It was time to bang out another trip that would be a major pain once the back roads close for the season. It was time for Long Mountain, which is actually two mountains in the list, West and Middle, in the gorgeous Nash Stream Forest. Today it was just Brian, Greg and I, as Joe was involved in an island croquet tournament. For the past week, we have roundly derided the guy for playing this elistist sport (I know, it's not, that's just how we're playing it) over getting filthy in the woods.
We drove up Little Bog Road as far as we could and walked up a bit looking for a road I had traced out on Google Earth. We walked too far without seeing anything, despite a clear road on the satellite photos. Hmmm. We went back, and saw a path and that's it. OK, let's follow the path. Shortly in, we saw an open area to the left, which was head high grass and muck. This day wasn't starting out too well. My friends might be losing patience with me already.
Screw it. We followed the path, which was extremely well defined, apparently used by hunters and moose alike.
I led us off on a wrong turn that I hadn't mapped and it dead-ended about 500 feet along. Argh. A herd path led upward though, and that reconnected us with the road. And so, at around 3000 feet, we had to make a decision. I requested we continue on the road, which would lead near the west peak (the one nearest the Percys). I figured this would be easier to follow than to find later, and it would also break up the return trip into the pond and the Middle peak. We all agreed and this plan worked great until 3100' where the road got lost in a wide open fern field.
Well, nothing wrong with that. Hopefully that would last. It lasted. And lasted. And lasted. And lasted. Crazy. We skirted bogs, a small bump and a little nasty stuff on the N ridge and made the summit 3 hours after we left. Nice! Even better, the temps. were cool, there was a breeze and the bugs weren't out. Last night's rain made things a bit chilly though standing around.
So off to Long Mountain Pond, something I definitely wanted to see on this trip. Again, the woods stayed wide open. We were just having a thoroughly pleasant time walking through the woods, with no steep uphills in the least. We made the pond, 0.7 miles from the summit, in 30 minutes. That's extremely fast for bushwhacking and it's not like we were even rushing. The pond was pretty nice.
We crossed near the outlet and came across a bunch of moose bones scattered about, including these vertebrae.
And so, now to Middle Long. What to say. It was, well, open.
We made the summit in 35 minutes, again 0.7 miles. Insane. I knew open fern woods had to end on a steeper slope. And so, it did. We hit young fir. We hit stick woods.
It didn't matter, it was still easy going. Anywhere we went, we found herd paths heading in the general direction we wanted, and we breezed along and returned to the path, making for a quicker exit. Elapsed time: 5:45. Distance: 7.3 miles. I remarked we have been especially blessed with open woods lately, and this one took the cake. Easily the most enjoyable bushwhack ever. It wasn't work, or strain, or a difficult puzzle to solve, it was merely a pleasant walk in the woods.