The Jenne Farm on 29 Sept and showing early strong fall foliage colors

Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves.” (Henry David Thoreau)

map of North Conway

map of North Conway

I’m still not sure I understand myself yet, even with all the times I’ve been lost.  I do know that I live for getting off the main roads and discovering a new pond or town common that I haven’t seen before. To me, finding a new white church steeple surrounded by multi-hued sugar maples is the pinnacle of a great day.

When I talk about getting lost, I don’t mean to literally go out and get lost. I do expect you to have a good idea of where you are! (This does not mean a state of confusion like me) 🙂

What this means

Looking back on autumn

Looking back on autumn on Salem Common

You should get off the main road (highways) and explore secondary or even dirt roads.

BUT! Do so with a good road map and I always suggest the gazetteer’s from Delorme which are my favorites.

I also travel with a GPS and you might be tempted to ask isn’t this redundant? Or even necessary? (the map and the GPS)?? Map and a GPS! Well, the reason I travel with both is quite simple.

Map Pros
I have found a map is great for planning on where to go and what to see.

Map Cons
If you find yourself on a dirt road in Maine with no street signs and you didn’t keep track of the turns, it’s rough to figure out where on the map you are. So unless you have a background in Orienteering and a serious compass then a map by itself is lousy at telling you, where… you are.

GPS Pros
A GPS, on the other hand, is wonderful for telling you where you are on the Gazetteer map..

GPS Cons
but a GPS is horrible for planning a New England fall foliage trip. (a small screen and it won’t always know to tell you when you are passing something of interest.)
Do you need both? No, and in that case, I would do it with the Gazetteer map book. (I did it for years this way)

The reason I stand by Gazetteers is they show terrain elevation, many of the roads, and items of interest. Below is a short list of things a gazetteer contains:

Map details

Gazetteers commonly include:
  • » Back roads, dirt roads and trails
  • » Elevation contours
  • » Remote lakes and streams
  • » Boat Ramps
  • » Public lands for recreation
  • » Land use/land cover – forests, wetlands, agriculture
  • » Trailheads
  • » Campgrounds
  • » Prime hunting and fishing spots
Art of getting lost and The Saco river covered bridge as seen from the Swiftriver covered bridge with fall foliage colors starting to develop.

Fall foliage seen around the Saco River covered bridge as seen from the banks of the Swiftriver.

And don’t forget they list all the covered bridges also!

Well if you want to see some of my scenic foliage routes follow this link and you can review the location in your own gazetteer and if I caught a shot that you want to find then you can locate that image on your own map book.

Finding Peak Fall Foliage

Are you reading to jump straight for Finding Peak Fall Foliage? Click that link and it doesn’t matter if you feel you are ready for that or not, sometimes you will find it and others not so much. It is one of the biggest Cat and Mouse games that goes on each October in New England. Read the article for my tips that this article didn’t cover.


If you have questions regarding this “Art of getting lost”, then drop a note below and I’ll post a reply as soon as I can. You can also visit my New England Fall Foliage page on Facebook. I’ll be posting updated pictures there come this fall.

Jeff "Foliage" Folger  You can purchase images by visiting my Fine Art Gallery websites Join me on my social media by clicking any of the following. FAA, Vistaphotography gallery, Jeff, My FaceBook foliage page, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Stumbleupon, Pinterest, The Four Corners of New England


Art of getting lost — 6 Comments

  1. By GPS do you mean a separate device than a phone GPS (in case there is no service?)

    • The GPS is what most people use and if you have an unlimited plan it’s great. but I’ve found the on Verizon and 1.5GB my Data plan would run out in a week or less if I left the mobile data on and maps running. It would only take a day if I had it doing turn by turn all day long…
      So sadly no, your phone GPS is not what I mean. I have a garmin that I have pluged into the lighter plug… A real GPS is much better…

  2. We love the Delorme’s too. Have one each for VT, ME and NH. I always like to see what’s over the next hill. They are especially handy for plotting a back road route to someplace, which for us is typically a plant nursery. Sometimes we get lost simply because I didn’t have good directions in the first place. One year found Horsford Nursery in Charlotte VT while looking for Pizza on Earth (check their website, most unusual pizza place).

    We’ve stumbled on Ekhart’s Farm near Hillsborough NH.

    We weren’t lost but finding Sandwich (NH) Creamery can be challenging and don’t be surprised to see a black bear cross the road.

    On our last visit to the Harpswell Maine area, Ron noticed a nature preserve and asked a waitress about it. She said there wasn’t anything there. Exactly! A bit hard to find and a very bumpy road to a small beach area that most tourists probably never see. There was one small group enjoying the sun and water, a few fisherman and us! Great place to enjoy some quiet time looking at the water. People who complain about crowds just don’t know to drive back roads.

    • Harpswell Maine… hmmm. Nope I haven’t been there.. Maybe you have the map book page and where on the page to look? The really sounds like a perfect place to visit.
      This is exactly what I mean when I say getting lost but not getting lost… You know where you are on the map but you are where others don’t go. It means that you are finding something few others will see in their lifetime and only the locals know about it.
      Eccardt’s is a very neat place and I loved the museum he set up there. I didn’t get a chance to go to the farm store but it would have been neat to get some really fresh eggs… before hitting the road…