It's always so amazing to me how time flies! Before I knew it, my morning was gone and noon was fast-approaching. Despite the compressed time frame, I opted to throw some things together and head over to Evans Notch for a short romp to Blueberry Mountain.
Although I've been to Blueberry Mountain many times, I've never hiked it from Brickett Place via the Bickford Brook/Blueberry Ridge trail combination. Previous treks have been done as loop-hikes involving the Stone House/White Cairn trails.
In the title of this report, the term "eye-candy" was used. As most everyone knows, this expression is used to describe visual elements that are aesthetically appealing or attention-compelling. On this hike, there certainly was a very generous serving of eye-candy for such a measly mileage (about 3.5 miles round-trip).
The eye-pleasing treats began with the first few steps as the trail sliced its way through beautiful woodlands dressed in their finest autumn colors.
Trail slicing through beautiful woodlands dressed in their finest autumn colors
After hiking just a few tenths of a mile, you enter the Caribou-Speckled Mountain Wilderness area.
Sign announcing entry into the Caribou-Speckled Mountain Wilderness area
A very short distance after entering the Caribou-Speckled Wilderness you pick up the Blueberry Ridge Trail which descends immediately to cross Bickford Brook. A few hundred yards downstream from this crossing is a picturesque cascade. The next snapshot shows the brook as it races towards its plunge over a rocky precipice to form a cascade.
Bickford Brook racing towards its plunge over a rocky precipice to form a cascade
The cascade can be viewed by following a faint pathway on the north side of Bickford Brook, or you can cross the brook and bushwhack down to the south bank. I did both. You get slightly different perspectives from each side of the brook.
Shown below is only a portion of the cascade. There's more to it than I could capture, regardless of which side of the brook I was on.
Unnamed cascade on Bickford Brook near Blueberry Ridge Trail
After crossing Bickford Brook, there is a steep climb, much of which is over bare slabs of rock which would likely be quite slippery in wet and/or icy conditions. In less than half an hour I arrived at the first open ledges where there are views looking westward toward the Baldface-Royce Mountain Range. Shown below are three snapshots of some of those views.
West/Southwest view toward Baldfaces
West view toward Basin Pond (left) and West Royce (right)
West/Northwest view toward West Royce and East Royce
Everything I'd seen up to this point was all very nice. However, the really good "eye-candy" was found atop Blueberry Mountain on the Lookout Loop Trail. One of the delights is shown in the next photo which is looking southeasterly toward Shell Pond.
Southeasterly view toward Shell Pond as seen from Blueberry Mountain
The wide vista shown in the above photo was nice. However, there was an even more generous scoop of "eye-candy" at the spot from which that photo was taken.
One of the viewing spots along the Lookout Loop Trail atop Blueberry Mountain
Blueberry Mountain, as you might guess, gets its name from the abundance of blueberry bushes that are located there. As could plainly be seen in the preceding photos, the leaves on these bushes take on a brilliant red color in the autumn.
The next photo is just one more example of the "eye-candy" that is created by these bushes.
Another colorful scene along the Lookout Loop Trail atop Blueberry Mountain
While rambling around the top of Blueberry Mountain, there were many other sights that caught my attention other than the blueberry bushes. One such spectacle is seen in the next photo where a Tamarack tree demonstrates how to stand out in a crowd. You come dressed in a gold-colored wardrobe when all your buddies are dressed in green!
A golden-colored Tamarack tree standing out among its buddies who are all dressed in green
Also, I came upon a small stand of cotton grass, as seen in the next photo. I (and perhaps many readers as well) have seen stands that are much larger and almost resemble snow upon the landscape when viewed from a distance.
A small stand of cotton grass on Blueberry Mountain
After getting my fill of "eye-candy", I descended the mountain and arrived back at the trailhead with about an hour of daylight to spare. Therefore, before heading for home, I drove a short distance down Route 113 to snap a few photos at Basin Pond. The next photo is looking northward across the pond toward the south end of West Royce Mountain.
Northward view across Basin Pond
From the Basin Pond area, I also took an eastward-looking snapshot of the colorful foliage on and near Sugarloaf Mountain.
Colorful foliage on and near Sugarloaf Mountain as seen from Basin Pond area
After leaving Basin Pond and heading for home, there was a roadside vista that caught my attention. I pulled over to a wide spot on the shoulder of Rt. 113 and snapped the next photo which shows some of the many lumps and bumps associated with West Royce Mountain.
Roadside vista of the many lumps and bumps associated with West Royce Mountain
For anyone who might be unfamiliar with this area, shown below is a map. My route is highlighted in yellow.
(Click on map to enlarge it.)
Map which shows my route highlighted in yellow
If you go to this location and have more time than I did, there is a nice loop that can be done by continuing northward along the Blueberry Ridge Trail. You can re-intersect the Bickford Brook Trail, do a short side-trip to Speckled Mountain, and then descend back to the trailhead via the Bickford Brook Trail.
To sum it up, I wish things would've worked out such that I'd gotten an earlier start. Nonetheless, it was still a magnificent way to spend an afternoon by doing a short hike to Blueberry Mountain via a route that was new to me.
And, as a bonus, I received a generous serving of "eye-candy"!