WHERE MY PEEPERS AT?
although tim and i had gotten pretty good at cold-weather camping and the temperatures in new england weren’t too difficult to deal with, it was clear that summer had relinquished its hold on the landscape. the leaves, once merely edged in gold and crimson, were becoming prisms; shards of color. we began our journey south, attempting to stay ahead of winter’s hem.
and like a slow wave of transformation, the foliage followed us. for what felt like months, we drove through, hiked amongst, and camped in peak fall foliage. from acadia national forest to the loblolly stands of north carolina, we were caught in the swirl of nature’s kaleidoscope.
what follows are a series of quicktime virtual reality files. how they work is this: click on the empty square and an image will load. once it appears, click and drag on the image to rotate through a full 360-degrees. if you would like to zoom in to check out a detail (tim brushing his teeth, or a partially obscured sign, for example) click the + and – buttons which appear on the bottom of the image.
1. baystate village, ma ~ this beautiful backyard belongs to two of my closest friends, brooksley and ezra. we’ve been lucky enough to crash here several times on the endless road trip and it’s always a wonderful time.
2. atlantic oaks campground, eastham ma ~ we camped out at this campground just before it closed for the season. it was almost completely abandoned, and our campfire felt like the only one for miles.
3. dingmans falls, delaware water gap recreation area ~ we stumbled across this beautiful hike almost by accident. how could we resist the pull of a place called dingmans falls?
4. harpers ferry national historic park, harpers ferry wv ~ tim and spent our 5th anniversary here. it was chilly, rainy and gray, but we still had a great (and very educational) time.
5. bears den hostel, bluemont va ~ we were lucky enough to find this remarkably charming hostel on a night that was too cold for camping. definitely one of the best hostels i’ve ever been to.
6. fort raleigh national historic site, manteo nc ~ got another national park passport stamp here and wandered around the grounds. next time, i want to see a performance of the lost colony, the nation’s premier and longest-running symphonic drama!
7. the elizabethan gardens, manteo nc ~ right next door to fort raleigh, this is a most beautiful formal garden. it’s just gorgeous here.
8. jones lake state park, elizabethtown nc ~ another happy accident brought us to the shores of jones lake. we spent several days and nights here, the only campers in an expansive and luxurious campground.
9. morrow mountain state park, albemarle nc ~ gosh, just another gorgeous campground we stayed at. the place was simply teeming with deer. we ate many meals surrounded by wandering herds of these usually timid beasts. the tourists insisted upon feeding them, which seemed like a terrible idea to me. cut it out, people!
FOOD PARTY OR DIE!
one of the dangers of the endless road trip is that whenever we visit friends and/or family, folks are inclined to show us a good time by making us a delicious meal or taking us to their favorite restaurant. this can lead to a non-stop food party. and while i surely enjoy all of the wonderful, tasty, satisfying food, there have definitely been times — just a few, mind you — when i have been inclined to over indulge. damn you herrell’s!
after coming off of our latest vermont food party, some physical activity was definitely in order. there are only so many blocks of grafton extra-sharp cheddar cheese seconds one can down without beginning to feel a bit lactose intolerant. so. we headed from quechee, vt to the northern end of the white mountains of new hampshire for a few days of camping. the cold temperatures helped us burn through some calories, but really, we had a lot of making up to do. first up, an exhilarating and bracing 14-mile bike ride (7 miles uphill; 7 miles down) along the franconia notch bike trail. we stopped and paid our tributes to the old man of the mountain and watched a group of school kids swim (in 50 degree temperature mind you!) in echo lake. crazy kids and their crazy music!
next, a 7-mile hike to and from the zealand falls hut. if that’s not cardiovascular exercise, i don’t know what is. and happily, my 39-year old body leapt to both challenges with nary a complaint. not that i should be overly proud of my accomplishment. mazy’s 84 years old in human years and she did the hike naked and without shoes!
so now that that’s all over with, i say bring on the next food party!