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


  1. Joe, the final two words of your report sums it up beautifully, i.e. "Good stuff"!

    You got some terrific photos of colorful autumn foliage, plus some nice views, coupled with beautiful birch glades, and even ran across some moose antlers. What else can one ask for?!


  2. Thanks John. Yes, it was good stuff. But it would have been great stuff if I managed to get a photo of that bull.

    Thanks for looking,