Tuesday, October 10, 2006

New Hampshire - turning over a new leaf..

After watching movies like "Autumn in New York" and scores of others, for the first time, I could see, touch and breathe the essense of this season. For me, it was simply heaven. And thats where we had been. Up north, crossing through New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and finally New Hampshire, where fall comes alive. The whole North Eastern region, including states like Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and others is collectively called "New England". Here, given the way it grows colder after summer heading into winter, they can predict where and when, fall would be at its best. In plain terms, the period when greens would be less, more of reds and yellows, and more of trees full of leaves as against limbs.

And this sudden burst of colours is seen to be believed. The whole world is splattered with all kinds of hues of magenta and marigold, orange and ochre, vermillion and warm brown, with a dash of green leaves and spotless blue skies! The pristine air (the chilliness adding to the freshness) was just perfect for the weekend. 65 F and nice and bright and sunny. Even Mt. Washington, known to have the worst, most unpredictable weather in the world, had 100% visibility! So you can gauge our fate! :) It was soaring!

We set off on the 6th October with a drive of about 400 miles to our destination. After resting the night on the outskirts, we were all set for the day. A brief halt at the visitor's center, and we learnt that we were there on the most perfect weekend. There we traversed a very beautiful scenic route, the "Kancamagus Highway" which is lined on both sides by hillocks covered in desiduous and coniferous trees, springs and streams, cascading over rocks into small falls, and plenty and plenty of foliage on the brink of turning bare! Our first day, we stopped by quite a few spots for greedily feasting on all the beauty. There was Lincoln Woods, Lily Pond, Sabbaday and Hoover falls and other tinny tiny ones dotting the meandering road. The trip ended on our trip to Mt. Washington, the tallest peak in all of New England (6,288 ft). After quite a wait, and loads of instructions as to how not to get the car heated on the way up and brakes heated on the way down, we were prepared for our ascent. We were given a CD to listen to, giving the mountain's history. And did we learn some fabulous facts! The road that was built to take you up to the summit, was built almost 150-200 years back, and still stands good, with the engineers today finding no flaw in its design! There is a 3-miles railway line laid called the "Cog Railway" all the way from the base to the very top! This summit recorded the highest possible wind ever on the surface of the earth - a whooping 231 mph. No wonder the Auto Log stage cabin was chained to the ground! And there was ice lying around in the day time! :)) Sigh! We indeed felt on top of the world!

Our next day was a ride to another zenith, the third highest peak in this region called "Cannon Mountain". We took an aerial tramway (something on the lines of a cable car, but much larger) up to the top. Some real fabulous mountain slopes could be seen, all covered in reds and oranges and yellows. A small ribbon road could be seen, making its way through all the rugged terrain. The whole world was ablaze! After some trail walking and soaking in the beauty, we made our way down. Our next stop was to a natural creation called "The Flume". The flume is actually a narrow riverbed gorge. It got created due to the lava flowing in from below and filling into the crevices and cracks, separating the 2 plates underground, later to be washed away and leaving a wide gap between 2 rocks. Its almost an 800 ft long valley set in the White Mountains National Forest. It was a picturesque 3 miles long trail, amidst the forested maples and birches and oaks and cherries. I collected some fall leaves of various shades and sizes, just to see them wilt away in no time.

I possibly cant imagine nature getting any more beautiful than this. The sheer loveliness simply takes your breath away.

Till some new place to taste and experience. Cheerio!