Today I went on a real hike in some real mountains with my good friend Scott. We drove up to New Hampshire’s White Mountains and hiked the Drake’s Brook / Sandwich Mtn loop. We started at about 1400 ft. and reached a peak height of 3293 ft. As you can see from my GPS’ elevation plot – the uphill portion of this climb was VERY steep. I was impressed with my fitness on the hike and although it was nearly 90 degrees out and about 70% humidity (I was sweating buckets) it was a very enjoyable hike and I managed it just fine. The loop was 5.7 miles long with all the elevation gain in the first ~2 miles.
The view from the top was beautiful and I got a good sampling of montane flora and fauna of the northeast. I wish I had brought my forests of the northeast field guide, but I think my obsession with the toads along the way was about all my friend could handle… I don’t think it would have gone over well for me to whip out my book to classify some plants. The mosses were amazing, I wish I had taken pictures of them… there were so many different types at the peak where the trees were short and stunted and I found limestone! I didn’t realize the seabed covered that high up millions of years ago, but then I’ve always been weak at geological history.
Speaking of toads, we encountered no fewer than 5 frogs/toads! I was disappointed not to find any salamanders, but the amphibians we did find were pretty awesome. I only managed to catch and photograph two of them but I think these are the species we encountered:
- Pickerel Frog (Rana palustris) (not photographed)
- Fowlers Toad (Bufo fowleri)
- American Toad (Bufo americanus)
- Gray Tree Frog (Hyla versicolor) (not photographed)
And lastly, the scenery was amazing. With 2 weeks to go to my climb this was a great training hike to build my confidence in my fitness. This week I plan on going all out every day to maximize my fitness then next week it’s the rest before the climb! I’ll leave you with some more pretty scenes from the hike: