Saturday September 20, 2014 Bald Mountain by John BuddingtonThe forecast called for partly sunny and 60 degrees. Instead, it was cloudy and about 50. The summit of Bald Mountain was in the clouds and windy. We could see the top of the tower but not much further.
Donna, Eric, Kathy, and John left Middlesex at 8:30 and drove past Lake Willoughby in Westmore. Tinges of color were seen on the leaves. We arrived at the Long Pond Trail parking lot at 10:15 and shortly thereafter Fred and Lazlo arrived. We six started hiking at 10:30 and arrived at the summit at 12:00. We ate lunch and started our descent at 12:30, reaching our cars by 2:00.
The guidebook said the trail was 2.2 miles long and climbed 1450 feet. The first half mile follows a haul road to a large log landing. The trail heads into the woods and climbs gradually. Extensive logging has been done on both sides of the trail but a "beauty strip" has protected the trail. (After leaf-off the logging may become more visible.) The trail climbs steeply as it approaches the summit.
The North Woods Stewardship Center rehabilitated the hut at the summit last year. A stove had been installed a few days before our visit. The hut is enclosed and has a capacity of 5. It would be a fine destination for a winter overnight.
The Stewardship Center has done considerable work on the trail in the half-mile below the summit. There are many rock staircases. Near the summit there is set of log steps. There remain a few hand-over-hand spots. For the most part, the trail is well drained and easy to travel.
We were the first hikers of the day and were joined by 3 more as we ascended. At the summit and during our descent we encountered a dozen hikers or more. This was surprising given the inclemency of the weather.Click on a photo to see the original version. See photo gallery on Facebook (pull-down under 'Trips')