It was difficult to decide where to hike on Tuesday. Up until about 10 AM, the sky in Bethlehem was pretty much solid gray, plus I felt a bit under the weather myself (slight head cold, or whatever). Gradually, the weather (and me) started showing some signs of improvement. So, considering the "crack of noon" start I?d be getting, I opted for something relative short and easy. Speckled Mountain over in Maine would be my destination for this day (unless I decided to do something else while en route)!
I had never been to Speckled Mountain, but it has been on my mind to do ever since it was suggested to me that I should give this mountain a try by hiking to it via the Evergreen Link and Cold Brook Trail. This is a beautiful route, a good part of which is in the Caribou-Speckled Wildnerness. It's never overly steep at any point. One of the steepest parts occurs in first few tenths of a mile immediately upon leaving the trailhead!
But speaking of the trailhead, I don't know if there was ever a sign at the trailhead. Regardless, there is no sign there now! I thought I was in the right place, but since there was no sign, I was unsure. So, I went a short distance back down the road to the Evergreen Valley Inn where the good folks there confirmed that the spot I'd found was indeed the trailhead.
As I began the hike, the sky had far more clouds than sun, but at least it wasn't raining! Within an hour of hiking through an awesome hardwood forest, I came to the first of many open ledges that "speckle" this mountain. The views were marvelous, but this is where the "dappled" thing comes into play (as was mentioned in the title of this report).
The mixed conditions of sun and clouds caused the landscape to be "dappled" with areas of extreme bright and extreme dark. My poor "point & shoot" camera didn't know how to handle this, and neither did I. But between the two of us, we did the best we could and managed to eke out a few semi-decent snapshots.
Below are three photos of vistas showing some autumn colors.
Below is a snapshot which isn't being shown for reasons of autumn color. Is it just me, or does the sheer cliff on Red Rock Mtn sort of resemble "The Captain" (near Mt. Carrigain) in a way?
Well, getting back to the theme of autumn colors, my snapshots of the vistas didn't really do justice to the distant views. But to see some brilliant autumn color, you really didn't need to look any farther than the ground beneath you, or just on either side of the trail.
(Below are two examples of what I'm talking about.)
It should be mentioned that there are extremely nice views of Kezar Lake from the south-facing ledges along the upper part of the Cold Brook Trail. However, once again, because of my issues with the "dappled" lighting I only got one snapshot (out of several that were taken) that is worth posting.
And finally, I sort of knew this in the back of my mind, but I'd forgotten about it until I arrived at the summit. This mountain once had a fire tower, which is little wonder since even without the benefit of a tower, the summit area of today still provides a fine panorama of views to the southwest, north, and around to the east. The footers for the tower are still there (photo below).
Speckled Mountain is an excellent destination. I want to pay a return visit to the ledges that "speckle" this mountain, but on a day when the views aren't "dappled" with patches of sunlight and darkness.