BLUEBERRY MOUNTAIN (BENTON): 8/30/16
I took a morning hike up this nice ledgy peak in the Benton Range via the longer western approach to check the trail configuration after several years of logging. The lower part of the trail is certainly less attractive, but it's still an interesting and rewarding hike.
Parking is on a side road off Page Road, which is itself off of Lime Kiln Road at the western base of the mountain. The distance to the summit on this sign is short by 0.6 mile.
The lower mile is on wide logging roads, with a right turn here at the half-mile mark.
There are several old stone walls along the lower mile and a half.
A drainage dip on the logging road.
Oak woods were thinned out here.
A key turn a mile in, where the trail turns left off the road into the woods at a three-way fork. Look for the yellow blaze.
One of several large clearcuts near the trail, extending up to 2100 ft. There are wooded buffers along the trail of varying widths.
Above the cuts the trail climbs through fine spruce forest.
Ledgy, scrubby terrain typifies the broad crest of Blueberry.
Nice ledgy climbing.
First view back to the west, with fog draping the Connecticut River valley.
Vermont's Signal Mountain Range on the horizon. All five of the Vermont 4000-footers were also visible.
Next to this furrowed boulder an unsigned path climbs a short way to the true summit of Blueberry, where there are restricted views.
Mount Moosilauke over the trees from the summit.
Iron pins and an etched triangle mark this as a survey station of the U.S. Coast Survey in the 1870s.
Heading a little way down the east side of the crest through neat shrubby terrain. Moses Sweetser wrote about Blueberry in his late 1800s guidebook, The White Mountains: A Handbook for Travellers: "For about 1 M. from the summit the mountain is free from trees and is covered with alternate bands of carpet-like moss and granite ledges moderately inclined. The work of ascent and exploration is thus rendered easy and pleasant."
Smarts Mountain and Mount Cube beyond Mount Mist and Webster Slide Mountain.
The wonderful Moosilauke view ledge. Afternoon is a better time to admire this vista.
A closer view.
The summer breezes sigh through the many red pines on Blueberry.
Carr Mountain in the distance.
A quartz dike in the granite.
The ledgy northern peaks of the Benton Range: Sugarloaf, Black and The Hogsback. These are primarily composed of tough, erosion-resistant quartzite.
The fog has dissipated to reveal wide western vistas.
Back down through the mossy conifers.
The lower half-mile, once an old farm road, is shaded by towering oaks.
Out in a privately owned field by the trailhead, I spotted a mother bear and two cubs.
When a car drove by on nearby Page Road, momma rose up to check it out. She did the same when I started my car, and then the three of them took off on a run into the woods.