This was my first (and only) trip of 2013 to my adopted Mt Clinton Trail. All-in-all, it was certainly not a very productive year. On this trip, I discovered that a large tangled stand of blowdowns were blocking the Mt Clinton Trail between Mizpah Springs Hut and the Dry River Cutoff junction, an area that usually requires minimal work. With just my small bowsaw to work with, I was only able to clear a small portion of this mess. An axe would have been more efficient but I don't own a decent axe, nor have I had the mandatory axe training. This swathe of destruction was likely caused by Tropical Storm Sandy last fall, but I hadn't expected anything this extensive.
In July, our dog, best friend, and hiking companion, Muffin, died at the age of 16 after a period of declining health, so I didn't go up to the mountains during the summer. Later in the year, when I was planning to return to work on the trail in the fall, I was prevented from doing so by the government shutdown, which also applied to Forest Service volunteers.
Today, after struggling to clear as many blowdowns as possible amid a thick cloud of blackflies, I returned to Mizpah Springs Hut to store my tools, and then headed up the Webster Cliff Trail to climb Mt Pierce, and I hoped, Mt Eisenhower as well. Although I was getting a late start after my trail work, it was the summer solstice, and I figured that I would have a long day of light before darkness fell.
I made good time climbing Mt Pierce, stopping only to take a picture of some bog laurel growing along the trail. After taking a few obligatory photos, I decided to definitely continue on to Mt Eisenhower. Uncharacteristically, the day was not particularly windy, so once I reached the south end of the Mt Eisenhower Loop, I opted to continue up the south end of the loop. When it's really windy, I usually skirt the summit cone along the Crawford Path and climb the mountain via the north end of the loop. That way, I can shed extra weight by leaving my backpack hidden near Red Pond.
On the summit, I rested for a while, sitting and leaning against the huge summit cairn while taking pictures and admiring the view. Then, on my way down the north leg of the loop, I came across a patch of Diapensia growing next to the trail Since I usually miss the peak alpine bloom season, I was lucky to come across these flowers in bloom.
I finished my day's hike by descending the Edmands Path and then walking about 2.5 miles back to the Highland Center along Mt Clinton Road.