After leaving a truck at the base of the Ledges Trail on Pleasant Mountain, my guy and I drove to Denmark Village to attend an annual celebration of fiber: the Denmark Sheepfest.
Like us, local sheep were ready to shed their winter coats.
Waiting their turn, they offered sheepish looks.
But we heard no complaints as the shearing began.
From there, we continued on to the Southwest Ridge Trail of Pleasant Mountain. As we climbed, we thought about the former name of the trail: MacKay’s Pasture Trail.
Between the rock outcrops and slope we decided that in the 1800s sheep probably roamed this side of the mountain. I found an 1858 map on the Denmark Historical Society’s Web site, but it’s too small to check names.
(Thanks to Jinny Mae for sending me a better copy of the map–the McKay’s property is located near the base of the trail on the Denmark/Fryeburg line–makes perfect sense that the side of the mountain served as pastureland for their farm.) Sheep and shepherds–We feel a certain affinity to shepherds/shephards because it’s a family name and were saddened to learn yesterday of the death of one relative we met this past fall in New Brunswick, Canada. Our acquaintance was short, but relationship long. As the Irish say, “May the light of heaven shine upon your grave.” Rest in peace, Ellis Shephard.
We love climbing up this trail and pausing . . .
In no time, or so it seemed, we reached lunch rock by the teepee. The teepee was constructed by the late George Sudduth, director/owner of Wyonegonic Camps , the oldest camp for girls in America. His wife, Carol, whom I’ve had the pleasure of hiking with, and family still run the camp, located below on Moose Pond.
Our view as we appreciated fine dining–ham and swiss instead of PB&J–Moose Pond’s lower basin to the left, Sand (aka Walden) Pond with Hancock Pond behind it, Granger Pond and Beaver Pond directly below us. Actually, if you look closely, you might see Long Lake between Moose and Hancock. This is the Lakes Region of Maine.
We continued along the ridge and the fire tower came into view. Once the leaves pop, this view will disappear until fall.
At the vernal pool between knobs, we only saw one large egg mass–I had to wonder if the number is related to the amount of human and dog traffic.
And then . . . we were there. At the summit of Pleasant Mountain. With a kazillion other people and dogs.
Again, we could see the bog and Lovewell Pond behind it,
plus Kezar Pond in Fryeburg and Mount Washington beyond.
No matter how often I gaze upon this view, I’m always awestruck.
We had two options because we’d left two trucks, and decided to follow the Ledges Trail to Mountain Road.
Though I was with my guy, Mr. Destinationitis, I did stop long enough to admire the common toadskin lichen with its warty pustules.
Had this been a teaching moment, the lesson plan was laid out in front of me–toadskin versus common rock tripe. Warty versus smooth. A difference in color. Both umbilicate lichens–attached to the rock substrate at a single point. OK, so maybe it was a teachable moment.
But one of us didn’t give two hoots. He tolerated me . . . while he rested. 😉
For the most part, we hiked within feet of each other, but I can never resist stopping at this point as we come upon the beginning of the ledges that gave this trail its name.
Continuing down, I frequently grasped trees and thought about how many handprints are imbedded in the history of this land–from Native Americans to surveyors to shepherds to trail blazers and hikers. On this made-in-Maine type of day, we encountered many people of all ages and abilities–and were glad to share the trail with them.
It’s not only people and sheep who have moved across Pleasant Mountain. Even today, dinosaurs made their presence known.