August 22, 2015.
Hike number two of the day after doing Owls Head and Mt Martha. Located just down the road is the Pondicherry National Wildlife Refuge. The trail head is located on what is known as the Pondicherry Rail Trail a railroad line that once ran all the way to Quebec.
I figured this would be a quick boring little hike for my redlining as most of this is along the old railroad bed. However walking up the long straight track bed and I soon started seeing things that changed my mind and made it a lot more interesting. On both sides of the trail there are wildflowers with many of them being firsts for me. Within a few minutes from starting I come across the first one, an odd looking white with a hint of pink flower, a Turtlehead.
Up underneath the power line crossing there are an abundance of wild flowers and that is when I figured to make the best of this trail and start seeing how many different flowers I could find. Of course the drawback to that is now I have to identify them all, the second picture is Yarrow.
So without further adieu here is my find, Spotted Touch-me-not and Panicled Aster
Keep counting! Next are Fireweed and Wrinkle-leaved Goldenrod
And now an interruption for this mountain report: Jefferson is in the clear and climbing looks favorable.
Back to our scheduled programming, Narrow-leaved Gentian and New England Aster
Reaching the split where the rail trail continues straight to the right is the spur for the Observation Deck that is on the edge of Cherry Pond. Straight ahead from the deck is the Pliny Range with Mt Starr King, Mt Waumbek and Pliny Mt visible. To the right are the Northern Presidential's, Madison, Adams, Jefferson and Washington.
Taking the Waumbek Link, a short connector between the deck and the rail trail, There are a few artifacts left behind from the old railroad that went through here.
At the end of the link is where Waumbek Junction once was located. Turning back onto Pondicherry Rail Trail and the trail also coincides with the recently developed Cohos Trail. This trail runs all the way from Crawford Notch to the Canadian border encompassing 162 miles of trails. Some buildings stood at or near this junction as this once was a popular passenger line. Today there is only one active track left.
Following the active tracks now and just up the way is a short loop out to Cherry Pond called Shore Path. From the shore I get a great view of where I was earlier this morning on Owls Head and Mt Martha which is on the right side of the pano shot of Cherry Pond. On the left is the Pliny Range then the Crescent Range and the Presidential's.
Looping back out to the railroad tracks and just a bit down on the other side is the Little Cherry Pond Loop Trail. Taking the right hand trail at the junction and I go around counter clockwise. Through the woods first then some bog bridges lead through a recent blowdown patch that looks like a lot of work to clean up.
Within a few minutes the trail dead ends at serene Little Cherry Pond.
Back up the trail and heading on the other portion of the loop and out in the middle of nowhere is a large erratic that is split and separated many eons ago.
Back at the railroad tracks and on the other side the last loop, Rampart Path. So called because of the ice pushing the shoreline up creating a rampart. At a viewpoint is the best shot of the day towards Owls Head and Mt Martha.
Reaching the end of that loop and all the trails in this area are done. Now it is a long straight walk back to the parking lot. But wait I have not forgotten what this hike turned out to be about. Here we have Hop-clover and Yellow Hawkweed.
A couple of repeats but better shots, Turtlehead and Spotted Touch-me-not.
Steeple Bush and Black-eyed Susan.
Then there's Creeping Buttercup and finally Scentless Chamomile.
Well that is it and the final tally is 14 flowers, wild that is. Haven't had a day like that since last year when I came out of the Smokies. Pondicherry is done now for the short drive over to Mud Pond and see what that is all about.
Final numbers: 5 miles, 2 hours and 15 minutes.
Redline Miles: 2.9, Total to Date: 902.7