Old Shack Great Blue Heron Matt near the summit Mark near the summit
Great Spangeled Frittalary Eastern Tiger Swallowtail A few scratches A few scratches
So my boys Mark and Matt are visiting me from New York, and we planned on doing some hiking. Not wanting to travel far from home and not wanting to be where everyone else was, we decided to check out the Bear Pond Mountains. There is little information regarding this area so we thought it would be fun to explore. While looking at maps we did see a trail leading to the summit of Fairview Mountain, so that was our plan. Trouble was when we drove out there we couldnt find the parking or trail. So we just decided to go to Blair's Valley Lake and check it out.
While pulling into the parking area we saw some rock out crops on Sword Mountain and decided to go find them. There was a self-guided nature tral that we started on and some old roads that led us towards Sword Mountain. Along the way we saw eleven species of butterfly and were entertained by the abundance of them. Our "trail" led us by an old shack along a hedgerow where we followed a clearing to the base of Sword Mountain. From there we climbed through open woods on old logging roads.
The logging roads soon disapeared and evidence of an old forest fire was found, and so was the results....thick brambles of thorns. I announced a mental note to self (and to my sons)....never bushwack in shorts. The results of all three of us was bloody legs, scratches, cuts, and sweat.
On a mission to find a safe route through the brambles we split up a bit. I went to the right when my interest in a calling bird distracted me. I soon found an Indigo Bunting chipping from the brush and in my exploring to findit lead to a clearcut. The boys scrambled through the thickets and met me. Then we walking the clearcut very steeply to the top of the ridge. We were dripping with sweat, bleeding, and loving every minute of it.
Then we walked the ridgeline finding limited views, when the Thunderstorms came through. At this point we were in brambles again, and soaking wet. You couldnt grab trees for support since most of them were locust trees covered with thorns. If you slipped on the wet rocks you were going down into thorny brambles. It was a no win situation, but we managed to get down through the thick stuff to open woods and then back nature trail. The rain had stopped so we walked around the lake, seeing a family of Belted Kingfishers, a Great Blue Heron and a couple of Least Sandpipers.
Despite the cut up legs, and being soaked it was a lot of fun and something we'll always remember. Will I ever go back? Sure but I will find where that clear cut starts and hike it all the way up and use it to come back down!
Maybe a hunting blind?