A drive up the Kancamagus Highway in New Hampshire during Fall is truly an experience of seeing one picture postcard view after another. Named after a Sagamore Indian Chief, this road follows the Swift River upstream, right into the heart of a countryside oozing with Autumn Colours.
Our first stop was at the Lower Falls on the Swift River. It is a very scenic spot; obviously so, judging by the number of serious photographers with cameras set up on tripods and trying to frame the exact view that they wanted to capture. It’s just bad luck when you finally have the perfect picture composed and a tour bus arrives with 50 people who get in the road to take travel snaps. The only peson who was not at all ruffled by all this was one solitary fly fisherman.
Further on, we stopped at a location known as Lincoln Woods and then at a point where several trailheads start and people go off hiking for the weekend. I spoke with one couple who were heading off to a back country campsite and wanted to know about how to deal with bears in the wilderness. Their answer seems quite simple and straight forward – cook at least 50 metres from your tent and hang your food from a tree overnight well away from where you are sleeping. I think I would rather deal with the snakes that we have in Australia on my bushwalking trips, than to come across a bear.
A little further along the road,we stopped for a view over the river valley toward the neighbouring mountain ranges. The colours on the range, as well as those along the road were stunning.
We had lunch at a lovely restaurant in the little town of Quechee in New Hampshire. It was owned by an ex Irishman named Simon Pearce, who is a master glass blower. They had a lovely restaurant where the highlight dish was cheese soup and then we had a tour of their glass blowing workshop. They are noted for making clear coloured glassware and employ a large number of glass bowers and apprentices. We bought a glass fir tree which we can make good use of as a centrepiece on our Christmas table.
Just down the road we stopped for a view of Quechee Gorge, but we were more taken by a group of primary children who were having a ‘bake sale’ to raise funds for their end of school year trip. These very entrepreneurial kids had besieged every vehicle that entered the car park with a request to visit their stall and buy something. I thought that they deserved a contribution and I wandered over and gave them a few dollars to help them on their way. I upset their whole sales system as all the kids gathered around as I asked questions about their sale. In the end one of the Mums told me that they were all engrossed in my accent and just wanted to hear me talk. I thought that I had better leave so that they could resume their sales operation and get back to making some more money.
Our last activity for the day, was to take a gondola ride up Loon Mountain before heading off to our hotel at Ludlow, Vermont. Loons are actually the state bird of Minnesota and have a very mournful cry. They must act in a rather silly way as a local expression is to be ‘as crazy as a Loon’.