Sunday, October 08, 2006

The Annual Fall Foliage Tour

Eustis Ridge, Maine (Fall 1998)

One of the perogatives of age is the right to traditions. We have many in our family and one of my favorites is the trip we take on the first Friday of each October to "leaf-peep." Living in Maine means we don't have to board one of those monster tour busses and listen to some tourguide prattle on while we gaze through tinted windows and crawl along the main highways. Nope, no interstate for us. We take the less travelled back roads, find some isolated scenic spot for a picnic lunch and meander leisurely through some of the most beautiful country in the world. Brendan
painstakingly plots our trip, poring over the DeLorme Atlases for Maine and New Hampshire, looking for a route we haven't taken before where the foliage is scheduled to be at its peak.

He packs some bagels and a picnic lunch and we're off. I bring my knitting, my camera and some CD's to listen to in the car. My coffee is in a travel mug to minimize the need to stop...because, of course, that is a situation to be avoided at all costs.

Now that scientists are beginning to crack the code of the Human genome, perhaps I might make a request on behalf of women all over the world. Can they study the reason why when men are driving they absolutely refuse TO STOP THE CAR! It does seem to be a trait linked to the Y chromosome so there must be some kind of genetic marker. It is closely related to the male refusal to ask directions, probably because it requires them to STOP THE CAR to do so.

As we are driving through some spectacular countryside, I notice some great photo possibilities. This is a typical conversation that ensues:

Me: Wow! Look at the deep red of that tree. That would be a pretty picture.
Brendan: Which one?
Me: (pointing) that one right there. (I start to pull my camera out.)
Brendan: (as we whiz past it) Oh, yeah, it's beautiful.
Me: I have the camera right here.
Brendan: (glancing in the rearview mirror) Yeah, it would be a great shot. The reds seem to be particularly vibrant this year.
Me: (sigh) yeah, they are.

Do we stop? NOOOOOOOO! It's almost as if the car CAN'T we might blow up or something if we do stop.

So, the pictures must wait until we have reached our picnic spot.

This year we drive up to the Evans Notch area of New Hampshire and find a beautiful little state park called Moose Brook State Park for our picnic. It is a gorgeous day. We have brought Isla with us and we have the park to ourselves.

Such a pretty little pond

Waiting patiently for some cheese and crackers

A gorgeous day for a picnic. (By the way, I made Brendan's sweater and, although it is MANY sizes too big...another example of my math deficiency...he LOVES it!)

We stay there for over an hour, until the fall chill overwhelms the warmth of the sun. Brendan and Isla walk and explore while I knit. We have wonderful turkey pesto sandwiches with roasted red peppers on delicious focaccia from Standard Baking. Brendan has made some delicious brownies for dessert. Even Isla gets some treats.

On our drive home we actually see a moose! There are a number of cars pulled off the road as we approach and my first thought is that someone has been in an accident. Brendan first notices the large female moose standing just off the road at the edge of some woods. I would love to take a picture but Brendan is concerned that there are too many people there obviously upsetting the moose so we keep going. Had I known it was there in advance I could have had my camera ready. Oh, well.

It is a beautifully crisp fall day with plenty of warm sunshine. The vibrant colors as well as the early lengthening shadows remind us that autumn is definitely upon us and will soon give way to winter. As we travel those quiet back roads we speculate on how the people who choose to live there must have to cope with the harsh weather and isolation. The fully stocked woodsheds and satelite dishes attached to the modest homes evoke images of snowbound days and nights with well-stocked pantries and freezers. We find ourselves envious of the simplicity of that lifestyle: no rush-hour commute, city noise, work-related stress. Retirement is beginning to look more and more attractive!

But today, it is back to Portland and our responsibilities there. Glad to have had the chance to slow down for a day, we head home to enjoy the weekend before returning to the daily schedule.

Here are some shots from previous foliage trips. They remind us of one of the many reasons we have come to love Maine so.

Barn on Hancock Point 1999

Fall in Hiram

Brendan and Lady at
Flagstaff Lake

"Winter is an etching;
Spring a watercolor;
Summer an oil painting;
And Autumn a mosaic of them all."
-- Stanley Horowitz

1 comment:


We took the same drive yesterday! Tom came home early from work and took me out to leaf peep. The drive was just gorgeous. Great minds think alike! Sue