A New Hampshire Journal
Late April, and flowers on the red maples bring a Spring blush to the woods
(In a “normal” winter/spring here, the lake would still be ice-covered until around April 25. This year the ice was out the first week of March)
Last week we hit our winter low temperature, -20 degrees F. This week the temperature reached 50 degrees, puddles appeared in the streets, icicles disappeared from the eaves… could these be signs of Spring? After A Long Cold Winter, it’s hard to imagine that all this snow is going to melt in the next few weeks!
Local snowfall this winter is around 90 inches. This area can get as much snow in March as it does in February, so we are certainly not “done with winter” yet! But when temperatures have been so low for so long – weeks and weeks of 10-15 degrees below normal – and with most nights still close to zero degrees, it’s amazing how warm a 30-degree day feels! Even a few days of melting is a very welcome sign that the end of winter is near.
Indeed a close look at trees and shrubs reveals swelling buds, as the sun rises in the sky and sunlight grows stronger. If we get the five days above freezing that are forecast for next week, the sap will start rising in the sugar maples and sugaring season will begin, almost a month late this year.
Flowers are appearing in the local stores, and Easter is a month away. Surely Spring is just around the corner!
Columbus Day weekend dawned clear and dry, with a sky as blue as can be. We had two of our dearest friends visiting from Long Island, so on Friday we took them on “the local tour.” First stop was in Gilmanton at “Four Corners.” The sugar maples were at their best, the Town Hall and the Community Church a stunning white against the sky and leaves.
We headed east to Alton Bay, and then followed Rt 11 northwest along the shore of Lake Winnipesaukee. A stop at famed Weirs Beach was a must; what a delight to find it almost deserted, after the throngs of people and traffic before Labor Day! The view across the Lake to the foothills of the White Mountains was as good as ever. Then north to Meredith – one of the prettiest towns on this shore of the Lake – and time for lunch! It was still warm enough to eat outdoors on the deck of Kara’s Cafe, and enjoy the food and the local sights.
As October has gone by, Fall colors have burst out! The sugar maples were first, early in the month, with their orange and scarlet – but they are also the first to fade in areas exposed to wind and rain.
Now the birches, beeches, red maples and oaks have added their brilliant palette of yellow, orange, rust, deep red; while pine and hemlock provide a dark green background. Across our lake just before sunset, the hills and shore become a stunning orange!
But among my favorites for color are the humble roadside sumac, which here grow to be modest bushes and not 30ft trees as they do farther south. Their palette runs from green/yellow to orange/scarlet.
We enjoy a feast of Fall color in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire, and we are grateful!