Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Mount Frissell, Part 1

I had 4 days off of work and lots of home chores to accomplish. But I was absolutely determined to do some hiking. Now that Casey and Wally have hung up their hiking shoes so to speak, it's just me and the poodle pups. So on Wednesday I took off for a trail to Brace Mountain in western Massachusetts. I hiked it a couple of years ago from the New York side but hoped that this trail would be easier. It wasn't.

Anyway, let's start with Seamus and Fergus struggling up a steep rock face. You can tell that Seamus is straining:

Now I've certainly had enough experience to know better, but I was fooled once again by this trail guide. It promised only a 479 foot elevation gain. Hey, not bad. I can do that. I was quickly reminded how deceptive that can be when at only .4 miles, the trail begins a steep 300 foot ascent of scrabbling up rock that moves one only .2 miles farther along the trail. Then it descends 200 feet, then up a few hundred feet, then down a few hundred feet. You can see where this is heading. The 479 feet was a net gain. And then there would be the return trip, with everything reversed.

I reached the first peak, Round Mountain, and it had a lovely view of Mt. Frissell, our next peak along the trail (notice the deep valley between them and imagine the descent and ascent to reach the next peak):

But the views were great and the dogs were happy:

Fergus proclaims himself "Cockapoo Of The Mountain":

Seamus would like to be "Poodle Of The Mountain" but he's a little too tired to care:

And then we began the descent into the gap between mountains:

Riga Lake in the distance:
Seamus is too tired to continue and Fergus joins him for a rest:

But continue they did, and with great enthusiasm:
Being the only person on a mountaintop on a beautiful day, accompanied by a couple of happy dogs is my idea of bliss:

Seamus is either way ahead or way behind at this point. I don't remember which:

We reached Mount Frissell and quit there. After all, we had to make a return trip all the way back the way we'd come:

Imagine Seamus and Fergus yodeling here. Or maybe singing "The Hills Are Alive":

There were so many species of scrub oaks that I took lots of photos by which to identify them when I got home. But the only oak species I could match to the photos were those which could not possibly live in this part of the country. So I deleted the pictures and decided to I'd just enjoy the beauty and leave the identification to someone else:

On the shoulder of Mount Frissell:

Happy, well exercised Seamus:

Scrub oaks and Riga Lake:

Well, we did make it back to the car. The dogs were tired and both of my big toenails turned purple and painful from descending those steep rock faces. But still it was a grand outing. If you click this photo to enlarge it, you'll see Fergus taking in the grandeur of the scenery. Or is he wondering why Dad is taking so long to catch up?:

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