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Cruising Through the Autumn Colors

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It wouldn’t take long to fall in love with the fresh cold air, gentle enough to slice off layers of fallen golden brown leaves that carpeted the ground. The rustling music of the leaves singing to the tunes of the wind is magical enough to wipe out all worries which otherwise dominate the mind.

A couple of hours from Manhattan by water, are the beautiful hills of Bear Mountain, one of the famous fall destinations in New York. October mornings usually start rather cold, warm up considerably through the day, followed by cold evenings. Such a pattern makes a perfect combination with abundant sunshine and puffy clouds well-hydrated for the sun to play hide and seek.

Our cruise departed on one such fall Saturday morning. I had a perfect position at the rear end of the ferry, and was ready with a wide-angle lens mounted on my camera to capture the Fall colors. Rolling mountains on one side and civilization on the other, we cruised ahead over the Hudson. Crimson reds, golden yellow, glittering orange, algae green – the many variations of fall colors and the show they put up on the hills was certainly breathtaking. Seagulls, Cormorants and other assorted bird species gave a glimpse of themselves on the way to their wintering grounds.


The glittering morning waters were touched by the vibrant reflection from the mountains, painted in brilliant hues. The mansions and B&Bs in the hills looked as if they were tucked into the foliage and were just peeping out every now and then. As we moved under the George Washington bridge, the view of vivid hues of the fall colors and toy-sized vehicles moving on the bridge gave quite a perspective.


It was an hour to noon, almost an hour and a half since we hit the waters. The cool wind picked up in strength and blew back and forth, rocking the boat. Those of us standing close to the deck got sprayed by the splashing water. The refreshingly cold sprinkle of water was good for me but not so much for my camera. I took a few steps back and waited for the wind to subside. Whilst doing so, I was reminded by a gentle grunt in my tummy that it was time for breakfast. Hot cheese and nachos to the rescue, a perfect accompaniment for such a beautiful weather.

As I turned around, the deck looked more crowded than before.  The sun was now high up, the water still, the wind wound up. People were taking out their beer mugs, excited about the Oktoberfest in progress at the Bear Mountain. Kids ran around at the front and rear of the boat while the parents’ looked on. People kept taking photographs of the foliage backdrop.

I decided to put off the camera and just let myself immerse in the beauty of the moment. The magic wasn’t just about fall colors. Slow moving ripples formed in the water, moving one behind the other, as the boat moved. The surface of the water looked as if it was being torn apart then rejoined as in the boat’s wake. Sunlit hills looked dramatic with pink and orange popping out. Gradually, I couldn’t hear a thing around with only the blissful array of colors and their play with light in front of my eyes. It was a treat to be cherished forever.


The tour guide announced our arrival at the Bear Mountain. Got off the boat watching a couple sitting on a bench next to a tree dressed up in bright yellow leaves, sun behind the clouds gave away a rather soft light.


It was a short trek up hill to the Oktoberfest. The hilltop was filled with buzzing shops selling fruit breads, homemade cookies, woolen wears and handicrafts on one side and a serene lake in the hilly backdrop with trees radiating the fall colors on the other side.


So much for the beauty of fall. But every season has its own uniqueness. Spring for flower blooms, summer for beaches, fall for colors, winter for the holidays and snow.


The more we appreciate the beauty of the show nature has put up for us, the more joy and experience it gives us back for being part of such a magnificent beauty.

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About Vidhya Narayanan

Entrepreneur, Photographer, Author