The best laid schemes of mice and men, go oft awry where I'm concerned. Another big day planned, four peaks in the Dixville area, cleaning up a couple easy peaks we couldn't get a few weeks ago, and two more to round out the day. And lots of logging road driving. So again we headed up Corser Brook Road, trying to get as close to Rice Mountain as possible. We turned on South Valley Brook road, made another turn, and came up short of our destination by ½ mile. The road we wanted was all bermed up. Ah well, a little extra road walk won't be so bad. The forecast was sketchy today, with showers, but improving, and there was a low overcast and light drizzle when we started. But the fall colors were in great shape up here, providing a lovely backdrop.
We came to the end and continued south along logging cuts which would bring us to nearly 3000 feet. The grass was chest high, and the footing tricky, so we eventually entered the woods, which was much better going, and headed up. The woods stayed wide open, but some steep spots slowed us down. This is about the worst woods we saw all day:
On the plateau, it turned out this was a bumpy little bugger, and with each bump I topped out on, I kept seeing higher ground elsewhere. Climb, spot, climb, spot, etc. etc. Good grief. We finally found the high point, and took a little break. OK, lots to do, we headed out more directly to the car this time, and again, just kept finding wide open woods, one of the joys of the North Country (in general...).
We hit the brook near the logging cut and could see the road across it. This was tricker crossing than expected, with plenty of muck and hidden obstacles. Just as we got down, the rain started. Sigh. Why does it always rain on us here? Well, ok, we're only 2 for 2. Next up Cave. Taking a turn near Four Mile Brook Road, we took a wrong turn soon and found ourselves going north, nor west. Backtracked and found our error. Crap, this road doesn't look good. Rocky and a little overgrown. And in only a few hundred feet it was overgrown. Dammit! Way too far to walk from here, time to go to N. Crystal. Now we found Four Mile Brook Road washed up over a mile from our intended parking spot. That also meant an extra 2 miles round trip for W. Tucker. Sigh. Fortunately, my map had a road leading right from here to near N. Crystal, so we took that and found a wall of dirt 10 feet high.
I could see a path off to the left, but didn't know it looped in the right direction (we would find that out on the way back). So in a case of bad decisions, I went up the wall, where Brian smashed his nuts topping out. Break time. Well, his voice was still low, so we pressed on along more logging cuts, and then into the woods, skirting anything sketchy, staying in open woods. Legs were a bit tired now, but we pressed on slopes of varying steepness.
The rain stopped, which was good, as I was sweating on this warm and humid day in rain gear, so off came the jacket. There was probably a puff of steam as I took it off. The summit area is a carpet of green moss, the greenest summit I've ever seen. More bump hunting, but this one went quicker and we found the high point. As a bonus, the sun came out.
We headed down, and I was still hoping to hit W. Tucker. The trip down was uneventful, and we found and followed another cut leading in the right direction.
And this of course led us to the path which brought us right to the car, avoiding the ball-busting headwall. It was now 3:00, and W. Tucker was a 4.5 mile hike. We could do it, but wouldn't be out until 6:00. Well, we gotta come back for Cave anyways, and the yumminess of Scorpio's called to us. So, getting all of Brian and my peaks north of Rt. 26 would have to wait for a couple of weeks or so. C'est la vie. Our bonus today was the clouds lifted enough to get this spectacular view from Corser Brook Road. Damn, I love this area.