Today I did 3 seperate little trips. The first one was to Sweet Fern Hill, off Ensign Pond Road in the Hammond Pond Wild Forest. I had received a tip that this was a nice little hill for a short walk.
Leesa and I started in on the trail to Hammond Pond, but once we reached the pond, we realized there was no place to cross the outlet to get to Sweet Fern Hill. It was a nice 1.5 mile walk roundtrip to Hammaond Pond though.
|The trailhead sign for Hammond Pond|
|A bridge on the way to Hammond Pond|
|Approaching the pond|
|Hammond Pond outlet|
We backtracked to the car and drove slightly east on Ensign Pond Road to a pulloff on the right hand side. We walked west a couple hundred yards west to find a place top hop across a creek, and then we were in the woods.
Sweet Fern Hill actually has a double summit. We headed for the northern summit first. There were lots of blueberry bushes along the way, but it will be a while before the berries are ripe. I was told that there were a lot of Lady Slipper flowers, but perhaps it was past their peak time. I only saw a couple.
We reached the northern summit after about 0.7 miles. There was some open rock but no views. From the pond we had seen ledges on the southern peak so that is where we headed next.
|The northern peak of Sweet Fern Hill|
|Another look at the northern peak of Sweet Fern Hill|
As we dropped into a small col and started to climb the southern peak, we saw ledges that appeared to offer views so we went there first. These ledges are below the true summit of the southern peak of Sweet Fern Hill, but they offer the best view of Hammond Pond. The views form the true summit are partially blocked by some trees.
|Hammond Pond from the southern peak of Sweet Fern Hill|
After the lower ledges we went up to the top where the views weren't quite as nice. As we descended the northern side of the hill we got some views of a portion of the Dix Range.
|Rev claims another summit.|
|View of Macomb and Carson Mountains|
This was a nice little bushwhack loop to some fine ledges overlooking Hammond Pond.
Hike Distance: 1.8 miles (plus 1.6 to Hammond Pond and back)
Hike Time: 2 hours (plus 45 minutes for Hammond Pond)
Total Vertical Gain: ~ 700'