Maybe we’re a wee bit crazy. Maybe there’s no maybe about it. My guy and I climbed Pleasant Mountain again, only this time we took a much longer route than yesterday.
After leaving a truck at the Southwest Ridge trail, we drove around the mountain and began today’s trek via Bald Peak. It’s always a good way to get the heart beating, but then again, any of the trails up the mountain will accomplish that mission.
One of my favorite features of this path is the voice of the stream–water rippled with laughter as it flowed over moss-covered rocks before splashing joyously below.
And then we turned right onto Sue’s Way. We never knew Sue, but are thankful for this path carved in her honor.
Across the ravine, snow still clung to the East slope at Shawnee Peak Ski Area.
Oaks, beech, hemlock and yellow birch form most of the community, feeding the needs of their neighbors–including porcupines.
We followed the trail as it embraced another stream and watched the landscape change.
Eventually, we were in the land of large boulders and ledges, all decorated with common polypody and moss–an enchanted forest.
At the top of Sue’s Way, we detoured to our first peak–Shawnee Peak.
Splotches of snow signified the end of a season.
The Pine chairlift silently rested, its duty accomplished until it snows again.
And in the shack, the back of ski chair spoke of past adventures and adventurers.
From there, we followed the North Ridge Trail to our first official peak.
Despite today’s warmth, ice still reflected movement frozen in time.
North Peak has always been one of my favorite spots on this mountain. In the land of reindeer lichen, blueberries and dwarfed red pines, we ate lunch–day two also of ham and Swiss. This is becoming as much of a habit as climbing the mountain.
When we stood up on lunch rock, our view included the master of all New England mountains glowing in the distance.
In a few months, the treasures of this place will give forth fruitful offerings.
With North Peak behind, our view encompassed the rest of the peaks.
Continuing down and up again, we heard plenty of quaking coming from a vernal pool about one hundred feet off the trail. And then we were atop Bald Peak, where Mount Washington again showed its face, with Kezar Pond below.
The other side of the trail offered a photo opp of the Route 302 causeway that divides the north and middle basins of Moose Pond.
Our decision today was to hike the mountain in a backward fashion as compared to our normal routes, so we approached the main summit from the Firewarden’s Trail.
Once again, many others also took advantage. We did chuckle because except for one guy, of all the people we encountered, we were the oldest. The youngest–a baby in a backpack.
At the junction below the main summit, we began to retrace yesterday’s footsteps on the Southwest Ridge Trail.
The sunny exposure made this the warmest of all trails and the Trailing Arbutus prepared to make its proclamation about the arrival of spring.
Near the teepee, I felt compelled to capture the ponds again. Another beautiful day in the neighborhood.
After chatting with a family at the teepee, we began our descent. Of course, someone was mighty quicker than me.
Where no trees grow on the bedrock, cairns showed the way.
Before slipping into the forest again, I was thankful for the opportunity to capture the blue hue of sky, mountains and ponds.
We made our final turn at the three cairns and
followed the path down–though we did begin to think that maybe they’d moved the parking lot.
Over six miles and four hours later, we had Loon Echo Land Trust to thank once again for protecting so much of the mountain and maintaing the trails. We reminisced today about how our relationship began at a halloween party held at the ski area thirty years ago and the number of treks we’ve made along these trails since then. Whether hiking to the ledges or teepee, making a loop or walking peak to peak on a sunshiny day such as this–it never gets old.