While driving down Hwy. 22 Dinah and I had a bad feeling about this trip. Everywhere were trucks parked alongside the road, signaling the last weekend of the hunting season. Even the trailhead was crowded with trucks. Even though we never saw anyone throughout the trip, we could never shake the feeling we were not alone; we never felt the solitude that we appreciate and enjoy.
Nonetheless, we struck out for Black Mountain, an uninspiring treed mountain east of Whaleback Ridge. We hiked up the road that is typically used to reach the Whaleback. However, instead of dropping over the pass at the south end of Black Mountain we hiked up its south ridge.
The summit was treed but further on, the ridge was open and grassy. After reaching the summit we decided to drop down the east slope: gunshots behind dissuaded us from returning the way we came. We found a trail which led to a road. But the road was a mixed blessing for not only did it take us back to the trailhead, it also passed through a herd of cattle. Perhaps we crossed private land but it was more attractive than the aspect of running into hunters!
Although I didn't have high expectations for Black Mountain, I had hoped we would see some wildlife. But we saw none, likely because hunters had already explored the area, leaving their footprints in the snow. Black Mountain was a disappointing trip.
We follow a road to the pass (centre).
Whaleback Ridge from the pass
Starting up Black Mountain
A fallen tree frames a live one.
Open field along the way
After hiking past the summit, we head for the open ridge below.
The open ridge
Following a trail
On the road
Through cattle country
May croft 82/G16