One Last Fall Color Trip – Two Night Grafton Loop East Side

Mostly just a dump of some beautiful Fall pics, but a little babbling as well. Video to follow.

Wanting to spend some quiet time on familiar trails I decided to head up to one of my favorite spots. I loaded the bear can for three nights in case I was feeling sporty and headed up Puzzle Mtn mid morning on a Tuesday. The parking lot was empty and so was the trail for the next 28 hours or so.

The weather was oddly tropical for mid October in Maine. Warm and humid with no air movement at all, even on the summit. Very pretty, but sweaty so you see lots of pics of the trees and none of me heh.

Day 2 started off dark and damp with the sun not rising til after 7 and a heavy dew. I made coffee and enjoyed my bag of cereal as the light lifted. Once I could see I broke camp which isn’t my usual order of operations. This way is more relaxing than breaking camp while making breakfast, but a lot slower. It was after 8 by the time I got going.

There were still lots of leaves on the trees, but they were falling fast. The trail was becoming harder to walk as the surface disappeared. I actually slipped and fell twice on this hike which was disturbing. I’ve gotten so good at catching myself that I couldn’t remember the last time I hit the ground. Very pretty though heh. These views are from Lightning Ledge. Depending on timing it makes a great spot for second breakfast or elevensies. The only bad part is that the views come before the top of the climb so you have to go up some more after the break.

Then it was time to hump up the back side of East Baldpate. This climb goes up for a while and then goes up some more heh. There are some final views back over the ground I’d covered the last two days as a bit of inspiration before pushing on to the top.

It was almost 2 by the time I reached the summit, but no matter what the clock said, it was cheese and sausage time. Oddly for mid October there was a swarm of small black flies up there. Looking at them they didn’t seem to be Black Flies, but some other tiny fly that was black. Many were slaughtered as I enjoyed my late lunch, though I imagine a few enjoyed eating me as well.

It was nice to spend some time out of the trees for a while. The open ledges of East Baldpate and the slabby open trail of the col even had a tiny bit of breeze. I won’t say I was dry, but at least I felt drier heh. Then it was back into the damp woods for the steep descent to the Baldpate Shelter. While the first night I made camp near dark, this time I was able to enjoy a couple of hours sitting around. So very quiet! No breeze, no people, even the red squirrels that usually are fighting were silent. Pretty nice night!

In the morning I decided that I was wet enough and had hit the ground enough so I’d be taking the road back to the scoot rather than heading over Old Speck. The leaves are prettier on the trees. On the ground they are sort of dangerous, but still pretty. I was left thinking that I should have come a few days earlier, though still glad I’d made the effort.

The road walk had some spectacular views. It is always a long 7 miles, but this time it had moments like these where it seemed like a great spot to be. Not where I expected to be this week, yet it seemed I was exactly where I was supposed to be. Hope you’ve been getting out when you can!

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