Sunday, June 26, 2011

Part 2, Mountain Laurel Heaven

I was hiking up Mt. Everett, in western Massachusetts, with four of my dogs. Both the weather and the Taconic Mountain scenery were magnificent. We climbed higher and higher up the rocky trail which was lined with budding Mountain Laurel bushes. Little Clover turned around to see what was taking me so long:

There had been lots of Mountain Laurels in full bloom on the entrance road, but here at this higher altitude there were mostly just buds. But still they were beautiful:

A close up view of a cluster of Mountain Laurel buds:

And then I saw these red beauties in the understory beneath the tall Mountain Laurels. They looked very much like a miniature Mountain Laurel and, in fact, turned out to be Sheep Laurel, Kalmia angustifolia, a close relative (same genus) of its taller relative, the Mountain Laurel:

Here's a close up of some Sheep Laurel blossoms:

And just around a rocky bend in the trail I came across a few Mountain Laurels with a few open flowers:

The trail turned both steeper and rockier. I was beginning to huff and puff, but the two young Papillons ran from rock to rock like miniature mountain goats:

Just below the summit, we scrambled up and out onto a rocky overlook where I knew the view was good:

At its highest point, the dogs and I relaxed in the warm June sun:

And looked out over the valley below and from there across the Taconic Mountains:

When I arrived at this scenic overlook, I erred by saying I was looking out over the Hudson Valley. I later realized that I was already east of the Hudson River and looking eastward out over southwestern Massachusetts and northwestern Connecticut. The lake I saw was Washining Lake, one of the Twin Lakes just north of Salisbury, Connecticut. In spite of my misidentifying of the landscape, the scene was lovely:

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