Sunday, September 29, 2013

September 29, 2013

The leaves are just starting to turn around Lake Wicwas, but the weather has been so beautiful we had to take an early drive.  We ventured up to the Hemenway State Forest in Tamworth - an area we had never been to before.  It is a good size forest with very little human activity - we saw no one else while we were there.  We trekked up the short trail to the fire tower on Great Hill via the Betty Trail and found nice views of the White Mountains, Chocorua, Conway and Tamworth.
Mt. Chocorua from Great Hill in Hemenway State Park
Looking South from Great Hill
Yesterday we took a hike in our own backyard, and I think the leaves are farther along here than in Tamworth.  We went up to the White Mountain Ledge in the Hamlin/Eames/Smyth area, and had good views towards the Franconia Range, and Chocorua again!
Mt. Chocorua from the White Mountain Ledge
Mt. Lafayette and Mt. Lincoln
Along the way I found some ripe berries on an Indian Cucumber-root

and a new plant I haven't seen before, or perhaps more accurately, hadn't noticed before:

It is a Rattlesnake Plantain, and it isn't rare, perhaps just not very conspicuous.  It is an evergreen, and a member of the orchid family.  It has a distinctive appearance with many white veins throughout its leaves.

Looking in the other direction, this is all that's left of last week's Full Harvest Moon.

There has been a lot of talk this past week about the "under-cast" - lots of reports from the Mt. Washington Observatory showing clouds in the valley with the summit in the clear.  This same condition was present right at Lake Wicwas this morning, with fog over the lake, but the hill just a few hundred feet higher in the clear.
Under-Cast at Lake Wicwas

It was even more pronounced over Lake Winnisquam.

The radio tower and the tops of the trees on the hill along Parade Road were just poking up through the clouds as the sun was coming up.

I was at Crockett's Ledge before sunrise, and was able to witness the spectacle of the sun rising over and through the morning fog.
Sunrise from Crockett's Ledge

Fall in New Hampshire - this is why people come from around the world to visit see our special part of the planet.  Even without fall color, it's hard to beat.