I grew up in the Pacific Northwest, and therefore I have an affinity for any photos that combine mountains and water. No matter where you are in the region, be it Oregon, Washington or British Columbia, you’re bound to find a mountain view from a body of water, and the sight is just as striking every single time. In this photo, Flickr user James Wheeler takes us to the Fraser River in British Columbia, where we get an excellent shot of Mount Baker. As you can see, in this corner of the world it doesn’t always rain.
Autumn, when people travel to the Northeast and Northwest to view colorful fall foliage areas of the United States, peaks around Columbus Day weekend (October 5-8). In many areas, this year’s foliage is in looks to be better and more vibrant than last year. After a dry, hot summer trees will begin to turn color in the next few weeks.
“Hardwood foliage appears to be in better-than-average condition, overall,” says Bill Ostrofsky, a forest pathologist at the Maine Forest Service on Maine Foliage, the state of Maine’s official fall foliage website. “There have been no occurrences of serious or widespread insect defoliation, so to date the Maine forest has the potential to have a great season this year.”
If a road trip, tour or cruise for fall foliage season or just a nice hike in the woods is in your plans, here are some places not to miss.
Camden Hills State Park provides spectacular views of fall foliage available from a road that goes to the top of Mt. Battie, as well as from hiking trails on Mt. Megunticook and Bald Rock Mountain.
Grafton Notch State Park, in Maine’s western viewing area, has roadside turnouts, picnic areas and trails that offer excellent views of the Mahoosuc Mountains and the Presidential Range. Trails lead to popular lookouts, such as the Eyebrow and Table Rock, and trails and lookouts on the Bureau of Parks and Lands’ Mahoosuc Management Unit.The city of Kent, Connecticut was voted “Favorite Foliage Town” in a poll conducted by YankeeFoliage.com, Yankee Magazine’s fall foliage website. A drive to Lake Waramaug is one of several suggested fall foliage-driving tours.
Chatfield Hollow State Park (Killingworth), also in Connecticut, offers Indian caves, wooded trails and jagged rocky ledges fill the park. Oak, beech and hickory trees bring out the best colors of fall and are the perfect setting for a peaceful picnic.
Dinosaur State Park (Rocky Hill) is a good choice for some family action. Kids will love hiking along the wooded trails of the park and seeing Jurassic-period dinosaur tracks that date back 200 years.
Wadsworth Falls State Park (Middletown) offers reddish-brown rocks tinged with green that amplify the fall colors in this hideaway tucked between Middletown and Middlefield. Travelers can enjoy a hike through wooded trails with meandering streams, a covered bridge and waterfalls.
In the Northwest U.S., the state of Washington suggests the Washington Park Arboretum, Mount Baker and Mount Rainier as good choices for fall color. They have a toll-free hotline for more information (1-800-354-4595).
Flickr photo by ra_hurd
Mt. Baker, in Washington’s northern Cascades is a lesser-known gem of a ski area, and well worth the trip. About three hours by car north from Seattle, this is pure skiing country: no frills, no megaresorts, no pretense. In fact, there is no real estate sold around the ski area and it it has no overnight accommodation. And best of all? Mt. Baker has had the record for the world’s biggest recorded snowfall: 1140 inches (1999). Heck, they average 647 inches per year.
Although it’s been a few years since I’ve been there, I can attest to being nearly alone on the mountain, sun-drenched and literally waist-deep in incredible, fresh powder. All this, while paying under $40 for a lift ticket, and avoiding the (kinda) nearby crowds of Whistler.
Do me a favor. Don’t tell your friends about this place.