast and some coffee, before heading to Jordan Pond. Jordan Pond had a couple of pockets of good color for sure, but the one image that came out of that location that really make me happy was the Jordan Pond Nature Trail stone bridge!
Jordan Pond Nature Trail Bridge:
Standing on two rocks in the middle of the stream, with my tripod legs on the 2nd notch and only 2 leg sections extended, I was able to create an image that, to me, really evoked the feel of the location!
After Jordan Pond, I ventured around the Loop Road, exploring a variety of areas. With my fill of images for the day, I headed back to camp, had dinner and began post-processing.
The next morning, after cleaning up, having breakfast and laying out a plan. Plugged in my laptop to the built-in inverter in my 4Runner to recharge the laptop batter and began the drive over to Bass Harbor area, much to my dismay, road construction made the drive a real PITA. Seems like almost every road I drove was under construction, but what they heck, I was on my time so I relaxed and listened to some music as I waited with the rest of the traffic for our turn to continue!
Bass Harbor area is an area that I need to revisit (like the rest of Acadia NP). After getting my fill of the area, I headed back to camp to do post processing and relax.
The next morning, I got up and headed to Eagle Lake to create an image of the colors I had seen the day prior. The light was difficult to judge for this image:
Eagle Lake Reflections:
As I have said already, revisiting AcadiaNP when the foliage is just about peak would probably net a slightly better result, though I was thrilled to have decent reflection on the lake!
Leaving Eagle Lake, I headed to Bar Harbor to walk around and see what local flavor I could capture. Cruise Ships in the harbor made for a huge number of tourists paying way too much for knick-knacks, etc. but that’s tourism!!
My last night in Acadia…time just goes too darn fast. I cooked dinner, did post-processing and decided to go to bed early, as a Nor’easter was coming in dropping the temps a bit. I hoped the Nor’easter would hold off on the rain until after I had packed up in the morning. Luckily, it did and I was able to break down camp and pack up well ahead of the rain.
Once I got to Portland, the rain was coming in spurts and as I drove down the coastline near York Beach, it was pretty constant. Just as it was when I lived in York Beach (right across the beach), it seems the surfers love it when Nor’easter’s come in…
The rest of the drive to Boston (for a visit with my Aunt) was met with mixed rain, crazy drivers and memories of times in Boston when I lived in that part of the US. The visit with my Aunt was fantastic. It’d been quite some time since I had been to her house. Thoroughly enjoyed catching up, thanking her for the use of the cabin and such. Eventually my eyes would not stay open, so I headed off to bed.
The next morning, after cleaning up and getting some last conversation in with my Aunt, I departed so that I would have time to revisit an area of New England I had lived in for a period of time, en route to western Maryland. Again, a special acknowledgement to @jestheccc for motivation to write! More on the rest of that portion of the journey on Part III.