There’s Just Something About Autumn

Isn’t this time of year wonderful? Autumn has always been a favorite for me. For one thing, I have loved the color orange. Vibrant, cheerful…what’s not to love? So, when the trees turn various shades of orange and pumpkins show up all over the place, it just brings a smile to my face. My usual walks in the woods become more glorious, colorful and crisp. The nights are cooler inviting me to sip on hot tea. The sunsets seem more spectacular. So, here are just some of my favorite Autumn photos that I have taken through the years. Enjoy! What do you like about Fall?

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Tarnished Gold

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Autumn Window

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See more beautiful Fall photos here: Leaf Peeping in New Hampshire

Leaf Peeping in New Hampshire..And More

The beauty that surrounded me in New Hampshire brought to mind two lines from a song I love: “With all creation I sing praise to the King of Kings.” The leaves were just a bit farther along than they had been while we were in Maine. I can’t imagine how spectacular it must be in the height of the Fall colors. But it didn’t matter. Everywhere I looked, I saw majesty. The White Mountains were a wonderful backdrop for the trees that turned early.

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Three days were not near enough to experience that wonder of the White Mountains. There are over 1200 miles of trails! But we still fit a lot into our days in New Hampshire including several waterfalls. Arethusa Falls was one that I was excited to visit since I had seen photos of it. We arrived at the parking lot and saw a sign warning that the 1.5 mile hike to the falls would take an hour and a half one way so it should not be started close to sunset.  We usually take our time on hikes stopping for geocaches and photos as well as just breaks for soaking in the surroundings. And I knew I wanted to take photos at the waterfall. But we figured out the time and when sunset would occur and decided to go for it. We passed several people coming back down and one woman even warned us that we wouldn’t make it. She hoped we had flashlights. Well, we didn’t. I had great motivation to keep going even though the path was quite strenuous, at least for me. Finally, we made it to the Arethusa Falls.

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It was pretty, but not what I was expecting. Not much water flowed over the tiered rocks. Someday, I’ll make that trek again, hopefully when there is more water. That night I slept really well and the next day we were off again, to Tuckerman Ravine.

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My new best friends were my Keen hiking boots and a walking stick! Even so, I needed to keep a constant watch where I was stepping or I would have tripped. The rocks were fascinating though. New Hampshire is known as the Granite State and while on the tour up Mt. Washington, our guide laughed when someone asked if the rocks they saw were granite. “You would think so,” she exclaimed, “but there are a lot more of these rocks than granite. They are called mica schist. But for some reason no one wanted to call it the Mica Schist State.” And mica schist sure was plentiful!

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See the large, shiny flakes in the rock? That’s mica. As I walked along, carefully choosing my steps, the path glittered under my feet. It’s a wonderful feeling to be surrounded by bling!!

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Took a bit of time to enjoy the flowers and then it was off for some geocaches. There was one in Jackson which led us to this covered bridge.

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This photo would have been quite different if I had known the bridge’s nickname. You would have had to put up with a photo of Matt and I smooching in front of the bridge, also known as “Honeymoon Bridge.” Locals have a tradition of having their photo taken here on their wedding day. It wasn’t our wedding day, but we are still honeymooners! We enjoyed finding the geocache in the middle of the bridge but there were more just through it.

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Jackson Falls were spread out glory! We kept driving around and stopping for more geocaches.

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He found the cache! Isn’t he one good-looking geocacher?! That was the end of another day. But we still had one more day in NH to enjoy it’s beauty. We decided to drive the Kancamagus Highway, famous for spectacular views.

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Oh, what a joy!

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Can’t get much better than that! We continued driving, stopping, ooooing and awwwwing. But another geocache was up ahead. When we pulled over for this one, we found a young man stopped there. He asked if we would take his photo.

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Travis had been biking for quite some time since he had started in Seattle Washington! His goal was to cycle from the Pacific coast to the Atlantic. I have a feeling he made it! Travis watched in amusement as we entered the nearby woods and starting poking around. Finally, he couldn’t keep from asking, “Did you lose something?” Matt was more than willing to explain geocaching to him. It got the best of him and before we knew it, Travis was looking for the cache too. He was quite amused when he saw the small box containing trinkets and a log book. As we hopped back into Sherman, Travis called out, “It’ll be your fault if I never make it to the Atlantic because I’m looking for geocaches!” Nice to know we had such a good influence.DSC_8840 2

I have two more adventures from New Hampshire to tell you about. Next time!

Color on Mount Washington

How did I not know about the White Mountains in New Hampshire? I’m a mountain girl. Just love them. So, when my friend, Patti, posted beautiful photos of mountains in New Hampshire I knew I had to go there. Since we were already going north to Maine, we decided to go ahead and stop in New Hampshire. Besides, Matt needed geocaches in that state too. The drive from Bar Harbor to Shelburne, New Hampshire went great. I was thankful that we hadn’t run into any moose. The signs along the way were quite startling.DSC_8608 2

I kept wondering, “Who wouldn’t brake for a moose?” I pictured someone saying, “Wow! A moose! Let’s hit it!” Well, we arrived safely to our campsite at the Timberland Campground and Matt was eager to find a NH geocache. He found one right by the campground sign and relaxed in a nearby chair to sign the log book.DSC_8357 3

Oh, I laughed! He looked so funny sitting there. We strolled around the campground and by the nearby river until it was time for bed. We had plans to ascend Mount Washington the next day. I’d love to say that we now have a bumper sticker that says, “This car climbed Mt.Washington,” but Sherman was too big to be allowed up the mountain. Since I doubted that anyone would let us borrow their car, we took a guided tour in a van. As much as I would have loved to drive up ourselves, our tour guide was full of interesting information and fun too. My only wish was that we would have stopped to take photos. Instead I took some out the window. One of the people on the tour with us wondered why there wasn’t snow on Mt. Washington since it was part of the White Mountains. I thought it would be snow covered too, but our guide told us that the rock on these mountains had mica in it. This would shimmer and people called the mountains white because of the mica.  She explained that while we were there, we would see many different colors on this White Mountain. Berries were hanging in clusters.DSC_8376 2

Lower on the mountain, deciduous trees and evergreens were mixed.  The leaves were just beginning to turn lovely colors and they made the mountain look polka-dotted among the pine trees. DSC_8378 2

Our guide explained that the further we ascended, the more the landscape would change. Soon it was all evergreen trees and they became shorter and shorter.DSC_8381 2

She pointed out that then the trees would disappear. A ground cover was in bloom and she called the color moave (with a long o). I had never heard mauve pronounced that way! DSC_8388 2

Another way to enjoy Mt. Washington is to ride the Cog Railroad. As we rounded a corner, we had a lovely view of the train against the mountains.DSC_8397 2

Finally, we arrived at the top and I was able to take photos without a window in the way. We were blessed with an amazingly clear day and the view was spectacular! It was 45 degrees with wind speeds of 45 mph. There were some gusts of about 60 mph. Mt. Washington is known for dangerous weather. It’s worst recorded wind gust is 231 mph! Thankfully, it was not that way on our day there!

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At the summit, it was so barren. It almost seemed like something from outer space. Who would have guessed there would be a hotel in such a place? The Tip Top House was built in 1853 and was indeed used as a hotel. It is now a museum showing what it would have been like to stay there.

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People stay year round on the summit, but not in the Tip Top House. Someone has to man the observatory at all times. I just cannot imagine being up there in the extreme winter weather. See the green rocks? Lichen is the only thing that grows up there.

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Even on our nice day, the wind was strong enough to hold the flags straight out! And when I had Matt pose for a photo in one spot, it was difficult to stand still enough to take the shot because of gusts.

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The mountains went on and on and on…

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We watched the Cog Railroad train go back down the mountain. It was tempting to come another day and take the train. But we only had so many days and lots more to do in New Hampshire. I had heard there were some waterfalls to see! But look at all the lovely colors on the mountains.

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Mount Washington was all it was cracked up to be!

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When we came back down, we found Sherman pouting at the base of the mountain. Still wish we could have driven up the mountain ourselves. Maybe next time!

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Mainely Done

There is still so much to say about Maine. I don’t want to be done with Maine and instead would love to go back! But I promise this will be the last Maine post. I still want to tell you about New Hampshire and Vermont. So, with this post I will be Mainely done. I say that with a smile. As we drove around we kept seeing signs with the same wording. The first one seemed quite original, “Mainely Art.” I wondered what else they had and groaned at the “Maine”ly pun. But as we stayed on in Maine driving from Boothbay to Bar Harbor, we saw more and more of these, Mainely Lumber, Mainely Seafood, Mainely Autos, etc. Seems these Maine folks had a sense of humor. Soon we came to the Penobscot Narrows BridgeDSC_7797 2

We saw a sign that explained that this bridge has an observatory. It is, in fact, the only bridge observatory in the United States. I love things like this, so we turned down the street towards the parking area. I should say, “I” turned down the street since I was driving. It was a sharp right turn, so I swung really wide. We got part way through the turn and something went wrong. It felt to me that the truck tires had sunk into a deep pothole. But I hadn’t seen any holes! I tried, but the rig would not move. It is quite disconcerting to be in mid turn with a truck and camper that totals 50 feet and not be able to move. Thankfully, Matt was able to figure out that the 5th wheel’s emergency brake cable had been crimped in the hitch which deployed the brake. Seems we have a well working emergency brake on the camper! He had to actually elevate the camper in order to move the cable and when the brake released, the camper lurched. Oh my. It was a bit scary to me. But we got moving again and found the only spot in the parking lot for a rig like ours.DSC_7830 2

The view from the observatory was worth the stop but it was time to move on to Bar Harbor. When we arrived at our campground, we learned another new term: leaf peepers.DSC_8341

Our trip was not timed quite right for being leaf peepers. The leaves were just starting to turn and it made me wish that we had planned it for a later time. Just another reason to go again sometime, right? We were so pleased with our campsite. What a lovely view of the ocean and Cadillac Mountain across the water.DSC_7837

The next day, we were off to explore Mount Desert Island. First stop was Bass Harbor Lighthouse.`

This lighthouse seemed the most difficult to get a good angle for a photo. But such a lovely setting. We continued to drive around the island. Periodically, I would have Matt stop so that I could take another photo. Here is one that I couldn’t resist taking.DSC_7995 2-001

I thought for sure this establishment must have been out of business, but after checking online I found that Nemo’s is indeed still operating!DSC_8285

Every town had at least one pretty little church. I kept looking for the quintessential New England church to photograph. This is easier said than done. I thought this one was lovely, but it was so close to the road and power lines, ladders and parking lot marred the view. Had to keep searching.DSC_8182 2

This little bridge and building were so pretty.DSC_8299 2

Another classic photo that I had in mind was the lobster trap photo. I pictured wooden traps, but I came to understand that those were not what is used anymore. Still, I was happy with this lobster trap photo. As much as I enjoyed the towns and coast, we still needed to go to Acadia National Park.DSC_8008 2-001

Our first stop was Cadillac Mountain. It was a beautiful with a lovely, clear view. DSC_8042

Park Rangers helped people spot migrating hawks. We stayed on the mountain, enjoying the birds, for quite awhile, then it was off to drive the loop around the park.DSC_8070 from nef 3-001

The coastline of Otter Cove was beautiful. I spotted that huge rock and asked Matt to pose on it. He said, “How am I going to get up there?” And then proceeded to do it! Once he got there, some people up above clapped for him. I guess it was quite a feat. Next we were off to Jordan Pond.DSC_8096 2-001

What clear water there was in Jordan Pond. And the mountains behind us are the famous Bubbles. Acadia National Park is so beautiful and we did so much more there. We even went back in the dark for star gazing on the beach led by a park ranger! But, I already said this would be my last Maine post. It’s hard to know what photos to leave out! DSC_8195 from nef 2

The full moon over Cadillac Mountain was a real treat for us. And finally, a kiss good bye for Maine!

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Seeking Shelter

Have you ever noticed that sometimes animals have more sense than humans? Last week, we had a lot of rain. Unlike many times here in Maryland when it stays gloomy for days but doesn’t actually rain, it poured! As I stayed in my warm, dry house I watched the birds outside. We love feeding the birds and have feeders all along the roof line of our porch. They come and go all day, but don’t stay around unless it rains. During a storm, our porch is a haven for those sweet birdies.Seeking Shelter

This little sparrow stayed for a long time. Even though I opened the door to take a photo of him, he stayed in the shelter out of the rain.DSC_9398 2

Then I noticed that he was missing an eye. Maybe that is why he stayed when others flew away. Did he recognize his need? Maybe he realized that he just had to be more trusting since he was not whole? I was glad that he felt safe on our porch, that he knew where to go during a storm. So many times when the storms of life hit me, I flail around in the wind and rain trying to keep myself warm, dry and safe even though I don’t have what I need. It takes me awhile to realize that I am not equipped for the storm and need help. Some storms are just that big.

Recently, I was asked by a fellow artist, Mary, to make something for a friend that is weathering a storm. This lovely woman is battling two kinds of cancer at the same time. Mary wants to encourage her friend with art so she asked several people to create something that will then be bound into a book and given to Kay. I was beyond pleased to have been asked. But, how could I encourage Kay when I struggle during the storms of life? After praying that God would use my artistic efforts to encourage and bless, I created this.DSC_9344 4-1

You know my fascination with lighthouses. Actually, I am fascinated by light. And light just isn’t there during the worst of storms. I will not attempt to tell Kay that I know why God would have her go through this storm or that everything will be okay. I don’t know that. But I do know that Jesus will be with her every step of the way through that storm. He will give her just what she needs to get through the next moment. John 8:11-13 “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

I’m hoping that I will learn a lesson from that sparrow and from Kay. Jesus will never leave me. I can take shelter in his arms.  You can too!

5″For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence,
for my hope is from him.
6 He only is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress; I shall not be shaken.
7 On God rests my salvation and my glory;
my mighty rock, my refuge is God.

8 Trust in him at all times, O people;
pour out your heart before him;
God is a refuge for us. ” Psalm 62:5-8

A New Favorite Lighthouse

After dreaming about seeing one particular lighthouse, I was quite surprised that a different one actually became my favorite of the trip.  No matter how I envision something, it almost always ends up differently than I thought. I guess to me, a lighthouse should be on a beautiful coast with pristine scenery around it. Even though I loved seeing the Portland Head lighthouse and it was a wonderful experience, I will admit to being disappointed that it was so close to the city of Portland. I pictured driving up through countryside or maybe a village and then rounding a corner and seeing the lighthouse. Silly, huh? This girl is a country girl, through and through. Cities are just not my thing. But I did find a lighthouse that fit the bill.

The day following Open Lighthouse Day, Matt and I decided to see Pemaquid Point Lighthouse. To reach this lighthouse, we drove through little villages. Much more acceptable! After parking the truck, this was the first view we had of the lighthouse.DSC_7644 2

I had read that this lighthouse was situated on a rocky coast that was great for photos. What amazing rock formations! Again, I took a lot of photos trying to get just the effect that I was looking for. Here is my favorite.DSC_7618 3 w copyright

So many colors in the rocks! Such a lovely setting! After I was finally happy with my photography efforts, we went back around to the other side and waited in line to go up in the lighthouse. Only a few of the lighthouses in Maine still have a Fresnel lens and Pemaquid is one of them. The prism covered lens which had been installed in 1856, allows a small lightbulb to shine 14 nautical miles.DSC_7637 2

The view from the lighthouse was spectacular!DSC_7633

After the lighthouse, we toured the Fishermen’s Museum that was in the lightkeeper’s house.DSC_7651 2

I love pretending that I live in these kinds of places and sat on the porch daydreaming.DSC_7654

Matt realized that there were a few geocaches nearby and one of our goals of the trip was to get a least one everyday. While walking to the caches, we came upon a forest of rock statues. I’ve been noticing these in various places that visit. Is it just a way to say, “I was here?” DSC_7690 2

As Matt continued to look for geocaches, I decided to take a few more photos. But all the fresh air and sunshine got the best of me. He caught me as I relaxed on the rocks, almost to the point of falling asleep. DSC_7712 2

I felt like I could stay at Pemaquid forever. And we had stayed for most of the day. But we also knew that the next day we would be traveling to Bar Harbor. There were still so many places to see! So, off to Camden we went.DSC_7726 2

Camden has a harbor filled with boats and a street of shops. I had to stop in a shop named The Smiling Cow. Who could resist it? We bought a mug there that had Maine written on it with a lobster.  And I can’t remember if that was the shop that was right over the waterfall or not, but there was one like that. We found another geocache and I enjoyed watching this artist, Renee Lammers, paint. I keep telling myself that someday I will paint outside like that! DSC_7769 2

It had been a full day and it was drawing to a close. We had been camping near Boothbay Harbor during this time in Maine and yet we hadn’t even been to see it. It was supper time, and we had a great meal at McSeagulls and watched the sunset. I was in love with Maine and there was so much more to see in this area. But I had set up a schedule and reserved spots at campgrounds so we were moving on the next day to farther north. Someday, I will return to Boothbay. I did not get my fill and I would love to spend another day at Pemaquid Point Lighthouse.DSC_7784  6

“And You Gotta Get Lobstah Here!”

Experiencing the Portland Head Lighthouse was wonderful, but it was just the start of our day. While in line to get the tickets to enter the lighthouse, the locals had great fun suggesting all the places we just had to visit, even to where we should get dinner! First, we definitely wanted to see a couple more lighthouses. At this point, we had learned one thing about Maine. It took much longer to get anywhere than anticipated. The folks in Maine know how to set speed limits and they all follow them, unlike where we live. Lighthouses tend to be on the coast and it’s not a straight shot up the coast, but rather driving for a long time out one ragged finger, look at a lighthouse, drive back up the finger and out another one to see the next lighthouse…all at a slow speed. 🙂 Our next stop was Spring Point Ledge Lighthouse.DSC_7311 2

As we approached Spring Point, we were greeted by a lovely lady handing out souvenir tickets. Next we were given history of the lighthouse by a man standing at the end of the jetty. Walking and jumping over the granite boulder jetty was harder than it first looked, but we finally got to the end only to have to wait in line for the privilege of going into the lighthouse. On each floor, volunteers explained all about the lighthouse until we finally reached the top. It was not a very tall one, but very interesting none-the-less.DSC_7333 2

We still wanted to get to one more lighthouse that day, but we were told that we had to stop in Freeport. I’m not much of a shopper, but it was on the way and you just can’t miss L.L. Bean!DSC_7358

We did see moose! These were, in fact, the only moose we saw on the trip and they were in the L.L.Bean flagship store. After locking horns, these poor moose perished.DSC_7371

Matt made a new friend while in the store that liked to shake hands. We didn’t see anything that we just had to buy at L.L.Bean, but we did stop to get coffee and a geocache in Freeport.DSC_7352 2

Can you imagine crocheting this for a light pole? I found that while Matt was searching for the cache. But it was time for another lighthouse.DSC_7397 2

Again, we had to drive a bit and arrived just five minutes before open lighthouse was over at 3:00. The GPS took us on extremely rough back roads to get to Doubling Point Lighthouse. We were glad we were in Sherman, our tough truck! We parked Sherman and ran down the path to the boardwalk. Yes! We were just in time to enjoy the view from the lighthouse.DSC_7378

DSC_7381Matt decided to hunt for a geocache there on the grounds, so I attempted to sketch the lighthouse. I have always wanted to sit outside and sketch or paint and this seemed the perfect time. I only had about 5 minutes, so I hurriedly sketched away.DSC_9309 2

The day was drawing to a close, but supper had to be found. At the beginning of the day, our friends from the line had told us that we just had to get “lobstah” at Cook’s. So, off to Bailey Island we drove. This was such a pretty little island, one with an abundance of photographic opportunities. To reach the island, you must traverse the only granite block cribstone bridge in the world. It lets the tide go through and I had never seen anything like it. Quite astounding.DSC_7446 2

What a great idea for letting the tide through!DSC_7444

We crossed this lovely bridge and found our supper spot, Cook’s Lobster House. I told the waitress that I had never really had lobster before, at least not that I can remember. She enjoyed explaining just how to eat one.DSC_7418 2

Since I have almost mastered the blue crabs of Maryland, I just knew I wouldn’t have any trouble with a lobster. She brought me a real beauty.DSC_7433 1

When our waitress realized what a momentous occasion this was for us, she offered to take our photo. DSC_7439-001

Oh, was that lobster good! I declared that I wouldn’t even bother with crabs anymore! Not near as much work for the amount of food! Of course, I suppose lobster is just not as good anywhere else when you haven’t been looking at lighthouses all day. Here was our view during dinner.DSC_7421 2

Our tummies were happy and the sun was setting. We drove a bit more on the island and found this beautiful spot, Mackerel Cove.DSC_7447 2-1

I was using a book called, “The Photographer’s Guide to the Maine Coast” by David Middleton and Bruce H. Morrison. In the book, they told of a pretty little fishing shack that was decorated with buoys. We searched for a bit and found the shack. But it looked like it had fallen on hard times since they had taken their photo. Now you can see right through it, but it was still a scenic spot.DSC_7551 2

Finally, we drove to the end of the road to enjoy the sunset. As I took more photos, Matt found one more geocache. See him up on the rocks?DSC_7521 3

What an amazing day in Maine! What a blessing Open Lighthouse Day had been for us. And we still had more days in Maine yet to enjoy.