Franconia Ridge

Franconia Ridge

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Rogers Ledge via Mill Brook Trail

After yesterday's rain showers today was looking a little better as far as the lack of precipitation but with lingering gray skies. I was anxious to get out on the trail and decided to do a local hike that I've been wanting to do for a long time but was busy hiking the 4,000 footers. Today's plan would take me up the Mill Brook Trail onto the Kilkenny Ridge Trail and over to Rogers Ledge for a nice out and back hike of 8 miles.

 Mill Brook trailhead

 Cold Brook

 Bog bridge

I was faced with two issues, both dealing with how to dress. First, cold temps were forecast and second, hunting season was in full swing and this is a heavily hunted area. Moose season opened up this weekend and it was also bear season. I decided on a light under armour layer, my bright blue EMS Ascent jacket and a hunter orange knit hat. I also attached an orange vest to my backpack. This is probably the only area I would do this in.

 Stand of birch trees

 Stripped Striped maple

 Muddy trail

The trailhead is about 10 minutes from my house. I was taking my time and got a later than usual start hoping the weather would get better as was forecast. As I arrived at the trailhead I was greeted by the sound of a rifle shot and was glad that I brought the hunter orange. The York Pond Fish Hatchery is also a moose registration station. The weigh-in scales were set up beside the parking area for the Mill Brook Trail. There was no one checking in when I got there.

 First signs of snow

 Below Rogers Ledge

 First view on the steep climb

I was on the trail at 10 am. It was a typical Fall day with a crisp, cool breeze. Most of the leaves have fallen covering the trail and with yesterday's rain it made for a slippery combination. The trail follows along a beautiful brook which I thought was Mill Brook hence the trail name. It was not until I got home and reread the AMC Guide that the this is actually named Cold Brook so I'm not sure where the trail got its name.

 View from the edge of Rogers Ledge

 Beaver Pond far below Rogers Ledge

 Frosted mountainside

 Sitting on the edge

The trail passes through some very wet and muddy areas but all easily crossed without much problem. There are some bog bridges that help along the way. There was another portion of the trail that passes through a beautiful stand of birch trees. It was in this area that I saw some recent signs of moose. Some hoof prints were in the trail mud and there was a striped maple that had been freshly stripped of its bark, a moose favorite. I kept a watchful eye out for any company of the moose kind and made some noise so as not to suddenly walk up on any unsuspecting wildlife. There is also a healthy bear population in this neck of the woods.

 More snow

 City of Berlin in the distance

I arrived at the trail junction after 3.8 miles and turned right onto the Kilkenny Ridge Trail. But wait, the trail sign has the return mileage as 3.6. Nice to know it will be two-tenths of a mile shorter on the return trip on the same trail. I'm not sure how they do that but I won't argue.

 Snow-dusted ferns

 Looking back up at Rogers Ledge


The trail passed a designated campsite and then started a moderate climb toward Rogers Ledge. I soon started noticing a dusting of snow on the trees and bushes indicating it must have gotten cold here last night. The trail got very steep on the last stretch to the top of the ledge. Once on top there are very nice views to the east. The sky was still overcast and the higher summits were hidden in the clouds but there were still plenty of peaks to be seen.

I heard voices, there were three hikers on the top of the ledge. They had hiked in from South Pond. It was the only hikers I would see all day. They were getting ready to leave as I arrived. We talked for a few minutes and then I had the whole place to myself. It was cold up here on the exposed cliff and I was glad to have my warm weather gear. After some photos and something to eat I started my return hike back to the York Pond fish hatchery.

 Mill Brook Trail along Cold Brook

 Colorful path

 Submerged colors

As I made my way back to the trailhead I was expecting the clouds to clear and a little sunshine but that was not going to happen. I occasionally stopped along Cold Brook for photos as frozen precipitation was coming down. There were no bear or moose encounters and it was a nice hike back to the parking lot. It was great to get out and stretch the legs today. I am going to wait for a couple of stellar days to finish my last three 4,000 footers.

Panoramic view from Rogers Ledge

Mill Brook Trail bog bridges

Having Fun in the Great Outdoors!

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