After a morning of drizzle and fog, the sun peeked out, and Carol and I enjoyed an afternoon hike up one of our favorite smaller mountains, Blueberry Mountain in the Benton Range, on the west side of Mt. Moosilauke. The broad crest of Blueberry wears a dark cloak of conifers, with bright granite ledges showing through here and there. In the late 1800s the entire upper mountain was devoid of trees, yielding abundant blueberries and stellar views. The higher slopes are now covered with a scrubby growth of red pine, spruce and shrubs, but there are still a number of gently sloping open ledges that afford interesting if not spectacular or panoramic views, in particular perhaps the best of all vistas of Mt. Moosilauke.
We used the more popular SE approach to Blueberry, starting from the trailhead on gravel Long Pond Road. After an initial section on a grown-in logging road, the trail ascends moderately through hardwood forest.
About halfway up, the trail enters a shrubby, mossy, ledgy spruce forest.
The trail soon emerges on an extensive area of broad, low-angle ledges and red pines, with an abundance of dark blue, tasty huckleberries and a few blueberries.
Very pleasant hiking.
Partial views south, with Carr Mountain in the distance.
Farther up, a ledge a few yards left of the trail offers an expansive view south.
Smarts Mountain and Mt. Cube rise beyond Mt. Mist and Webster Slide Mountain.
A peek of sun brightens the upper ledges.
Restricted views from the true summit, reached by a short spur path. After a brief search, we found the geocache hidden here. It is not often found: the last log was from a year ago.
We descended back to one of my favorite lounging ledges, a broad shelf on the east side of the trail looking across at Mt. Moosilauke, which was still smothered in a cloudbank.
We did get some nice looks into Slide Ravine (named Lost Ravine on a 1930s Dartmouth Outing Club map), on the SW side of Moosilauke. Blueberry provides a unique angle on its necklace of slides.
Zoom on the big 1927 slide, which Thom Davis and I climbed a couple of weeks earlier.
Descending into the views. Blueberry is a "52 With a View" peak, and while it does not offer the most spectacular views by any means, it is one of the most pleasant hikes on the list.