The yellowing aspens of Colorado burned the evergreen slopes. Frigid winds fanned the bright dancing leaves. But these isolated blazes fizzle before the forests of flames on Maine's hills.
Mt. Megunticook's western approach is pocketed, still smoldering though the reds have already browned on the surrounding rises. Its trail, shadowed in woods, is bright. A carpet of sparks rustles and pops underfoot. I sweat in spite of the air's chill.
Maiden Cliff opens out of the fire, and I drink in the view of lake waters far below. On the edge of the bluff the metal cross stands rigid, its stark white cutting against the burning hillside. Legend says that here, in 1862, 11-year-old Elenora French plunged to her death.
The mountain is her candle today.