Took a 5 hour hike to the top of Sandwich Dome (3,980′), ascending via Drakes Brook Trail, shooting over to Jennings Peak, and descending via Sandwich Mt. Trail. The route was 4.4 miles up, 0.4 over to Jennings and back, and 3.9 miles down: total route 8.7 miles. My rough estimate is a 3,000 calorie burn.
I was on the trail before dawn, using my headlamp for the first half-hour or so. (Yes, I got more gear. Curse you, EMS.) The ground was a little mushy for a while, and included a notable crossing of Drakes Brook early on. Above 2,500 feet or so, the ground was mostly frozen solid. There was a light dusting of snow over most of the trail that revealed the footprints of woodland creatures: raccoons, birds, bears, moose, deer, etc.
The views from Jennings Peak were worth the side trip, although that’s where the bear prints were most prevalent. Ahem. I know there’s bears in the woods, including my own backyard. Seeing big ole footprints amble onto the path and then amble away again brought a poignancy to that knowledge. I can’t help wondering what a face-to-face encounter would be like. Here’s hoping I don’t find out.
The views from the summit of Sandwich Dome were good to the north, but hidden by trees to the south. The morning was clear, with bright sun. I’ll let some pictures do the rest of the talking.
Drakes Brook around 2,500 feet
Overlook from Drakes Brook Trail
From Jennings Peak ledges
Sandwich Dome summit cairn
Mt. Tecumseh on the left, facing north from Sandwich Dome summit
Carrigain, Presidentials, and Tripyramids, left-to-right, northeast from Sandwich Dome summit