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Franconia State Park

Our trip to the East coast started with a flight to Boston. Flights are always pretty terrible for me since I'm tall, but we spent a good majority of the flight entertaining ourselves by studying up on portrait photography. Right before the trip, I purchased The Photographer's Guide to Posing by Lindsay Adler that we read to fill our time on the plane. One of the things Katie and I love doing together is taking each other's photos, so I figured we could use some technical reference and background to understand what makes a good pose and how to direct one another in the poses to be more photogenic. We both really liked the book (and would recommend it) since it provided examples of photos that had problems with them and then showed corrected photos and very specifically told you what the problem was and why it was a problem.

Our flight got in around 6:30PM local time, and Boston is too far South for any colors to have popped yet, so we proceeded to drive North. After driving for over 2 hours, we made it to our destination, an Airbnb in North Woodstock, New Hampshire. We were driving in the dark, and because of that, we had no idea what we were in for from a fall foliage perspective, which was the main focus of the trip. It wasn't until the morning that we really knew what we were working with.

With the morning forecasted to be overcast, we knew there would be no sunrise so there was no point in waking up early. It was nice to have gotten to sleep in and recover from the long day of traveling. We picked out our morning hike to be a moderately difficult hike to Mount Pemigewasset in Franconia Notch State Park which is almost 4 miles round trip and 1,300 feet of elevation gain that took us a little over two and a half hours. The hike to Mount Pemigewasset didn't disappoint us as the first hike of the trip. We hiked through the dense forest with no overlooks or any indication of where we were going until we hit the summit, and then all of a sudden there was a gorgeous panoramic view of the White Mountains filled with colors. The fall colors weren't quite peaking in this area yet, but the colors were still gorgeous and much more vibrant than what we're used to. The hike was extremely familiar to the ones we're used to hiking in the sense that you're hiking up to a summit on dirt, rocks, and over tree roots through trees and that you might not get any views until you're at the top. But that's where the similarities end with hiking on the East Coast versus in Colorado. Because the East Coast is much more humid than Colorado, we didn't have to try hard to find mushrooms and fungus growing on things. Mushrooms are rarety on Colorado hikes, but in New Hampshire, they were literally growing out of the middle of the hiking trail. The humidity also made it much trickier to hike because it made the rocks very slick, something we're not used to in the dryer climate of Colorado. It was neat to have an experience like this that was similar to our previous hiking experiences but completely different at the same time.

Since we did a moderately difficult hike in the morning, our afternoon hike was planned to be an easy one - the one to Artist's Bluff. The weather was forecasted to be clear and sunny, so we planned to do it during the golden hour, but the forecast was wrong and there were heavy clouds sitting low on the hillsides when we got there. The low clouds ended up providing for a cool perspective and good framing for the photos. The hike was only about 1.5 miles round trip and only a couple hundred feet of elevation gain, but it was deceptively challenging. It poses most of that elevation gain in such a short distance that the steps are incredibly steep and on very uneven and slippery terrain. We went the wrong direction around the loop that we intended, but luckily that way that wasn't nearly as steep since it was a longer distance to the top of Artist's Bluff. The only downside to doing the loop in the wrong direction was that we didn't get to go to the top of Bald Mountain, which was a small offshoot from the trail. The trail was pretty busy, including multiple professional photographers at the bluff taking photos of clients. Even though it was busy, the views were as great as the countless photos we've seen online.

One of the main reasons that I like to hike is that you get to explore the more obscure areas that most people don't typically get to see, but with something as popular as this hike, you're doing a hike to get the same photo as everyone else, and I can always guarantee that someone else has a better photo of it. Not necessarily because I don't think I'm a good photographer, but locals can get the perfect shot consisting of the right fall foliage colors and the right lighting by going back to the same spot multiple times on multiple days. It's not to say that I didn't enjoy the hike or get a great shot, but it's lacking the uniqueness that I like to capture in my hiking photography.

Trailhead Location
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5.23 mi 3.9 hrs 2,478 ft 1,654 ft
View Graphs
Rocky and Rooty
Mushrooms Everywhere
Leaves on Mushrooms
At the Summit
Drop Off
Summit Panorama
Autumn Happiness
In the Back
Selfie at the Top