Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Mt. Tremont 9/13/15

Mt. Tremont (3,371') via Mt. Tremont trail, September 13, 2015.

Mileage:  5.6 miles (RT)

Elevation gain: 2,579'

Trailhead: Trail is located off Route 302 in Bartlett (9ish miles from Route 16).  Heading west, pass Sawyer Rock and cross the bridge over Stony Brook. The Tremont trailhead is .1 miles from the bridge - on the left. Parking is across the street.

Mt. Tremont is on the 52 with a View list (a list I'm not working on but you may be!).  There are fine views from this peak, though none today.

Hiked with Rich and Sandy.  The forecast called for a 40-50% chance of rain, not the best hiking weather. But it had been a hard work week and a while since I'd been in the woods. And, for no particular reason, we chose to hike Mt. Fremont (seemed like a good shorter option).

The trailhead is an easy drive from North Conway or Attitash Ski Resort.  We drove with windshield wipers on, parking across the street from the trail.  
So far, this summer's weather has been spectacular.  But it seems our planned hike days often were that one day of the week where things were damp and misty.  Rich wasn't sure he had it in him to hike another rainy day.  We managed to get him out of the car and across the street.

Path starts out quite mellow.
The path is wide and inviting with Stony Brook barely bubbling alongside (water levels were down due to lack of rain). 

One of the several cascades.

Soon we turned right -  away from the brook  - and started our ascent. The trail is well blazed; a good thing as there are some short, interesting twists and turns. 

We followed the brook before turning inward, and upward.

Skirting the side of the slope.
Seasonal water crossing. From here it starts to get steep.

The trail's 2.8 miles of alternating flats and steeps, easy paths and rough areas, and switchbacks.

Narrow eroded areas of path.
And steeps!

Slick roots, too!

Several times it started raining hard and Sandy and I felt we would have been happy to turn around and head back to the car.  The trail was muddy, pine needles slick and roots treacherous.  We looked to Rich to be our fall guy. After all, he wasn't into it when we started.

Surprisingly, he was out front, not wanting to turn around. So we continued on.

Junction at the top.

We were encouraged when we arrived at the switchbacks, though the trail is rooty and not very pretty at this point.  We reached some fine viewpoints, viewless today.

Summit area.
By the time we got to the summit area we were ready for lunch.  One heave-ho up the summit rock got us to the top of this mountain.
Sandy desperately looking for that view!

As you can see from this photo, she couldn't find it.

USGS marker on the big rock. There's another visible on a nearby slab.
We ate lunch and changed into dry clothing.

The hike down was quick and uneventful, and the rain had filled out the brook nicely.  

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Charles Mound, Illinois (State High Point #26), 9/5/2015

Charles Mound, Illinois (1,235') September 5, 2015

Mileage: 2.3ish miles RT

Elevation gain: 200ish' (not much)

Directions: The high point is roughly a three hour drive from Chicago Midway airport. Car GPS systems recognizes 688 Charles Mound Road, Scales Mound, Illinois, which will take you a few hundred feet before the gate.  A green sign "688" and gate mark the entrance to the road walk. 

Once again a work conference brought me close to a state high point, and not just any high point, the famous Charles Mound.  

It's a lovely spot, but what makes this high point stand out is that it is open to the public just eight days a year, historically the first weekend of June, July, August and September from sunup to sundown.  The conference was timed just right.

The land is owned by Jean and Wayne Wuebbels and their house is just beyond the high point. Restricting visitors to specific days in summer allows for some privacy.  They ask that cars park on the main road only.  Pets and after-dark visits are not allowed.

I got a rental car at Chicago Midway airport (not easy the Friday of a holiday weekend) and drove up to Freeport for the night (really not easy the Friday of a holiday weekend - traffic was quite backed up and highway construction had lanes dropped, speeds reduced). 

It was foggy the next morning.  My GPS did not take me through the town of Scales Mound but through the towns of Nora and Lena, rolling farmland with a large, majestic wind farm.  This area is rich with history and Charles Mound was once the site of a fort.

Through the mist I could see wind turbines for miles.

I drove down windy gravel and paved roads until I got to Charles Mound Road. My GPS indicated I'd arrived at #688 a bit prematurely but I could see several cars parked further down on the side, making it easy to know where to go.  

The number sign is partially hidden from one direction.

It's nice of the Wuebbels to accommodate us geeky high pointers!

It was hot and humid (really humid) but the mist was lifting.  I enjoyed hiking up the dirt road with other high pointers.

The view of the field off to the left is beautiful. Livestock are penned in to the right.

View off to the left.

At one point a road goes off to the right and ascends. At first I thought that was the way to the highpoint but remembered that drawings of the area (in Holmes' and Zumwalt's books) indicate a straight shot from parking to the high point. No one mentioned a fork so I kept left on the main road, which is the correct way to go. I passed a field of tall corn where the road swings to the right. Just to be sure, I got out my iPhone and checked the map. I was headed in the right direction.

You'll go past this barn, where high pointers used to park.

The high point is past the barn and up the road a hundred or so yards.  There were several people there taking photos and signing the register.

Nice view to the right; the mist had lifted.

Three markers - this is the closest (note the nails).

Register, and where you put gifts - they like state mugs.

There's just so much you can see and do up there and I had a plane to catch three hours away so I walked back down with Sandra and Dave, two high pointers from Ft. Myers, got into my car and made the trip back down to I-90, this time going through Scales Mound.