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New England Foliage Blog

Peak Foliage in Northern NH, Part 1

Sugar Hill is in glorious color

by Jeff "Foliage" Folger

Segment hiker
Credit: Jeff Folger

Sandy Stott of Concord MA, a segment hiker of the Appalachian Trail and School teacher

Beaver Pond reflection
Credit: Jeff Folger

Reflection of the far trees in a perfectly still body of water is always my favorite. The water was soon churned up by winds.

Far trees in color
Credit: Jeff Folger

The far bank in color reflecting back.

water fall blur
Credit: Jeff Folger

Blurring the water gives a sense of movement to your image.

painted leaves
Credit: Jeff Folger

White birch and color

Swiftwater Covered Bridge
Credit: Jeff Folger

The first in a series of bridges this day. The first view is always a end shot and lucky for me there was a tree in color here.

Way Station
Credit: Jeff Folger

The Swiftwater Way Station.

Swimming hole view
Credit: Jeff Folger

What the kids see all summer minus the colorful maples.

Upstream view
Credit: Jeff Folger

I traveled up a small feeder brook to get this angle...

Greetings foliage seekers!

Northern New Hampshire color report

I had left Salem at 4:30AM and drove with a mission to arrive in Lincoln as the sun or at least the light was getting brighter. Once there I stopped at a convenience store and met a gentleman shouldering a huge back pack. I talked to Sandy Stott for a few minutes and he told me he had just finished a walk that had started down in Massachusetts and for the last two weeks he had been walking the trail.

The trail was a segment of the Appalachian Trail and he had just hit his turn around point. I asked if he was walking back now and he said he was only here to catch a bus back to Boston. He said the change in color was amazing between VT and NH and how much more vibrant NH color was. He said the best thing about the trip was the slowing of the pace of his days. Your whole outlook changes when you are hiking with 50lbs on your back and you take things slower and more deliberately.

I can now say that I'm no longer a moose spotting virgin!

I saw my first Moose (after almost five yrs) in the median around exit 29 on I-93. A big bull with a big rack just standing there munching on greens. I was flying by and he was just a glimpse. He was only my first this day. I saw a female a little later on the side of the road and before I could get my camera out she was gone into the woods, unlike the male who didn't care if I saw him or not.

Not for the first time this day I changed my route (I was heading to Littleton) and headed to Woodstock on 112 west. I continued on 112 and it was still very cloudy with rain threatening. This was supposed to be partly cloudy today and it drizzled a good portion of it.

In the Lost River area on 112 there was a little more leaf loss so this weekend 3/4 will be the tail end of this area (probably)

I was traveling in the Blue Ridge area when I came down a hill with a totally still pond to my left (Beaver Pond) and luckily there is a very nice parking lot and pull out there. The water was like glass with fog wisps floating in the trees on the far side of the pond.

Not content to just take pictures here and move on, I walked a short distance to the runoff for the pond and followed it down a ways to see if I could get some good waterfall shots. The key (to me) for good waterfall shots is to have your camera on a tripod and close the aperture very small which allows in only a little light. This means the shutter will stay open longer like a half second or more. The longer, the more blur you will get with the water. The trees and the rocks will all be sharp and in focus but the water will smooth out into a ribbon of white. If you get a breeze and all those colored leaves move then that's good also. They will blur into less distinct colors.

I continued...

up 112 toward Swiftwater and I pulled over at the Swiftwater Way Station. I talked to Winny, who was manning the counter and she told me that the first bridge of the day was 2/10th of a mile ahead and it had parking on the far side of the bridge. I found the parking as she noted and proceeded to shoot it from both ends and then I went exploring.

I will always say to do your exploring with safety in mind.

I went down a path that led to the lower side of the bridge and a swimming area for kids during the summer. I always look for different angle to shoot something that has had hundreds, if not thousands, of photos taken of it. I want to try to make it unique to me. So I also went to the other side, which wasn't as easy and walked up a little brook that feed into the river and caught the last shot of the bridge for the day which was good because the Yankee tour bus just pulled up and a million tourists just got off with their Instamatic's.

I'll end this for now but it's only part 1 and I have much more to tell you about this one day trip. I realize that you need the trip routes so I will say I followed these roads (112 west of I-93 to routes 116, 117, 118 and 302 you will find great color. Also if you get up to the area of Sugar Hill (route 117) make sure you travel down Easton road to Toad hill and then back up South rd to the main road.


I don't recommend anyone driving as far as I do. I do it to get foliage reports for you and 400 miles in a day is rough on these old bones. I still recommend that you pick a base of operations to explore from and then learn every road, mountain view and pond in the area.

I also found a few covered bridges in that area that I hadn't photographed before and one that wasn't! ### You'll see what I mean if you come back and keep reading my blog.

I would love to hear from you as to whether you and you can leave a comment here or drop me a note over in the foliage forum.

Jeff "Foliage" Folger

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Please Note: This article was accurate at the time of publication. When planning a trip, please confirm details by directly contacting any company or establishment you intend to visit.

Reader Comments

Comment from Tyler Clement on October 2, 2008

Jeff, Thanks for the update and your wonderful photos! We especially loved the ones of Beaver Pond and the covered bridge with the small waterfall. Colors look lovely. We are certain that there will still be plenty of leaves left next week. We will be in Plymouth, Cape Cod, central MA and the Quiet Corner of CT the 13-18th. What is the forecast for color in those areas?

Kathy and Tyler

Comment from Jeff Folger on October 3, 2008

Iris said she saw good color in the Carver area but I think that it's limited so far to spots of color. I saw a report of good color in the Berkshires but they are at much higher elevation so they should change earlier. I'm due to be out in that area Columbus Day weekend after spending Sat going up to Highgate and then Sunday driving all the way down to the Petersham area of MA... I think by the 13-18th you will see really good color in CT/MA/RI... If all things remain decent weather wise...

Comment from Jeff Folger on October 3, 2008

Oh, as good as these pictures are wait till you see the rest... they get better because the sun popped out once or twice... Sugar hill was incredible!!

Comment from Tyler Clement on October 3, 2008

Thanks, Jeff! We can't tell you how much we appreciate your reports on color and activities going on in our favorite area of the country. We look forward to meeting you in Manchester on the 9th.

Comment from Mary Jo Mappe on October 4, 2008

Yeah, Jeff, thanks for the beautiful pictures... they're great. I agree with Tyler on the two favorites. We will follow your advice on the Sugar Hill area as that is always the first place we head and hopefully we won't be too late. Also appreciate the Route 112 and Beaver Pond advice... we'll try that also. If the foliage is already gone from the trees up there, I'll just take lots of "on the ground" and "in the water" type pictures. I like those too. Looking forward to the rest of your pictures.

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