This type of adventure will likely have little appeal to some readers. Nonetheless, it was the sort of exploit that I find truly enjoyable since most of it was covering ground that was entirely new to me.
Briefly stated, I launched my trek from the parking area at the junction of North Road and Hogan Road. I walked the short distance eastbound on North Road to Lead Mine Road. I followed the Lead Mine Road corridor for about 2.7 miles until it ended, and then did a 0.2 mile open-woods bushwhack to the Mahoosuc Trail. After making a side trip to visit Cascade Mountain, I hiked the Mahoosuc Trail westbound to pick up the Centennial Trail which was used to return to my starting point. The only part of this loop that I'd previously hiked was the Centennial Trail.
The Lead Mine Road corridor, as I'm told by a local Shelburne resident, is permissible to use for foot travel. It's very easy to follow, and as can be seen from the Google Earth image below, it shows up very clearly on satellite imagery (click to enlarge).
|Google Earth image showing route for my loop hike (click to enlarge)|
The treadway is a bit overgrown in spots, whereas in other spots it's almost trail-like.
|A segment of the Lead Mine Road corridor|
From the upper end of the corridor, you catch glimpses of some of the ledges on Cascade Mountain.
|Some of the ledges on Cascade Mountain as viewed from Lead Mine Road corridor|
And speaking of the ledges on Cascade Mountain, the next 3 photos show some views from these ledges.
|A view of Presidential Range from ledges on Cascade Mountain|
|Another view of Presidential Range from other ledges on Cascade Mountain|
|Eastward view from lower ledges on Cascade Mountain|
Just as I was about to leave the ledges on Cascade Mountain, who should come along but Ryan Linn! Some of you might know him better from his truly excellent Blog named Guthook Hikes. Although this was the first time we'd ever met in person, I recognized him immediately from photos I'd seen of him. We had a delightful to chat. And who would've ever guessed that we would meet at such a relatively remote location as Cascade Mountain?
My trek from Cascade Mountain back to my starting point was rather uneventful. I met a few Appalachian Trail thru-hikers, and I met a large toad (photo below).
|Warts and all! A fine looking toad seen along the Centennial Trail|
Near the end of my descent, I stopped at a viewpoint on the Centennial Trail where there is a view of Reflection Pond and peaks in the Carter-Moriah mountain range (next photo).
|Reflection Pond and peaks in the Carter-Moriah Range, as viewed from Centennial Trail|
Perhaps I should also mention that on the way up the Lead Mine Road corridor, I made several excursions off the corridor to explore Lead Mine Brook. The water flow was remarkably low, especially considering our recent wet weather.
I only found one cascade worthy of a photograph. However, the image composite shown below is one of the worst I've ever taken of a cascade. My timing was less than perfect. When I arrived at this cascade, it was about noon and the sun was directly overhead and illuminating the water like a spotlight. It didn't matter if I photographed this cascade from the front, or from the side, the reflected light off the water was just too much for my camera to handle!
|Cascade along Lead Mine Brook|
To sum it up, I would roughly guesstimate that this was overall about a 9.5 mile trek. It took about 6 hours of actual hiking time to complete the loop. However, the time flew away before I knew it. It was such fun to experience new things at nearly every step of the way!