Yesterday's LAC adventure was a hike up Puzzle Mountain with Maine Appalachian Trail Land Trust Executive Director, Simon Rucker. There were 12 LAC hikers plus Simon and we were a good and enthusiastic hiking crowd. It was a bit humid at the start of our hike and we all built up a little heat right away as we figured out our individual hiking rhythms. We climbed through a few different zones – hardwood forests, scrubby brush and beautiful moss and ferns and then finally made our way above tree level to exposed granite outcroppings. By the time we reached the top, the sun was shining and the wind was blowing, and the trail was drying off. It felt like a solid accomplishment reaching the summit and the reward was fantastic views all around. We could see Sunday River with its grassy ski trails, Old Speck and the Baldpates, and a number of other beautiful western Maine mountains. We hung out up top for almost an hour enjoying our lunches and the sunshine (thanks for the cookies, Paula!). The hike back down was slow going over the rocks, but quicker as we descended to easier terrain. Crossing over one of the streams that flowed alongside the trail, I dipped my bandana and gave my sweaty face and neck a good and refreshing wipe.
Pulling out of the parking lot Simon mentioned the Puzzle Mountain bakery, which I had read about when I had been investigating the hike. We stopped at the little self-serve stand alongside the road and I bought a pie and we also purchased a couple of cookies – pure maple deliciousness.
Big thanks to Simon for leading us so ably and also thanks to the supportive, kind and interesting LAC hikers who make this club rewarding and so much fun.