Phew! Trudging through 6 inches of snow on your way up a 1035 foot wooded mountain is tiring! But the view was superb from "our mountain"!
Now R__ isn't really OUR mountain as this side is privately owned, but we've spoken with the owners - stopping to chat last spring as we passed each other on the trail - and have permission to visit the top anytime. There are criss-crossing ATV trails to follow as a path so it makes it really easy to have a private, quiet walk in the woods to the summit.
Well, as quiet as 3 excited, exuberant kids can be! ((wink))
So, we started out walking along our road to reach the trail. Our road is dirt and bordered with forests. We have some neighbors, but not many.
And then we contined up the mountain path. Someone had rode an ATV up at some point, but the wheel marks were semi-buried from our last snowfall. We were relieved to find that the trail wasn't icy!
Aren't birch trees beautiful? We love their bright white against a few evergreens and a winter-blue sky.
Balsam Fir found a cozy little spot to take a breather. And yes, those are the pants he wore. He seems to go through "knees" in a matter of weeks! He's an active, outdoorsy boy who wears his clothing hard. Obviously. LOL
Sugar Maple had a fun time making shadow puppets against the snow. Do you see the heart?
And we saw lots of these animal tracks through the woods and along the path. We're thinking rabbit. What do you think?
At the summit! We found a sunny, snow-less rocky spot to rest and enjoy the fab view! The rock is covered with black lichen, a fungus-algae combo that grows on rocks and trees. (Lichen comes in lots of other colors and shapes too.)
Sugar Maple slipped off her bomber hat and hung it on a sapling to explore the summit. The trees were less dense here; the sun felt stronger. But strangely, it was less windy!
See the lake at the top of the photo? It's the 2nd largest one in Maine! And about 12-13 miles from our location. It's one of our favorite spots for a leisurely walk, picnics and swimming (in warmer months of course).
We can see all the way to NEW HAMPSHIRE! Here's Mt. Washington, the highest point in New England!
And here our overly excited Golden Retriever! LOL
White Pine reluctantly posed for a photo. What's with almost 13-year-old boys?! LOL (I TOTALLY missed the focus on Sugar Maple's photo. Grrr!)
Have you ever REALLY looked at tree bark? It can be QUITE interesting. Or is it just us? ((wink)) Look what Sugar Maple found - a bark heart! LOL
Oh, and we spotted fresh Pileated Woodpecker holes on the way down, deep with frozen tree sap.
We didn't see or hear any woodpeckers, but this is what a Pileated looks like. They're quite large and easy to spot when they fly.