Sunday, September 11, 2011

Beginning The Hike Up Jug End Ridge

Tropical Storm Irene presented me with not much of anything except a lot of rain, nothing I hadn't seen before. In fact, by the afternoon it was almost over and I went to the gym and the grocery store, complete unaware of the devastation that other places all around me had suffered.

The next morning, still not realizing that there'd been a lot of damage, I drove to Mount Everett Reservation in northwestern Massachusetts to hike Jug End Ridge. I found some washed out roads on my way there and heard news reports of the destruction some places had suffered. When I arrived at the Mount Everett Reservation, I found the gate locked. I figured either someone hadn't gotten out of bed early enough or Irene had washed out the mountain road. It was perhaps two miles to the trail head, so I parked my car and began to walk up the road:

I quickly discovered that the reason for the locked gate was the devastated road which would have been completely impassible for my car. But my feet still worked and the dogs were happy to be out, so we kept heading upwards:

It was about two miles to the parking area and to lovely Guilder Pond:

And on the way, Fergus posed in front of a very large Mountain Laurel bush, possibly the same bush I photographed in full bloom earlier in the year:

And just past the parking and picnic area, I joined the Appalachian trail which passes by, going right up over the peak of Mount Everett, down to the parking area and then up to Jug End Ridge, which is where we were heading:

The trail entered the woods looking pleasant, level and easy. The sun was shining and I quickly forgot about Tropical Storm Irene. Most of the brush alongside the trail was Mountain Laurel:

But then I began to encounter lots of wet trails. In this spot, someone had built a kind of log bridge. I used it but the dogs seemed to think it was silly:

Fascinating mushrooms of many varieties had sprung up in the mosses all around (and in) the trail:

And the trail got wetter. The dogs walked right through the water but I endeavored to rock hop or find alternate routes:

And then the trail became a veritable stream. I was able, however, to walk along the sides, out of the water:

And I continued to be amazed by all the mushrooms. This family of apple red fungi was so stunning that I decided to take photos of all the different kinds I could find along the way:

The dogs uttered a startling "W OOF!" and I looked up to discover another hiker with a large yellow Pit Bull/Lab mix:

The dog was named Everett (after the mountain) and was exceeding well behaved and playful, a wonderful combination. He and Seamus played and then Everett chased the Papillons for a bit. I discussed hiking with dogs with Everett's dad and then they moved on ahead of us. We were well on our way. I'll post more tomorrow:

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