On Columbus day, October 11, 2010 I took my kids to New Hampshire for the day. It was a beautiful day, and we were thrilled to see the spectacular colors. I gingerly stepped out onto some of the rocks to take some pictures…as did about a dozen other people. I let the kids play on the rocks, as I had been allowed to do when I was a kid. I really didn’t think too much about it. This is a very popular spot along the Kancamagus Highway. I snapped pictures of the different color trees and of the kids playing on the rocks. They took turns taking pictures as well using my camera. After close to an hour, we headed out and went home.
Yesterday, a mere 5 days later, another couple from somewhere outside of New Hampshire went to the same popular spot and took some pictures of their own. The husband apparently stepped out on to the rocks to take some pictures when he slipped into the frigid mountain stream. He was holding his camera above his head to protect it, while his wife tried to rescue it. Then she slipped. Their bodies were found a few miles away from where they were last seen.
I am humbled to think that we were there, doing just as they were. I have shots of the kids climbing over the rocks in the middle of the river. I told them over and over not to run; the combination of sand on the bottom of their shoes, and the smooth surface of the river-worn rocks was a dangerous combination. I worried about broken bones or bloody faces. Never once did I worry about either of them loosing their life in that river. Maybe because I spent some summer hours in that river body surfing for several hundred yards before jumping out and running up-stream to do it again.
My heart goes out to the family of the unnamed couple who lost their lives. I took for granted the fact that I succeeded in getting my fall foliage picture with the seemingly calm river below. I will never look at this picture the same way. Nor will I ever underestimate the power of that river.