Last Sunday we took our final end-of-autumn hike to Pleasant Mountain in Bridgton, Maine, located at the Shawnee Peak Ski Resort about 20 minutes from our house. The advantages of hiking this time of year are:
1. Due to cooler temperatures you never get overheated when you ascend the mountain
2. No bugs!
3. Fallen leaves mean mostly unobstructed views
4. Fewer people on popular trails
That said, there are just as many disadvantages.
1. You’ve missed the glorious colors of the Fall Season
2. The fallen leaves often obscure the trail and trail markers
3. The fallen leaves make for a very slippery and slow-going surface to hike on
4. The fallen leaves obscure rocks, water, mud, and uneven ground.
Although we had lots of fun, the actual hike was less than spectacular. There was a grey cast to the sky (shortly after the end of the hike, it started raining), and the haze meant I wouldn’t be getting any amazing pictures that day. Still, it was good to get out in the fresh air, and it beats stair climbing in a gym any day!
There are many different trails to reach the summit of Pleasant Mountain, which is only 2006' high. We took the Ledges Trail, which rises about 1800' in less than two miles - not particularly difficult.
This sign reminds hikers to wear bright orange so that hunters won't mistake hikers for prey. Officially there is no hunting on Sundays in Maine, but there are more lawbreakers than there are game wardens, and we prefer to be safe rather than sorry!
If not for the blue blaze trailmarker painted on the tree, we would have wandered off the trail that was hidden by heavy leaf cover. It's very easy to get lost on late aurumn hikes due to faded or sparsely posted trail signs.
about 2/3 of the way to the top, granite ledges provide nice views of the many lakes and ponds that ring all sides of Pleasant Mountain
We were greeted by extremely high winds when we got to the top. Here Spencer tries to stand his ground while his ears are blowin' in the wind
An old, boarded-up fire tower sits on summit of Pleasant Mountain
Taking a rest on the summit, my husband chats on his ham radio with other "hams" transmitting from Maine and New Mexico.
Our topo GPS records our latitude/longitude and elevation every 5 seconds as we walk . It overlays this data with a topo map to produce a summary of our hike. (click to enlarge)
If you’d like to read more about Pleasant Mountain/Shawnee Peak and access an excellent trail map, click here.