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"Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird   
I would fly about the earth seeking successive autumns."
~ George Eliot
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 green.

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 elevations:



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 several places:

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 ago.


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 entryexploring the Adirondacks for the first time

Happy trails,

"Runtrails & Company" - Sue Norwood, Jim O'Neil, Cody the ultra Lab, and Casey-pup

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2014 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil