Sunday, July 1, 2018

Sunday on the Georges Highland Path: Soggy, Slippery, Soaked

Woke up to pouring rain at 4:30 am, right when the alarm was going off, so instead of getting an extra early start to this morning's adventure, we slept for another hour and then headed out around 7:00 am. Not many people on the road, but there were a few cars in the lot when we arrived.

Ryan was super cranky in the first mile or so, as the trail wound through the woods, with lots of PUDs (pointless ups and downs), the rocks and roots incredibly slippery from all the rain and humidity. I was happy to find one red eft along the trail - always a treat!

By the time we started climbing, we were pretty much soaked. It was super humid, the air heavy, the rocks slick. But once we got out onto the ledges, there was a nice breeze and even a few ripe blueberries to enjoy along with a pretty sky and cranberries turning red.

We climbed up to the tower atop Ragged and then followed the GHP around the backside until we reached the unmarked top junction of the Red Diamond trail. Ryan's ribs had been bothering him the whole way but he was up for a few more miles at a mellow pace so we hiked along and then hiked/ran down the Red Diamond trail at the edge of the ski area. Coming down to the top of the double lift, we stopped to take in the views along the slopes, the trails filled with purple cow vetch, daisies, black eyes susans, yellow trefoil and buttercups amongst the grasses. Swallows flitted about and I was drawn to the call of a bird chipping amongst the cow vetch and was thrilled to see an indigo bunting fly up and out of the grasses a few times. Hurray!

We crisscrossed the ski slopes to a connecting trail to the Hosmer Brook Trail, taking a much more direct route than I had taken when I first did this loop back in the spring! The trail climbed fairly steeply but on some nice soft trail through the hardwoods, and by the top, I was feeling the humidity, the air heavy and trapped down at ground level by the crown of leaves above. Ryan's photo eloquently captures our feelings as we hit the ridgeline on the GHP again 😂😂

Back at the Red Diamond trail junction, we turned again to take the nice pine-needle covered trail to a side trail that took us right back to the Ragged tower without having to traverse the slippery ledges on the backside of the mountain along the actual GHP.

From there, it was a fairly quick descent back to the car, with a few more stops for blueberries and to admire red eft #3 for the day. We finished as soaked as if we had come through a hard rainstorm. Whew! Ah, summer 😉😅 (8.6 miles)

We finished up the morning with a stop for lunch at Moody's Diner. As for their apt tagline of "pie fixes everything," indeed it does 😃 YUM!

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