Friday, April 6, 2012

Northfield Mountain Hiking

I wanted to scout out a few fishing area’s in Franklin County so we decided to hike Northfield Mountain.  Northfield Mountain is a pumped storage hydroelectric facility owned and operated by FirstLight Power Resources.  It’s a four season recreation area with a 10 mile stretch of the Connecticut River and over 25 miles of trails.  The trail system is broken up into four colors, three of which follow the skiing difficulty rating.  Green is easy, blue is moderate, and black is the most difficult.  There is also a red trail which is designated as a hiking and snowshoe trail.  I was a bit confused at the trail ratings because green, blue, and black look to be no more than dirt and paved roads that lead all around the property.  Red is a hiking trail through the woods, I would think it would be the hardest.  There are three scenic area’s on the trail system.  Two of them are on the Rose Ledge Trail and the other is an 1100ft summit that overlooks the Northfield Mountain Reservoir. Just past the Reservoir to the East is the Erving State Forest and Hermit Mountain and southeast of the Reservoir is the Wendell State Forest and the Farley Ledges and Boulder field.  We’ll get into those Forests on a future post.  From the look at the summit of Northfield Mountain you can see Hermit Mountain off in the distance.  You could also see the Green Mountain Range, Haystack Mountain, Mt. Snow, Stratton Mountain, the Pisgah Mountain Range, Beers Mountain (may or may not be a mountain of beer), and Crag Mountain.  

We started our journey taking the Tooleybush trail to the 10th Mountain trail.  The 10th Mountain trail is a power line trail that leads all the way around to the summit.  We quickly took the Hemlock Trail to the Rose Ledge Trail which we followed to the top.  The Rose Ledge trail breaks off to an upper and lower trail.  We chose the upper so we could see the views it had to offer.  The views weren’t spectacular but they were a good place to stop for some water and a quick break.  As you exit the woods at the top you are greeted by a paved road that makes you wonder why you just didn’t drive up like everyone else.  You will quickly realize that driving a paved road up isn’t fun and continue to walk around the “rotary” and come to a bench and a sign that points you to the overlook.  The overlook area has a couple picnic tables which would make a good place for a lunch.  Today was windy so the lunch would have ended up everywhere except my stomach, so we waited until we got back down to eat our packed lunch.  On the way down we switched it up a little and took the Summit Trail down to the West Slope Trail.  The West Slop Trail essentially leads us to the Rose Ledge Trail and our way back to the parking lot.  In total we hiked 4.23 miles.

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