August 28, 2016

North Country Trail: Spruce Pond to Jones Hill

This summer has been hot.  Not just regular old summer hot, but really freaking ungodly hot.  HOT hot.  I've mentioned this before (broken record alert!), but heat is not my friend.  I am immeasurably thrilled that the forecast for later this week and into the weekend is for significantly cooler weather.  But between appointments and birthday parties and non-compatible travel, it has been far too long since I'd been out hiking, and I just couldn't wait another week to get in the woods.  Since I knew temperatures were going to exceed 90 degrees today, I wanted a shorter hike, so we went with Option 3 from the hiking menu I made Frankie a few weeks ago.

This is a hike we did last summer, so it is familiar territory.  The hike is an out-and-back along the North Country National Scenic Trail (NCT), approximately 3.1 miles roundtrip with 625 feet elevation gain.  We parked at Spruce Pond, crossed the berm, then turned right onto the blue blazed NCT.  After following along the shore of the pond, the trail climbs steeply, and then the terrain becomes more gently rolling until the viewpoint on Jones Hill is reached.  Spruce Pond is part of Morgan Hill State Forest and Jones Hill is part of Labrador Hollow Unique Area, but the land in between is private.  I am so grateful to the landowners who share their beautiful properties with hikers along the NCT (and elsewhere). 

There was a lovely breeze up on Jones Hill, where we hung out for a long time.  We had lunch there and Frankie blew bubbles.  The woods were beastly hot, but there were no bugs, so we converted our pants into shorts and managed to enjoy ourselves despite the heat.  Frankie did a lot of "crashing in the shrubbery" on the way back, falling on purpose and giggling ferociously, and wound up as filthy as he's ever been.  Milkshakes on the way home helped lower our core body temperatures, then showers at home before dinner.  Another day well spent!

signing the register

adding a rock to a cairn

dirt freckles

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