Sandwich Dome & Jennings Peak
Sandwich Mtn Trail --> Jennings Peak Spur --> Drakes Brook Trail
Distance: 7.70 mi.
Elevation Gain: 2,582 ft. (overall) 2,838 ft. (total)
Time: 3:10 (Sandwich Dome) 3:49 (Jennings Peak) 5:29 (total)
When I originally planned for today off, the forecast was sunny and I hoped to get the end of the foliage. As the day came closer though, clouds kept coming into the forecast. While it was overcast and the sun only came out a couple times, there was still nice views, And even though the foliage was past peak (and pretty dull), it still turned into a nice fall hike.
The trail starts pretty easy with an immediate brook crossing. The water was low and there were both rocks and logs to cross. I choose the logs and on about the second step, my shoelace caught on what once was a branch. I'm glad I use waterproof hiking boots as I had to partially submerge the foot to keep from losing my balance. Once untangled, I was off again. Things start up gently then at a more moderate pace. Footing was good and the fallen leaves didn't create a problem. While the trail isn't eroded, it was cleaned off of leaves from what you can tell was water running down it. The trail also goes through some varied sections of forrest and has a nice section of exposed rock to walk on. Here you will also find two large glacial erratics next to the trail with nothing else around.
Large rocks along the trail
After some ups and level patches, the trail gets to the steepest and probably rockiest section just before Noon Peak. This harder section is soon rewarded with an open viewpoint to the east. Views here were nice, but they showed little foliage color lefts other than dull shades of yellow.
Nice view of the Tripyramids
After this spot, the trail stays pretty gentle with no real steep or hard spots on the way to the upper junction of the Drakes Brook Trail. One pass over an open rock area also provides a nice look at Jennings Peak ahead. I bypassed the Jennings Peak Spur on the way up with plans to tag it on the way down. Past this section, there are some trees that have blown down and were either step overs or unders. Nothing bad, but the damage through here shows the wind can get bad at times. The final climb up to Sandwich Dome is pretty steady and not too difficult.
Jennings Peak ahead
Sandwich Dome summit
View from Sandwich Dome
Jennings Peak from Sandwich Dome
As good as the foliage got
Downed trees to work under
I had the summit to myself today and was able to enjoy the quiet and the views nicely. I wandered on the paths at the summit a bit to find only limited views to the south. The other views were nice enough though. Eventually I headed back down the gentle trail to the Jennings Peak Spur. This trail is short with a quick steep section near the top. It comes out to the high point with open views back towards Sandwich Dome. I took another break here and just looked around. There is an interesting looking little peak a bit further out along Acteon Ridge.
Looking back at Sandwich Dome
Soon it was time to head down using the Drakes Brook Trail so that I wouldn't have to back track as much and so I could see more scenery. Part way down into the switchbacks, I thought I heard something behind me. Having not seen another person so far today, it didn't make sense that I would have missed someone at the summits and they would be coming down behind me. So I just figured it was normal noises in the woods. Well, eventually when I turned around, I saw a dog behind me. I knew there must be someone else out after all. They had done a loop up the Sandwich Mtn Trail and headed down Drakes Brook Trail without hitting the summits. Eventually while I took a picture down along the brook, she caught up to me and we hiked together and chatted for a bit. After a nice casual stroll down an old logging road that is the trail, we got to the brook crossing. It stopped to take pictures while she continued on with her dog. It was now just a short walk out on a XC ski trail.
View west from Jennings Peak with an interesting semi open peak nearby
Following the old logging road
While the view and foliage weren't as good as I had originally hoped for today, it still turned out to be a great day with a nice casual fall hike and few others on the trail. It's hard to complain about that.
For all the pictures from the hike, just go HERE