1. 13/16. Looking backwards is the reward for moving forwards. Dipped in hues of blue that fade from dark to light, the Presidential Range and the White Mountain National Forest roll east until maximum visibility stops. The distance hides the change of seasons. The trail reveals the few hikers who deemed an early start necessary. The wind is blocked by the peak of Mt. Washington. The scree becomes easier to climb as the prospect of cold water and hot chili is more reality and less hope. Inuksuks mark the way of the Lion’s Head Trail where there is no longer any tree line to define the path. Closer still, yet always one more step. 

  2. 12/16. Thirty mile per hour gusts blow on the back of the Lion’s Head. Keeping hats securely attached to backpacks or belt loops is the only preventative measure for ensuring they won’t be carried over the edge of the bowl and into the ravine. Down the trail and across Rout 16,  the trails of Wild Cat Mountain are scratched out from the face of the ski area. As distinct in the summer as they are in the winter, the steepness and severity of the runs at Wild Cat is only know through time spent on hill. In the summer, the routes to the peak there are manageable. From this angle, they appear harmless. Summer in the Presidential’s has a calming effect, taking out the ostensible danger that is ever present in the winter. Albeit, a year before, a 25 year old man fell 150 feet off the Tuckerman Ravine Trail onto a ledge below when filling his water bottle. The trail is only as safe as it feels. 

  3. 11/16. Lion’s Head rests its chin at 5,175 feet. Gazing out towards the lower, but not lesser, of the Presidential’s, the trail becomes a scree-covered path from this point forward. There is a minor stretch of dirt as the trail ducks between low-lying bush before coming out again at the crest of the Tuckerman Ravine Bowl. Warmed by the sun, and built by thousands of years of glacial melt, the rocks form small barriers against the 30 mph gusts. Minimal coverage from the wind cuts through the 85 degree weather that swamps the tree line below. Another five-hundred feet ahead, and directly under the summit, the wind will shut off, blocked by the natural blind the peak forms. 

  4. 10/16. Above the tree line the White Mountains revel themselves in full frame. Gaps in trees where rocks prevent any growth only allowed mere glances at what the Lion’s Head Trail leads to. Veiled in a deepening blue haze the further the distance looked, Rayleigh scattering causes the rays of light filtering through the atmosphere, and the dust and water particles, to present as a blue wash over the greens of the Presidential Range. The trails climbs another 1.5 miles from the break of the trees. With the crossing of the Lion’s Head comes winds that blow 15-20mph out of the northwest, and gusts that reach 30mph. From here, there is no coverage from the wind or the sun.

  5. 9/16. Sunrise on the Tuckerman Ravine Trail is a slow delivery. Hiking itself over the White Mountains and through the Presidential Range, the orange sphere of energy comes first in grey light. Through the thick cluster of trees, the grey light gives way to a dim brightness that reflects off the dew that formed over night. Once above the tree line, the light turns orange as it works its way into the crevices of the woods, between trees, through branches, over stones, refracted off river beds. Squirrels and birds wake at the earliest fade from dark to light. 5:15a.m. marks the wake-up call for the animals who make their home along these trails. The clicking of the squirrels and the calling of the birds rises like a steady timpani. In an hour, full light reaches the darkest areas of the overgrowth. Daylight blooms again.  

  6. 8/16. Full Bloom. The ending of day captures the summer’s work in one thirty-five millimeter frame. Evergreens and deciduous trees are exposed in total bloom. Only the few, weaker, or less recalcitrant trees begin to drain the chlorophyl intravenous from their veins. Evan admires the rock faces that dive towards the bottom of the bowl. Off his right, the Lion’s Head Trail is vaguely noticeable. The serpentine back of the lion bends northwest to the peak of Mt. Washington. An hour from now and the woods will burst with the sounds of squirrels, chipmunks, and birds calling each other home to their nests. Settled in for the evening, the forest sighs in the wind, and whispers through the fallen leaves.  

  7. 7/16. Kyle steps into the frame with $3,000 worth of Canon equipment. Behind Evan, the Tuckerman Bowl swallows the frame in Kyle’s camera. The light is lower than before, and its tonal shifts signal the changing of seasons. Light is burning faster than it has since the 21st of June. There are only a handful of people who pass by as they make their descent. On the trail, away from where camp will be staked, hikers laugh over poorly executed downward scrambles. The caretake walks by to empty her trash, or fill her water bottle. Kyle closes the the shutter on his camera, and we decide on our place to sleep. 

  8. 6/16. Over the stones the tree-line breaks for a few hundred yards. Evan follows the trail northwest where he catches his first impression of the bowl. August begins its bow towards autumn in the golds and ambers intermixed with the heavy injections of chlorophyll that have kept the leaves green throughout the summer. Light fades quickly at this elevation, and the ravine does not aid in the slowing of its departure. The Hermit Lakes’ caretaker hut allows time to rehydrate, eat a bag of jerky, and scout a place to sleep. We stick with the forgiveness policy and continue our search. 

  9. 5/16. At four forty-five p.m., Evan breaks the peak of the Tuckerman Ravine Trail. Starting late in the day, we begin to scout a place to pitch for the night. One sign advises that all campers must check in at the visitor’s center, and that shelters are on a first-come, first-served basis - unless hikers came from a different angle. Kyle says it is better to follow the 200 feet off trail, and no campfire policy. Filtering through the deep evergreen branches of the foliage, the sun hovers above the bowl. August will close out in four days. Up here, this far north of the city, the allure of fall has begun to show its luster in amber hues. The leaves of deciduous trees have started the final phase of their seasonal lives. Squirrels become more active as they chase one another and the food that will help thicken their coats. Stepping into the light, the stinging warmth of sunlight illuminates Evan as he crests the trail at the Hermit Lake Shelters. Tomorrow, the remainder of the hike will reveal the downturning of seasons. 

  10. 4/16. If there are any streets people outside of Massachusetts know by heart they are Yawkey Way and Lansdowne. In a sentence, either one of these streets - when spoken by a Boston sports fan - usually concludes with “guy” or “kid.” For whatever reason, Lansdowne will be pronounced Lands-down, and kid is spoken as it would be spelled phonetically, guy. Inside the walls of Fenway, Jerry Remy or Dennis Eckersly will spout off facts and statistics about what they consider to the most beautiful game. At sundown, near the end of summer, the outside of the ballpark hosts the beauty of what Boston offers. Backlit, silhouetted, and crowded shoulder-to-shoulder, Yawkey and Lansdowne fill with vendors yakking about Fenway Franks, sausage and peppers, and how the boys will beat ‘em next time, kid. The mainstream, over-marketed, highly-branded, merchandise consuming fans walk through this gauntlet spouting off how the boys could have done it better, and that the one hit from Big Papi was wicked sick, guy. What they won’t see is that the sun’s angle, as it approaches autumn, has illuminated the streets in an orange veneer, or that the humidity has been blanketed by an early harvest chill. They won’t recognize that the days are getting shorter, and the water in the Fens has fog hovering above it during the morning hours, nor will they notice Lansdowne is actually a one-way, and there is no need to look towards Jillian’s when crossing the street, kid.