The only way I can explain this strange behavior is to speculate that I came down with an acute case of OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder)! A day or so after having hiked to Blake Mountain (the first time!), I noticed that there is another obvious route for reaching this destination. I became obsessed with giving this route a try, and I felt compelled to try it (sooner rather than later)!
On the positive side of the equation, the snow conditions on 15-March were ideal for bushwhacking. Recent rain, followed by below freezing temperatures, had consolidated the snowpack into a firm mass. This was perfect for the mixed conditions I encountered, which consisted of large patches of snow intermixed with patches of bare ground. There was never a need to use snowshoes or Microspikes since I could walk on top of the rain-hardened snow with bare boots.
And even though my destination was the same, the two routes were completely different. At least this was consistent with my goal of trying to do something different on each of my hikes. The map presented below shows the route taken on 09-March and the one taken on 15-March (click to enlarge).
|Map showing two routes taken to Blake Mountain|
Shown below is a chart which compares the two routes to Blake Mountain (click to enlarge).
|Comparison chart of the two routes to Blake Mountain|
The route taken on 15-March was predominately a bushwhack through woods that were mostly open hardwoods, along with a smattering of mixed conifers. It was fairly easy to keep on course by following the various boundary markers which consisted of sporadic signage, and trees with swatches of red paint. And for a large part of the route, the boundary parallels an old stone wall. I assume this wall was a boundary marker for a landowner of bygone days. The next photo shows a sample of these various boundary markers.
|Boundary markings encountered along the route|
Shown below is a compilation of some of the views available from the logging cut located near the top of Blake Mountain.
|Some of the views from logging cut located near the top of Blake Mountain|
I have just two other photos to present. This next one shows a tree that I saw along the way. It had quite a few resident mushrooms clinging to its trunk!
|A "Mushroom Tree" seen along the route to Blake Mountain|
And, as you might recall from gazing at the map shown above, my most recent trek to Blake Mountain also included a short side trip to Mud Pond. Yes, this is one of the many bodies of water that are named Mud Pond! It would be interesting to know how many ponds there are, in the State of NH alone, which have been bestowed with this name. It wouldn't surprise me to learn that there might be upwards of 20 or more!
Regardless, shown below is a photo which shows a portion of the Mud Pond that I visited on 15-March.
To sum it up, I always enjoy bushwhacking for the pure pleasure of it. Therefore, even though I had just visited Blake Mountain a few days earlier, this was still a fun adventure for me. However, I now have my fill of Blake Mountain. If I ever make a return visit, it will likely be many years from now! And for anyone who might be curious, I found the route taken on 15-March to be more pleasurable than the one taken on 09-March.