Seeking successive autumns . . .
That's what we're doing this fall -- trying to hit the
peak leaf colors as we travel from New England to Florida. (Yes,
northern Florida has enough deciduous trees and shrubs to produce some
pretty leaf colors in November and December.)
Above and below:
The trees along Zealand Road are
at or near their peak right now.
This morning Jim, the dogs, and I took the second hike at Pondicherry
Wildlife Refuge that I mentioned in the previous entry and saw some
beautiful autumn colors there.
This afternoon I did a solo hike to the summit of Middle Sugarloaf
Mountain to see how much the leaves have changed in that location, off
Zealand Road a few miles from our campground.
Our campground in Twin Mountain is
somewhere down there, as viewed from Middle Sugarloaf Mtn.
Jim, the dogs, and I hiked up this mountain in July when everything was
It was much prettier today with all the colorful maple and other leaves
from 1,653 feet elevation along the Zealand River and in the valleys to
2,517 feet at the summit. The trees were the most colorful at the lower
There was less color in the mile hike to the summit of Middle Sugarloaf.
I'd forgotten just how gnarly the trail was and how steep it is in
The area with the large boulders is fun, though:
The split boulder above is about 15 feet high. You can either walk
around the left side or squeeze-and-lean through the split.
I showed more views of this part of the trail in the July 27 entry. Here
are the most colorful views from today:
The effort to reach the top was well worth it, however. The
views from the rocky summit were superb in all directions. I loved all
the color in the valleys:
Above and below: Note the
little lake in the valley.
Close-up of the tree tapestry
After wandering around the summit taking photos I returned down to
the T where the trail splits between North
and Middle Sugarloaf Mountains. I've never been to North Sugarloaf
because it is mostly treed on top and doesn't have the panoramic views
that Middle Sugarloaf does.
However, I decided to hike there this time because it's only 3/10ths
of a mile to that summit from the T intersection. I turned around after
about 1/4 mile because of all the rocks:
I decided that wasn't worth the effort since I'd already seen
the views from nearby Middle Sugarloaf..
When I got back down to the trail along the river I turned left at
the intersection with the Trestle Trail and hiked it to the location of
the former trestle, which was washed out by high water several years
There is an interesting large boulder on this trail, too:
The trail on this side of the river stays pretty close to the river
but climbs about 100 feet above it, then drops back down to the water.
Signs at the trailhead notify hikers that the trestle has not been
rebuilt. I could see some of the old timbers lying on the boulders in
the river; I marked one with a red arrow below:
Although the water was fairly low I didn't cross to the path on the
other side. There were too many boulders to climb over and around.
I retraced my steps on the trail along the river to the parking area on
Zealand Road, admiring the colorful leaves along the way:
When I got back to the parking area I followed the trail on the other
side of the river to see if it connects to the trestle about a mile away.
I don't know. I turned around after half a mile because the trail was so far from the
river that I didn't have any good views of the water.
That was a beautiful hike, a fitting end to our time in New Hampshire
this summer and fall. This is our last full day in the White Mountains.
We're leaving just at or before the peak leaf color here:
Tomorrow we're heading across northern New Hampshire, Vermont, and
New York to the eastern side of the Adirondacks.
Our next campground is
about the same latitude and elevation as Twin Mountain so we're hoping to hit the peak
leaf color while we're there . . .
Next entry: exploring the Adirondacks for the first time
"Runtrails & Company" - Sue Norwood, Jim O'Neil,
Cody the ultra Lab, and Casey-pup
© 2014 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil