................ This park has already made an appearance here on the blog, but I couldn't pass up an opportunity to visit what many have told me is their favorite spot in the Granite State. I was pleased to find that the 7,200+ acres of wilderness was as wet and wild as promised. I'm talking of course about the hidden gem that is now also my favorite, too- Pillsbury State Park. My friend and I had the opportunity to explore this park from the vantage of the water by kayak. It was still fairly early in the morning, and there was a chill in the air that, in addition to a few early speckles of red and yellow leaves, was a clear reminder of the changing season. It was the first time I had ever attempted kayaking, and it took a little practice learning to row without dumping cold water into my lap. By the time I was just starting to get a grasp on how to move more effortlessly, I had made it out into the middle of May Pond, the largest of several in the park. At times it was so quiet that the sound of our paddles echoed, so still that you could see clearly to the bottom. I navigated around a few rocky island hazards just for fun. Then I set the paddle down and let myself drift across the water, watching the windmills turning. That's when I had a surprise encounter with a family of loons. They suddenly just popped up out of the water next to our kayaks. A fat and very happy looking brown juvenile joined us in lazily drifting by the pond's edge, while both his parents dove for minutes at a time, surfacing to stuff his mouth with fish. I had never seen wild loons before. It was the perfect way to end a beautiful morning. If you're looking for a classic New England fall foliage scene, I'd have to imagine Pillsbury State Park would be a great destination. I hope to return in a few weeks when the leaves peak. But for next week, I'm going to a park that YOU picked. It's my last post for the blog, so I hope you'll be back to read it!