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The Lovely Lupines of Sugar Hill
I have to confess that I find the Franconia Notch area to be one of the most beautiful in New Hampshire. When I vacationed last fall and saw how dramatically blue the sky could be against the fiery foliage I thought, “this is the notch in prime season.” Then I visited in winter when the mountains were stilled with a dazzling white snow and again I thought I had captured the notch at its best. Well, now I’m going to argue that spring is in fact the most picturesque season of them all.By the second week of June the fields of the little town of Sugar Hill are animated with the yellows, reds, and whites of wildflowers, and of course the intensely purple lupines. Birds, butterflies, and bees flutter amongst the violet spires against a background of the Franconia, Presidential, and Kinsman Mountain ranges. It’s a photographer’s dream.It was a wonderful setting for quiet reflection after a delicious pancake breakfast at one of the most popular restaurants in town.After a peaceful morning walk through a violaceous field, we were looking for something a little more adventurous to try that afternoon. So we decided to visit Franconia Notch state park and ride the aerial tramway 4,080 feet to the summit of Cannon Mountain.Although I’ve visited the park on many occasions, riding in the cable-suspended car over the tops of the trees was a new experience. The view was absolutely spectacular.We walked a well-manicured trail that circled the top of the mountain past ski slopes and cliffs. From the observation tower we watched a few paragliders launch from the summit and drift down towards Profile Lake. It truly was a bird’s eye view.On the ride down we learned that the car before us had seen from their high advantage point a mother black bear and her cubs. It was the second interesting wildlife sighting of the trip that I had just missed with my camera. The night before my partner and I had gone out for ice cream (sans camera) and saw a moose! I guess you’ll just have to visit the park for your own wildlife viewing opportunities, of which there are plenty.It’s easy to see why Franconia Notch state park draws visitors from all over the world. In just one weekend we barely covered a portion of all there is to see in the region. And whether you visit in the fall, winter, or spring, it remains only one of the most picturesque destinations in all of New England.
More Photographs from My Trip:
Special thanks to the Franconia Notch staff for all their generous guidance.
About Jackie Raiford, New Hampshire State Parks Intern
I'm a graduate student working towards my Masters in Conservation Biology at Antioch University New England. My research interests include the conservation of urban green spaces for the physical and psychological health of communities. I lived for the first 24 years of my life in Rockville, Maryland just north of Washington D.C. I have traveled a little both domestically and abroad, and lived for six months in Australia. I also work as a dance and fitness instructor, and am certified by the American Council on Exercise.
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