I feel like a broken record when I say that my guy works too many hours, but so it has been. This was his weekend off and he worked more than a half day on Saturday and all day plus on Sunday. This morning he burned it all off with a seven mile run and then we headed off for a hike.
Mount Kearsarge North off Hurricane Mountain Road in North Conway, New Hampshire, is an old fav that deserved a visit.
It was great to be out of town and finally goofing off on this Labor Day holiday. He’s labored. I’ve labored (really–even when it seems like I’m playing, I truly am working, honest). And we needed a break. If we followed this blaze, however, we would never have found the summit.
Fortunately, we knew better. The hike is challenging, especially on the upward climb. We later commented about how the downward climb is faster, but does require attention to foot placement.
Just over two hours later, we approached the fire tower at the summit. Though no longer in use, it’s obvious from the 360˚ view why a fire lookout was built at this summit. Constructed in 1909, the structure was rebuilt by the US Forest Service in 1951. Prior to the replacement of fire towers by airplane surveillance, this tower was in operation until 1968.
Since we were last here about a year or so ago, it looked as if some of the support beams had been replaced.
Despite the cooler temps and wind, it’s always worth a climb up.
Once inside, all was calm. And the view–to die for. It made the efforts of our labor well worth it. We signed the log before moving back outside.
Back on the granite, we twirled about and took in each view–including Mount Washington with cumulus clouds grazing its summit.
The cloud cover varied as we looked toward the valley with Cathedral Ledge, the Moats and beyond. Because we’ve set our feet down at those various levels, we appreciated the layers before us.
And we noted the Green Hills Preserve, where we’ve also hiked many a trail.
The cloud cover changed as we turned toward home and saw Pleasant Mountain in the distance. Our house is located about center beyond the mountain. And our camp to the left end of said mountain.
Of all the rocks, lunch rock was the most important find. Sometimes, it’s difficult to locate such among all the opportunities, but this one spoke to us. And so we sat. And ate. Sandwiches (not PB&J–those are more for winter fare) and brownies (great any time of the year).
And then my guy decided to snooze. He deserved it.
I took advantage of the opportunity to observe and was tickled to find these woody fruits–the milk duds of the north woods. Snowshoe hare scat. I found numerous examples and wondered where the hares hid. Actually, they could have been anywhere because among the bald rocks there were plenty of islands filled with brushy undergrowth.
And so I poked about. Though the low bush blueberry plants were plentiful, the fruits were sparse. In fact, I only spotted this one.
More prolific were the mountain cranberries, aka lingonberries.
What surprised me was the presence of speckled alder in the mix because I think of this as a species with wet feet, but really, this mountain top is much moister than most of our lowlands, so in the end I guess it made sense. Always something to wonder about.
It wasn’t just speckled alder that made me wonder. Sheep laurel also grew there. I know it well in bogs and even along the power line behind our house. And yet, it loved the habitat on the summit.
The same was true for huckleberries–which I look at beside Moose Pond all summer. How can they like wet feet and a bald mountain landscape. But again, I think perhaps it’s the moisture for these mountains are often lost in the clouds.
Mountain holly also liked this habitat. Again, I’ve seen this at camp where the fruits have already been consumed. Songbirds love these berries and the supply on Kearsarge will disappear soon as migration begins. Here today, gone tomorrow.
Wild raisins were equally plentiful and worth admiring.
The berries are edible, at least for birds. But . . . if not consumed, the fruits shrivel up–thus the name of wild raisin.
At last, my guy awakened and we picked our way among the rocks and roots on our descent.
At least one more fruit showed its face on the downward route. Or was it a fruit? Actually not–it was an oak plum gall created by a wasp.
We talked about Labor Day as we climbed down. Labor Day is a tribute to the contribution of those who work and contribute to the strength, prosperity and well-being of our country. We gave thanks to our parents and the work ethic they taught us. And we noted the fruits of labor we saw in the natural world.
Finally, we toasted all with a beer at Delany’s Hole in the Wall in North Conway–a Shock Top for him and Tuckerman’s Pale Ale for me. On this Mondate, we felt rewarded with the fruits of all labor.