Chance Meeting in the Woods
Noon Peak 2976' /Jennings Peak 3440' / Sandwich Dome 3980'
Drakes Brook Trail/ Sandwich Mountain Trail
8.3 Miles 2700' Elevation gain
Blue, Linda, Kevin, Judy and Emma
Emma and I had hiked Sandwich Dome as a backpacking trip in May of '04, taking the Sandwich Mountain Trail. Judy and Emma hiked it last year, taking the Drakes Brook Trail. The three of us tried to return together last fall so I could see the Drakes Brook Trail, which Judy enjoyed very much. We were thwarted by heavy rains and high water in the brook, and had to settle for a trip to Fletchers Cascades. This spring we returned with Linda and Mr. Blue. For the first time Judy, Emma and I stood on the summit together. Twice for both Judy and I, and third time for Emma.
Emma Cools Off in Drakes Brook
As Judy had promised, the Drakes Brook Trail was gentle with mostly good footing, and a very gradual incline which brought us up to the junction with the Sandwich Mountain Trail with a few switchbacks and a couple of short, steep sections. As we hiked the deciduous trees provided great shade from the hot sun and there were multiple spots that the dogs could take a quick dip in the brook to cool off and get a drink. Along the way we became aware that Blue had picked up someone's scent, and we were on the lookout for what it could be.
Zoom of Mount Washington from Sandwich Dome
About halfway along the trail we came to a spot where it opened up and there was a short drop down to the brook. There in a spot of sunshine, on a small island in the brook lay a young cow moose having her mid-day nap. She quickly realized the presence of the dogs who never barked. Blue bolted towards her, but then thought better of it as she stood up and he realized her full mass. He quickly came back up the bank and watched from a safe distance with the rest of us. She sauntered off into the woods, then turned to see just what had disturbed her. Off she went to tell her friends, "Guess what I saw in the woods today!"
From Moosilauke (L) to Washington (R)
The rest of the trip up to the summit was less eventful, but just as peaceful and relaxing as the first part had been. On the summit we had lunch with two other folks who were enjoying the outstanding, haze-free views as much as we were. The black-flies were present, but a slight breeze kept them from driving us off the summit. When we were finally able to tear ourselves away from the beautiful scenery we started back down the way we had come. At the spur path to Jennings Peak we took the short hike up and had great views to our south, which we could only see filtered through the trees from the previous summit. The black-flies here were worse as the sun beat down on us and we were sheltered from the breeze.
Blue Finds Some Shade on Jennings Peak
We continued back down to the trail and took the Sandwich Mountain Trail back down to where we were parked. In doing so we crossed a great, flat ledgy area where there were decent views to the northeast and back to Sandwich Dome. This path also crossed Noon Peak, which had similar views as the ledgy area. From there the trail was a very steep drop back down to Waterville Valley. At the bottom of the trail the dogs cooled off in the water before we hiked the last couple of hundred yards back to the car. Great day out, thanks Linda and Blue for being our hiking partners today!
Mourning Cloak Nymphalis antiopa
Full set of pics HERE: