Some lingering autumn color and a warm sunny day with a hint of crispness in the air . . . now that is my idea of hiker heaven!
It was that magical combination that Steve & I experienced when doing a leisurely duet of hikes in Evans Notch.
When we arrived at the trailhead, there was still some morning mist lingering about (as seen in the photo below).
Our first hike of the day involved a loop hike over Pine Hill and Lord Hill via the Conant Trail in a counterclockwise manner. As has been reported by others, there is a portion of the south segment of the Conant Trail that is flooded, presumably due to beaver activity. The flooding extended for quite a distance on either side of the trail corridor. Rather than go wading, we opted instead to bushwhack a wide arc around this area.
I became so focused on finding a workaround that I totally forgot to take a snapshot of the flooded section of trail. However, Steve did take a photo which is shown below.
The remainder of the loop was smooth sailing (no pun intended). There were large sections of trail where the lighting and the autumn foliage combined to emerge us in a bronze-colored world!
When we arrived at the ledges on Pine Hill, we were treated to a display of color that was completely different from the bronze-world we had experienced en route. There was an awesome combination of a misty undercast, plus bright autumn colors, and a brilliant blue sky. Some samples of this colorful view are shown below in the snapshots below (one is looking directly toward the Baldfaces , and the other is looking at peaks south of the Baldfaces).
After lingering for awhile to enjoy the views from the Pine Hill ledges, we continued onward toward Lord Hill. Along the way, we made a short side trip to take a look at the mineral mine. Nope! We didn't take time to do any mining!
Once we got to Lord Hill, the display of autumn color continued to make itself known. In the foreground and off to our left, Adams Mountain and Styles Mountain still had some nice color. On the horizon and to the right of our viewing area was the massive cliff face on Red Rock Mountain (I've never been there, but it's high on the list!).
Directly beneath our perch on the Lord Hill ledges, there was Horseshoe Pond. Its cobalt-blue color was a sharp contrast to the surrounding orange-red forest.
After completing the Conant Trail loop, there was still a bit of time left over to do another short hike. We opted to trek up the White Cairn Trail to the first viewpoints on Blueberry Mountain. As anyone knows who has hiked this trail, there is a very steep section on the final approach to the ledges. Well, if you haven't recently hiked this trail, then you're in for a pleasant surprise. A crew has recently completed the construction of a long stone staircase for that section of trail. It's a truly remarkable piece of work.
The photo below was taken from the top of this rock staircase looking downward toward the woods far below. However, this snapshot doesn't even come close to doing it justice. It's one of those things that you need to experience to appreciate.
By the time we arrived at the first viewpoints on Blueberry Mountain, the clouds had thickened and the sun was low in the sky. The snapshot below is the best I could do given the lighting conditions.
Autumn is by far my favorite season of year. As soon as it ends, I'm already looking forward to the next autumn.