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Boulder Loop Leaf Tour

Three from across the pond.

Several months ago a lady from the United Kingdom, Louelle, was planning a fall holiday for herself and two of her girlfriends, Emma and Lorna. She did an online search, found us, and booked a half-day hike at that time. Fast forward to yesterday, October 15th, and those three friends finally make it to us here on the left side of the Atlantic to do that hike. Due to the history of relations between the UK and Portugal, and that European bond, we assigned Redline Guide Álvaro Marques to this mission (which he joyfully accepted).

Welcome to New Hampshire, USA

Álvaro learned throughout the day that our friends were visiting several states — they came from Maine this morning and will be in Vermont tomorrow, then New York… You get the idea. He also learned that visiting New Hampshire, specifically, and seeing our famed fall foliage was on their must-do-before-I-die “bucket list.” We were more than happy to make their wishes come true. And we agree, it’s list-worthy.

They haven’t gotten the goods, yet, but already they’re impressed.

Boulder Loop Trail was a perfect itinerary, chosen by Álvaro for its expansive views and just-right distance and difficulty. Moreover, there are two, protected, south-facing “color pockets” visible from this trail that owner Mike Cherim knew about from guiding a similar foliage tour on this very loop in the past. These pockets, we hoped, would hold some brighter colors.

Lorna checks out fire damage. There was a fire here.

The trio saving us from falling boulders.

At two-tenths of a mile in via a common footpath — the “lollipop stick” — the trail splits into two directions, each an end of a closed loop. Beginning the day before yesterday, Álvaro was considering which way to go. It is not a decision to be taken lightly. He and Mike had a deep discussion on the matter. The purpose, of course, was to maximize the enjoyment of the day and create the best possible experience for our guests. This might be one of those “six, one-half dozen, or another” decisions but the two labored over it, still. Mike ultimately told Álvaro that he trusted his judgement and to make the final decision. Álvaro, after careful consideration, chose to go to the right. A counterclockwise loop. His reasoning was to allow them several rewards on the way down after the bland, initial push. Moreover, weather dictated doing the heavy lifting early on thanks to the heat and humidity, saving the views for later when the partly cloudy skies would clear further. It was smart.

All the effort is about to be rewarded. Please note the smiles. This is means having a good time, internationally.

Arriving at the first outlook ledges. Wow. Those smiles are growing broader.

Emma stands for a photo. Note one of those two color pockets partially visible to her right.

A U.N. Summit, obviously, with Álvaro and Lorna. Hey, does that mean peace?

Álvaro isn’t just about finding those pockets of color or putting actual effort into choosing the best direction. None of our guides stop at the minimum — we won’t be the best we can be unless we reach for it. But he takes it a little further. In fact, Álvaro is developing a bit of a reputation among the Redline Guiding Team. We all want to shadow him now. We can’t match his unique level of service, that’s for sure. Granted he can’t perform his magic on every trip for practical and/or safety reasons, but when he can… wow. Curious yet? Well, Álvaro is Portuguese and he loves to cook. So, if you think trail mix is yummy stuff on a mountain (though everything tastes great in the mountains), you can just imagine what freshly-grilled chorizo sausage tastes like. Yes, you may request Álvaro in the comments section of our booking form.

Freshly grilled chorizo sausage. Yeah, we’re that good. Yeah, so hungry right now. How is it, Louelle?

Álvaro has a rider: “Alpine” (a sock doll made by Redline Guide Arlette Laan). Emma has her own, too. A Troll doll.

The group carefully makes its way down the mountain.

Back at the trailhead. Safe and sound. Lorna, Louelle, Emma, and Álvaro.

Congratulations, ladies. Well done on your hike. And well done to you, too, Álvaro.

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