Even though several blustery days had swept most of the vibrant colors off the trees, there was still quite a bit of green mixed in with the rusty remains. Thinking that there might still be some inspiring sights to behold, I recalled that someone had told me a year back that the views from the top of Hogback Mountain during the autumn months was well worth the hike. The trail seemed a bit ambitious for us but it was a nice day so we decided to give it a try.
As mentioned in a previous post, we discovered that many times road signs were non-existent, so it was essential to use the odometer to determine turning points. In this case, the land trust directions indicated we could park at the Fish and Wildlife maintenance lot on Walker Ridge Road, a side road along Route 220, 6.5 miles past Route 3. Which brings me to another reason to rely on mileage points, Google maps list this road as “Not Town Road”.
Once we located the parking area on Walker Ridge Road, we studied the kiosk at the trailhead. On this side of Route 220, the Jeep Trail would take us through the woods back towards the road where we could cross and continue on the Hogback Trail or we could continue on this side of the road for 2.8 miles until we reached the Fry Mountain Loop. Taking on an 8 mile hike was way more than we could do and not knowing what difficulty level we would add by walking along the Jeep Trail, we opted to walk along the road to the trailhead.
Once in the woods, we found the trail covered with about an inch of fallen leaves. Unfortunately, this blanket covered the fact that there were a lot of intertwined tree roots underneath, as well as rocks. The conditions over the last week had also left the earth underneath this ground cover slick in some places. Perhaps, we were careful on the uphill because we suffered no mishaps on the way up. I did comment that it was rather odd that during the beginning of the trail we seemed to be doing a lot of downhill walking in order to reach the summit. This didn’t bode well for the end of the return trip when we would have to walk uphill while we were tired from our journey.
Still, the woods were lovely and peaceful. Not far into our excursion, we found a large rock, named “piano rock” due to the flat top of the boulder and a smaller rock that resembled a bench. Further along, we discovered a trickle of water flowing down a series of rocks. The leaves around this small cascade warranted a stop to reflect on the natural gifts around us.
The trail switch-backed up the hill and sometimes the blue blazes were hard to locate. As we climbed, I started to become fatigued but I had my heart set on the views that I had heard about so I continued on. Eventually, the trail followed a dirt road for a bit before turning back into the woods and soon we found a spot that rewarded us some views of the mountains in the distance.
We decided to rest on a log along the side of what seemed to have been a road at one time. Our lunch spot afforded us some limited views of the mountains and an abandoned tractor nearby. Reflecting on this spot later and studying photos that others had posted, I realized that we probably did not summit Hogback Mountain, for I found reference to the “open ledges near the summit” and wide views. Clearly, we did not have lunch on an open ledge and we had narrow views of the mountains beyond. But we had done enough for one day, so we headed back down.
On the return trip, I slipped twice jarring an already sore shoulder (a story for another day). As predicted, the uphill portions at the end of the journey were a bit much. My husband offered that we stop a bit but I was afraid I would not want to continue, so I slogged on. Still, I was glad that we had attempted this trip that was a bit beyond our capabilities but now we will have to go back another day and actually summit.