2019 Year in Review, White Mountains

Black Mountain from along the East Branch of the Pemigewasset River, near the Loon Mtn. bridge, in Lincoln, New Hampshire at sunrise on an autumn day.
Black Mountain at Sunrise – Lincoln, New Hampshire
 

2019 Year in Review, White Mountains – Another year is coming to an end! For the past few years, I have been posting my "ten favorite images of the year" at the end of the year. But I drifted away from this format last year, and I am going to do it again this year. While we all love viewing imagery of the White Mountains, the “my top 10 favorite photos of the year" blog articles have become to repetitive for me. So its time for a change.

This year I found myself thinking about how the White Mountains have changed my life. Like many of you, I am drawn to these mountains, and at this point in my life, I can’t imagine living anywhere else. But I realized that it wasn't just the mountains, photography has been a huge influence in my life. Photography has made me care about conservation, historic preservation, and the environment. The camera has taught me more about life than I think I will ever realize.

Agassiz Basin, on Mossilauke Brook, in North Woodstock, New Hampshire on a foggy autumn day. Agassiz Basin is named for Swiss naturalist, Louis Agassiz (1807-1873), who visited the region while doing research in the 1800s.
Agassiz Basin – North Woodstock, New Hampshire
 

If I didn’t get into photography twenty plus years ago, I would likely be hiking the same mountains and trails over and over all these years. Admittedly, I’m an alpine zone and backcountry junkie, but thankfully, my cameras forced me to find new subject matter within the White Mountains. And this has helped me realize that the White Mountain National Forest is huge. I encourage all to venture away from hiking the same mountains over and over and explore as much of this National Forest as you possibly can. There is so much to see!

Autumn foliage on Big Coolidge Mountain from along the East Branch of the Pemigewasset River in Lincoln, New Hampshire on an autumn morning.
East Branch of the Pemigewasset River – Lincoln, New Hampshire
 

The hiker in me has slowed down tremendously over the last few years. I am not a fast hiker anymore, and the thirty mile days are likely behind me. And I noticed this year that my photography has also slowed down. I am no longer rushing from location to location, trying to create as many images as possible in one day. In my early years of photography, it was normal for me to shoot from sunrise to sunset. But this year, I found great satisfaction in shooting two or three locations a day.

Remnants of the Lincoln Mill era on Pollard Brook in Lincoln, New Hampshire. This location is at the confluence of Pollard Brook and the East Branch of the Pemigewasset River.
Remnants of the Lincoln Mill Era – Pollard Brook, New Hampshire
 

My work on the abandoned East Branch & Lincoln Railroad continued this year. The railroad was in operation for so long that the history surrounding it is endless. It is mind-boggling that one man, James Everell Henry (J.E Henry & Sons), owned so much land in the Lincoln area; his land holdings included today’s 45,000-acre Pemigewassett Wilderness. During the logging era, Lincoln Village was often called Henryville. And remnants of the mill era and railroad can still be found around the village.

Cascade on a tributary near the headwaters of Lost River on Mount Jim in Kinsman Notch in North Woodstock, New Hampshire during the autumn months.
Cascade Near The Headwaters of Lost River – Kinsman Notch, North Woodstock
 

As the year comes to an end, my mind is running wild with thoughts; I am trying to envision Sandwich Notch Road lined with farms, early 1900s tourists enjoying the forgotten, but now found, Rollo Fall, the Woodsmen of Johnson Lumber Company working the steep terrain of Kinsman Notch, and the August 1907 Owl’s Head fire. And I am wondering what Nathaniel L. Goodrich (1880-1957), the founder of peakbagging in the White Mountains, would say about today’s peakbagging craze.

No matter how you recreate in the White Mountain National Forest, never forget that this amazing piece of real estate was once dominated by timber barons, the site of massive forest fires, and considered a wasteland. We are truly lucky to be able to explore this National Forest in its current state.

Happy Holidays to all of you and Happy image making.


 

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Erin Paul is a professional photographer who specializes in environmental conservation and historic preservation photography in the New Hampshire White Mountains. His work is published worldwide, and credits include; Backpacker Magazine, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, the Appalachian Mountain Club, and The Wilderness Society.

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2 Responses to “2019 Year in Review, White Mountains”

  1. Steve Alden

    Lovely sentiments and photos, as always Erin.  Thank you for your work. I enjoy your historian's perspective.  We're lucky that the lands here in the east can recover relatively quickly from the depredations of the past.  Happy New Year!

    Reply

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