After almost 3 weeks of being able to do ABSOLUTELY nothing due to a badly sprained ankle, I was dying to get out and hike, so I finally decided it was healed enough to climb a little mountain. So Juno and I set off to climb Scarface Mountain, hitting the trailhead at precisely 10:07 am.
We began following this beautiful trail through a pine forest, and I got whiplash watching Juno dart from in front of me to behind be and back again, over and over and over. She probably walked at least twice as far as I did.
About 10 minutes after leaving the trailhead, we came to a railroad crossing! I’ve never crossed a railroad while on a trail in the middle of nowhere, so this was strangely a novelty for me (us-see next photo).
It was so hard to get her to stay still long enough to get a good picture, I ended up just having my camera at my face and waiting for her to run ahead, stop, turn, and wait for my slow butt to catch up to her.Occasionally she’d get sick of waiting and come retrieve me.
The trail looked exactly like this for maybe 2 miles. I bet it’d be nice to do in the winter, since the trees will mostly still be green. We’d been going for about half an hour and hadn’t encountered a single person yet, which was surprising given the totally full parking lot. But we weren’t complaining!
30-40 minutes into our trek, we came across the supplies the trail crew must have been using recently, and a nice bench. We didn’t rest our feet though, and opted to keep going. Almost immediately after passing the supplies, we found what the trail crew had been working on: new puncheon!
We crossed the little bridge over Ray Brook (which was really low 😦 ) and got a nice little view of the mountain in the distance. I’d read that there is a prison nearby, and that you can often hear announcements over the loudspeakers, but no such luck for us.
Poor Juno. As we were crossing the bridge, I kept hearing a sporadic “THuNK”. When I turned around, I realized the planks making up the bridge and the steps up/down from it had really big gaps in between, and Junos back legs kept falling through. She looked up at me desperately when we reached the other side, and refused to go down the steps (which had even bigger gaps than the bridge). So I had to go back up (courageously passing a swarm of bees for the second time) and carry her furry little butt down the steps.
Several minutes after the bridge, we came upon a cool little railway crew camp setup, with an old rusted bike and some canisters. Juno tried to scare it away by barking at it, of course. Eventually she was brave enough to strettttch to get her snout just close enough to inspect the canister. Notice how her back legs are so far away that they’re not even in frame.
Much to Juno’s excitement, we soon came across a little stream that she got to play in (after asking my permission to go in…seriously). She splashed around, chased a frog, and we were on our way.
The forest was full of the cute little toadstools, and they looked so beautiful with their vibrant red against the bright green moss. Of course, as I was snapping a few pictures, Juno came barreling through, crushing them >.>
We’d been walking for maybe an hour and a half, and this spider web (and spider, right in the middle) nearly found itself square on my face. I was pretty proud for avoiding that nasty scenario, so of course immediately after, I was rock-hopping across a muddy bog and slammed my head right into a thick cut-off tree branch. There might have been a little blood, but at least no one was there to see it! The trail got a little steeper after that, and my asthma was bothering me (because of my heavy pack?) so I put my camera away.
After taking a lot of mini-breaks, we reached this lookout after an hour of slow but steady uphill hiking. The views were absolutely gorgeous; I love being able to see the shadows of clouds on the forest.
We reached the summit 20-30 minutes later, and met a nice girl with a dog that Juno was excited to run around with.The summit was particularly lackluster, with no views to speak of. But at least there was a marker!
We headed back to the overlook for one last view, had a bit of lunch, met some more people, and began our descent.
I have to say, I am SO HAPPY I invested in hiking poles. My ankle is not totally healed from when I sprained it almost 3 weeks ago, and if not for the poles I would have gone down sooo many times.Partway down the descent, we stopped for a water break. Juno was so exhausted she just plopped down and dropped her whole face in the water dish.
The rest of the trail was uneventful, though my feet were becoming increasingly painful, as my toes were shoved to the front of my boots and pine needles chafed against the sides of my toes and ankles. I’m embarrassed to say the trail took me so long, but considering my extra-heavy pack (in preparation for the 46!) and my weak/painful ankle, I’m just glad to have gotten this far! And now I know that the only thing keeping me from going further was the blisters on my toes…At any rate, we made it back to the tracks, and I actually heard the loudspeakers I’d read about! We heard the train come and go twice during our hike, but never actually got to see it. Maybe next time!
Scarface Mountain: 3054′ Elevation Gain: 1500′
Round Trip Distance: 7.2 miles
Total Duration: 4.5 hours
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