|Remains of dam at Scott Clearing.|
Meeting Bryan on MacNaughton was pure luck; we were the only three hikers to register for the summit (at the HPIC). I enjoyed his company and his anecdotes, especially the one about the overly inquisitive mouse that took its last swim in a bottle of cola.
Had Brian (SummitHat) joined us, I would have been hiking in the company of a trifecta of Brians!
The beaver dam between the western and eastern Wallface Ponds is gone. Combined with the dry summer weather, the water level is about two feet lower than it was in 2010. As a result, you can now rock hop across the outlet of the western pond.
|Bryan and Brian at the outlet of the western pond.|
We started the bushwhack at about the same place as I did two years ago (near the western end of the southernmost pond). I acknowledge that it would be difficult to retrace my exact route, yet this year we encountered more blowdown near the top. Either I was luckier in 2010 and missed it or, more likely, storms over the past two year have toppled a few trees (hello Irene). We intersected the ridgeline at approximately the same spot I had in 2010, a bit east of the summit sign.
|Scratch-proofed atop MacNaughton.|
We had taken a compass bearing, and referred to it frequently, and exited at what we believed to be the southern pond. As we headed east, the woods became incredibly thick, beyond anything we had encountered earlier in the day. A small hill loomed at the eastern end of the pond and seemed out of place. Eventually, someone (Bryan?) concluded we overshot our target and had exited at the eastern, not southern, pond. We double-backed through the fallen timber and came out onto the vly (keep your eyes peeled for ditches) that lies at the west end of the eastern pond. I had avoided this wetland in 2010 but this year it is quite dry. We moved through the low growth towards high ground and then to the outlet where we retrieved out stashed hiking poles.
MacNaughton gives 46ers a taste of what the High Peaks were like in bygone days when 46ers had membership numbers in the double-digits. I agree with Brian that all 46ers should hike this peak as a tribute to the earliest hikers and to put their current achievement, via marked trails and maintained herd paths, into perspective.
It was an enjoyable day in the company of fine hiking partners.