I made a speedy ascent of the short-but-steep Cascade, enjoyed the amazing variety of mushrooms on Porter, and descended via the expansive Little Porter Mountain on one of my favorite traverses. I followed it up with a hike into the JBL and a quick up-and-down Big Slide.
Staring down the sheer south side of Redfield, thick with what is nearly impassibly thick trees and debris, and over to Allen Mountain jutting steeply from the surrounding flats, a vulture launched beside me a circled the thermals over my head. I understood the symbolism, took some pictures and headed back.
As I descended to Bartlett Ridge and Panther Gorge I was a bit surprised at how steep it was. I remembered it as steep, but not *this* steep.
The summit was glorious — brilliant sunshine, no wind, and panoramic views. We stayed a half hour but could have spent all afternoon. What a glorious summit for Kathy’s first winter 46!
I would ascend via the “Express” trail directly to Santanoni Peak, then descend all the way to Couchsachraga, and hit Panther Peak on the way out via Bradley Pond. Looping this way makes the total hike about 15 miles with 5,000 vertical feet of climbing.
It helps that the weather was perfect, and that it’s been a dry summer so mud and water were eminently avoidable. But it’s also a lovely and wild forest, you just have to look 10 feet off the trail to see it.
Records are courtesy of the Mad Platter, the record (as in LPs for you old folks) store in town.