Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Dream Lake & The Ledges of Bald Cap Peak 10/9/11

I'm just getting caught up on my reports from Columbus weekend. Now if you read the hiking blogs than you probaly read 1HappyHiker's. If so you will recognize this hike from one of his last posts. I did mine first though.  ;-)

I started out on the Peabody Brook Tr. around 11:00 after doing Mt Hayes.
It was yet another gorgeous day in this string of beautiful weather we'd been having.
I'd been up north since Thursday and it seemed as though the colors were brightening more each day.
This was 4 day of hiking in this fantastic weather and it almost seemed surreal to me. Not having seen a soul on most of my hikes, having all this to myself, was almost a religious experience at this point. Sorry for the deep thoughts moment. :-) Getting back to the hike, as you gain elevation on Peabody Brook Tr. there is a spot where you get some views SW.
From hear is also spotted some ledges to the west. Looking at a map it's seems to be just an unnamed bump but it looks like a good spot to whack to someday when I'm back in the area.
I've been on this trail twice before and love it. Easy grades and beautiful woods.
Once reaching the height of land the trail levels out and presents it's only bad side, standing water and mud. My first trip here was 3 years ago in spring with bog bridges in disrepair. From a couple years ago.
Since then there has been a lot of work done to the bridges. Another reason for the water is that there is a large amount of beaver activity up there. This photo is from my first trip as well.
But what these guys have been doing lately is amazing.
The trail in this area is pretty flooded by what looked like 3 dams. One primary and 2 back-ups. All of this is going on right on trail.
It appears that they actually dragged a section of bog bridge in the woods about 10 feet to help with the dam. Damn.  8)
Well the trail does eventually get dryer once past this mess. Can you still trap beaver? ;-)
I continued on Peabody Brook to my target of Dream Lake. It's a must do hike. Dream Lake is a beautifaul spot and make for a great day hike in it's self.
I stopped for lunch here, how could you not, then headed off for the ledges of Bald Cap Peak. I retraced my steps on Peabody Brook and picked a spot to go in. Finding first a great place to camp someday.
The woods here were a mix but mostly open and easy going.
As I reached the fringes of the first set of ledges that I was headed for, I saw a small cairn on the ledge. I thought of a number of reasons why it was there but later found out from 1HappyHikers report that years ago the AT used to go over the Bald Cap Peak Ledges. 
From this point is was jsut a quick descent to open ledge facing  S-SW
From hear I wanted to head north a bit to some more ledge that I'd hoped would get me views in a different direction. 
Along the way I came across another one of those cairns.
Once there, I did have views more SE.
And south
I believe I even managed to get some views bending to the north. This may be Mt Success but I'm not sure on that one.
Since I car camped the night before I was anxious to get my motel room in Gorham for a nice hot shower so I headed out. I did have to stop at just one of the beautiful cascades on Peabody Brook.
Another stop at the lookout on the trail.
One more foliage photo
And I'm done. 
It doesn't get much better than this.  :D

The Whack Tracks

Monday, October 17, 2011

Engine Hill South Peak 10/8/11

Saturday , after hiking Table Mtn. in Bartlett, I did the hike and bushwhack to S. Engine Hill. Started off on the NE branch of Rocky Branch Tr. around 10:30 in the morning on yet another gorgeous day.
I was surprised to see the the foliage down low in this area hadn't seen much change. Could have been summer.
I've only been on this trail a couple of times and haven't thought much of it. It's been very wet and muddy and I couldn't wait to get off it. But in this beautiful time of year, with great weather, I was quite enjoying it. And as I gained elevation, the fall colors started showing up.
I guess it wouldn't be Rocky Branch without the mud and water on trail. So sure enough as soon as the trail starts to run with the contour, there was plenty of water and mud.
But that was not enough to spoil the day. It's amazing what a little blue sky and fall color will do to improve a hike. :-)
Somewhere in the 3000' foot area at the height of land, I started my whack for S. Engine Hill. Now I'd heard about some really great birch glades on this whack but that's not what I saw on my entry point.
Not only was this not the glades I was hoping for, it was darn right nasty pencil woods. Which, I believe I still have a piece of stuck in my leg.  :-(
I was headed do south but started heading west for a bit to try and get around this mess. It didn't take too long before I spotted better woods heading south.
I stayed on a southerly heading for about .4 miles then started looking for the high. Within 5 minutes I'd found it. This is pretty much the summit of Engine Hill South Peak.
I knew there was some open ledge near the summit but I wasn't sure how close until I got to the summit. From there I could see the open area with views.
Not spectacular but any view on a bushwhack is a bonus. I pretty much only had limited views of the Presi's.
I did however spot something on one of the bumps on Montalban Ridge that looks like it will have great views. It may be the east side of Isolation but I'm not sure.
At any rate this was the spot for lunch so I hung out there for a half an hour. Then it was time to head out to try and find the glades I'd heard about. I headed do east off the summit finding OK woods but nothing great.
But, sure enough in about ten minutes I walked in to beautiful birch glades. With views. 
It was easy to spot the heavy moose traffic in this area. Several herd paths, beds, and then there were these.
The further down I went, the more these woods opened up. It was incredible. I thought I was in the glades at some ski area. Simply gorgeous.
And even more views though the trees. Sable and Chandler here.
And the Doubleheads.
With all the moose sign I was hoping to see a moose. Well I heard that tell tale crack. I stopped, listened, and moved slowly towards the sound. Sure enough, a large bull about 100' away. Sorry for the tease but no picture. He moved off to fast for me to get a good shot. Picture that is.  8)  Another photo of these fantastic glades will have to do.
A few minutes after taking this it started to get too boggy so unfortunately I needed to head for the trail and say good-bye to the glades. But still decent.
From where I was now I had too make a bit of a climb up to get to Rocky Branch. But before too long, I was back on trail.
I reached the trail head around 4:00 PM.
Good stuff.  :D

The tracks