It happens every year about this time, and every year I argue with my husband about the need to travel 2.5 hours to Mount Greylock (his elusive goal) to see colored leaves. This year the Greylock FB page said the foliage peaked in late September http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lanesborough-MA/Mount-Greylock-State-Reservation/241901190245 and we were in the third quarter of October and there’d been heavy winds and rain, so, seriously, could it possibly be worth the trip? But the Weather Channel foliage tracker was a bit more optimistic: http://www.weather.com/outlook/driving/fallfoliage/regionindex/northeast I argued that though we’re both amateur photographers, hadn’t we already done foliage to death. It’s like Nubble Light in York, ME, we have sentimental reasons for going there, but standing in the small viewing area with my point and shoot camera is pretty much going to result in the same photos unless: a) someone falls in, b) a freak wave swamps us or c) the over-confident seagulls worked out an aerial line dance. (Even I would relinquish a fried clam for that!) Regardless that New England has the best color show in the world outside of the Northern Lights (biased, opinion, I know), it’s been done.
We stopped at this pretty bridge that spans the Connecticut River. It won some beauty award in the 30’s, so we got camera-ready. The view is pretty nice but other than the eagle finial on top of a bridge post, I couldn’t make out why this bridge was so special. I’d seen all there was to see (we’d made it this far in consecutive years past) so I decided to dodge the heavy traffic and ignore the lack of crosswalk because the view is always better on the other side. It was, but the risk factor is amped up. The reviewing ”stand” is much narrower with barely enough room for my size 10 boots and the bridge-shaking trucks fly by basically within arms’ reach if not closer. In that shaky moment I noticed a guy down below, alongside the river. I noticed him because he had a big camera and a stocking cap (the kind I typically refer to as a “stalking” cap because criminals caught on camera almost always wear something similar.) And by the time I was walking off the bridge he was there walking toward me. So I decided to befriend the photog/criminal because those are the type of people that always have the best stories. “Hey”, I said “How’d you get down there, and how’d you get back up so quickly?” He said “I knew someone would ask me that.” So I’d found a psychic/photog/stalker – definitely my lucky day.
Sadly he wasn’t as interesting as the build up in my mind, but he did tell me about this fairly well hidden road that would bring us below. I shouted out to Jon and his dad and said I want to go down below. They were amenable though doubtful that the road described would get us there, so I figured maybe the criminal guy was leading us into a trap and we were in jeopardy; another great story that was shattered when we came to the base of the bridge. It is in fact beautiful. And there’s another smaller footbridge that takes you to an enchanted cottage (owned and rented out for functions by the public utility company or so a stranger told me.) The photog/criminal/psychic warned me that once on that road, I should not under any circumstances attempt driving beyond the end of the pavement without 4-wheel drive, because I’d invariably get stuck.
So we were driving beyond the pavement with gravel and sticks pinging off the undercarriage while we checked out the ¼ to ½ mile stretch of pumpkins striping a browning field and an equally large area that to the best opinion of our combined minds was a sod farm – why else would it be so extensive, green, perfectly weed-free and neatly trimmed – when my husband said, “I forgot, Leisa needs to be picked up after school”. And so after several tense minutes of cross-referencing the GPS, his military precision watch and a book of maps, we turned and headed east without a word. The taunting Greylock eluded us again.
Now readers – you be the judge – which are your favorite foliage shots (Comment on the blog please and I will tell you whether they were over the rainbow (anything further out than Worcester, MA) or in my own back yard.
© 2010 Alison Colby-Campbell