This was another one of those hikes where I didn't have to drive all the way from home to get to the mountains. Instead, my wife and I were at a Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA) camping event near Hebron, Maine, which is only about an hour's drive from Gorham. I'm not really into SCA events and my wife is not much of a climber. If Patches had been with me, I would have opted to tackle one or more of the 4000-footers, maybe Mt Washington. But Patches stayed at home to keep our daughter Holly company, so I decided to use the time to work on my adopted trail instead.
With my usual early start at 4:30 AM and the shorter drive to the trailhead, I arrived at the Highland Center around 6 AM and was up at MIzpah Springs Hut by 8:00. This gave me a reasonably full day to work on the trail, climb Mt Pierce, and get back to Hebron in time to go out for supper with my wife.
Luckily, there were only an average number of blowdowns on the trail, unlike back in 2012, the summer after Tropical Storm Irene caused so much damage in the mountains, when whole sections of the trail were completely blocked by a tangled mess of fallen trees. Today, most of the blowdowns were easy to remove while others were larger and propped up against other trees in such a way that I had to make two cuts - one on each side of the trail - to allow me to remove the cutout section. As usual, the trail had a lot of wet sections, but the bypass that I cut in June 2011 still made it easy to get around at least one of the wet sections.
After working on the trail until around 1:00, I returned to the hut, bought a tee-shirt, and filled up my water bottle for the hike back via Mt Pierce. The views north from Mt Pierce were excellent even though there were some high clouds. The peak mountain wildflower season was mostly over but there were still a few alpine plants in bloom. It would have been nice to sit in the sun and linger up on Mt Pierce for a while, but I knew I had to get back in time to go out for dinner. Actually, I don't think I've ever had much time to just sit and relax on Mt Pierce. I'm usually there as the last stop of the day before heading home, so I never end up having the time to stay more than a few minutes. Oh well, maybe someday.