Everyone once in a while I am fortunate enough to have a day, or a night, or a 24-hour window to hurry up and slow down. This past week I had one such opportunity.
I drove to Pittsburg, NH (almost 4 hours from my home) up on the Canadian border in the northernmost town in New Hampshire. I had decided to stay at one of my favorite campgrounds, Deer Mountain Campground. After checking in with the ranger, Kevin, who was very nice, helpful, and a pleasure to speak with, I had less than an hour to get set up before darkness fell completely.
I gathered some dry sticks and branches that had fallen in the woods behind my campsite, set up my tent, threw my stuff inside, and got a fire going. The temperature was a cool 46°F when I started getting set up. Next, I grilled up some burgers and treated myself to some open fire cheeseburgers with buns toasted on the fire grate. Sitting in my folding chair at a campsite just 3 miles from Canada on a cool night with the temperature dropping into the 30’s, and a warm fire, I started to relax.
I looked in every direction from my seat. There were no lights. Power lines don’t run this far north on Route 3. There was no electricity. There was no running water, well except for the Connecticut River which was several yards down the wooded hillside from me.
As I settled next to the fire and listened to the silence, I welcomed the darkness and the absence of human-generated light. Almost always, I can’t go too long in the outdoors without checking out the sky, and this night was no different. The moon was rising slowly and providing some light, but it was still well below the tree line. This allowed me to lean back, and look straight up through the fir trees all around me, to watch the ever darkening night sky on this clear, cool night.
As you may know by now, I like to write, and I probably like to take pictures even more. I don’t know that I really possess any skills in either area, but I do enjoy them both. As you will see below, I took several pictures of the night sky while I was in Pittsburg. It’s not too often, in my experience these days, when we can get to a place so free of human light pollution. I thoroughly enjoyed watching and photographing the sky over a period of a few hours before I turned in for the night.
Clouds? Northern Lights? With the shutter open for 30 seconds per picture, you can see the captured glow from my fire reflected by the trees.
I cannot begin to properly describe the overwhelming smell of fir trees, like living in a Christmas wreath world, coupled with the crisp, clean, cool, fresh air that makes me feel like all other breathing outside of this place is a tremendous letdown. That’s how it felt right there, at site #7, tucked in among the trees, just steps from the Connecticut River in the wilds of northern New Hampshire.