Changes in the Air

The cool and crisp mornings, and shortening daylight hours. That familiar sound of the Canada Geese calling from above as they fly south in their V-shape formation. The morning frost on the pumpkin displayed on the porch. These are all signs that summer has come to an end. Here in the North Country, it feels as though the change has taken place over night.

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A dusting red, orange and yellow leaves covering the forest floor.

With the changing seasons, things are also different here at Umbagog Lake State Park. This time of year, the campground has simmered down. With school back in session, there are rarely kids swimming in the lake or running around in the field mimicking the loon calls. There are no more volleyball games at the beach. There are fewer campers in general. Some employees’ have even begun to leave and return to their wintertime job. The park is quiet but peaceful.

While summer is sweet, we still have a great season to look forward to as we transition to fall. We should not forget about the many unique gifts that the autumn season brings with it.

Fall Foliage

I have been hearing about the beauty of fall time in New England since I arrived here in June. I share my opinion with the locals pretty often about how much I love this place, and a response I frequently hear is “Just wait until you see the leaves changing in the fall.” The Northerners absolutely love this time of year.

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As days begin to shorten, the chemistry of a tree begins to change. A block forms in the plant that prevents the tree from using carbohydrates produced by the leaf, and the leaf can no longer use the minerals collected by the tree through its roots. The chlorophyll that makes a leaf appear green begins to diminish, and the other colors of a leaf will shine.

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Since the transformation is dependent on length of day, the beginning of fall foliage in a particular area will usually begin right around the same week each year. In northern New Hampshire, peak foliage is usually around the first week of October. The leaves have already begun to give a hint of change, but the peak of the display is still just around the corner. If you haven’t planned a trip up north yet, it is not too late!

Greater Visibility

When the hot summer days took their leave, the humidity took its leave as well. With less haze in the air, visibility across the vast mountainscape in the area has become exceptionally clear.

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Trail to Old Speck Mountain

Earlier this week, there was a full day where there was not a single cloud in the sky. I hiked to the top of Old Speck Mountain and could see for miles. This picture was taken facing south, with a clear view of Mount Washington in the distance. A clear view straight into Canada could be seen in the opposite direction from which this photo was taken. As far as hikes go, there are countless mountains to climb in the area where you can find views that extend for many miles.

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View from Old Speck Mountain

Sparkling Night Sky

Summer nights are somewhat hazy with humidity, eliminating many of the stars that are too dim to see because their light can not penetrate the atmosphere. The longer nights also mean a darker sky and more visibility. Combine these two factors that come along with the autumn season, and you will have find yourself mesmerized beneath the stars for hours.

Starry night view from Umbagog Lake State Campground
Starry night view from Umbagog Lake State Campground

What are you waiting for? It is just the beginning of one of the most beautiful times of year to enjoy The Great North Woods. Take a few days and head north to enjoy the fruits of fall.

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Discover Power of Parks SCA Interpreters

Discover the Power of Parks is presented by New Hampshire State Parks in collaboration with the Student Conservation Association and made possible by generous financial support from Eversource. The program offers a look into the natural world through hands-on programming. Interpretive programs focus on connecting participants with nature and building appreciation for New Hampshire's unmatched natural heritage. Programs include guided hikes, interpretive tours, and imaginative environmental workshops for children and families. Programs are offered free to guests with paid park admission fee. No pre-registration is required.

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