Images credit & copyright: Me. As always, feel free to use and abuse with credit.
Finally catching up on some edits from last week at the Crawford Notch State Park, New Hampshire so I thought I’d post a few. The day started with an afternoon arrival at the beautiful Crawford Depot (built in 1891) at the AMC Highland Center in Crawford Notch. I began my relatively low impact 1.7 mile hike up Mt. Willard while the Sun was high enough to deliver ample light. That way I had an opportunity to pick a few locations to shoot from without having to worry about nose diving off the cliff.
At only 2,864 ft. Mt. Willard is dwarfed by the surrounding 4,000 + ft. mountains of Webster (3,911 ft. close enough) and the Presidential Range to the left and Willey, Tom and Field to the right. After a quick eye of the area it was time to take in the scenery as the Sun set on the glacier carved landscape.
After returning from the top of Willard, I decided to take a trek down the tracks of the Conway Scenic Railroad for some shots along the tracks which came out pretty good but next time I’d like to get the Milky Way in a different position and probably travel further down the tracks as well.
My Crawford Notch adventure ended at the Willey House and pond. The Willey House is sort of a legend in the area as the Willey’s were a family that lived there until August 28, 1826 when, because of heavy rains and the swelling Saco River, they abandoned the house for a rock shelter up the hill. That decision would cost the family their lives as a landslide killed them all and ironically, spared the very house they fled from. The scar of the landslide, today known as the Willey Slide is a popular climbing location in the area.
I hope you like these images and if you’re ever in the area let me know, I’m always looking for a clear night under the universe.
NOTE: I’d be remiss if I didn’t talk about night hiking for at least a minute. Far too many people die in New Hampshire’s White Mountains every year and almost all are preventable. There are moose, bears, cliffs, sudden and wild weather changes and if you find yourself in any of these situations while injured, your chances of survival plummet rapidly. A good rule of thumb is, “Don’t be an idiot.” If you don’t hike during the day, stay off the trails at night. Also, by hike, I don’t mean trail and nature walks, I mean hiking with decent elevation changes for long distances. If you hike mountains and you’re prepared, give it a shot. If the extent of your hiking is afternoon trail walks at your local park, stay off mountain trails at night.
Mountain hiking means that going uphill is vastly different than coming downhill and both can kill you easily, especially at night. Even if it’s dry, as soon as you walk through a small puddle rocks and roots become ice-like for the next few minutes, especially coming down. Know your colors! Trails are all color coded and blazed on sporadic rocks and trees along the way, keep them in sight. Know your sky! If you know where local roads, rivers and towns are in relation to you, you should never get lost. Sun, Moon and stars all travel the same path so a little knowledge can help you find any direction at any time. Even on short hikes, bring some water and a couple snacks, something to start a fire and a headlamp with fresh batteries for starters. Also make sure someone knows where you plan on going.
NH Notches: New Hampshire’s notches are all beautiful locations. Franconia Notch, Crawford Notch, Pinkham Notch and Dixville Notch among others are deep narrow, roughly north/south valleys in mountain ranges that were carved out as the last ice age receded. Large boulders, known as glacial erratics cover the landscape. These are boulders that were deposited from another location by ice age glaciers as they receded. Some notables are The Cannon, Boise Rock and Madison Boulder which at 12 million pounds is thought to be the largest glacial erratic in North America.
I always find it amazing when discussing the Ice age because just like your kayak the more weight you have in it, the lower it sits on the water. That also applies to the ground we walk on. We’re basically floating on a planet of liquid rock and metal. Well, in Crawford Notch for example, as the mile high ice sheets crawled along the land, the ground underneath it actually sat about 500 ft. lower than it does today. This was less pronounced near the coastlines. As the ice sheets receded, the land rebounded “post-glacial rebound” into its current position and where the ice is melting, that’s still occurring today and it actually speeds Earth’s rotation slightly. Overall the Earth’s rotation is slowing due to tidal friction but rebound helps curb it ever so slightly.