Bright Mountain Ash Berries
After summitting the three peaks of Mount Weeks, we headed down into the deepest 'notch' along our ridgecrest walk: Willard Notch. Willard Notch's elevation was way down at 2700 feet - meaning we had to descend well over a thousand feet, and then start heading up again, to 3600+ foot Terrace Mountain.
It was only a short time after 1pm when we arrived in the notch. We were making pretty good time considering all of the elevation we were gaining and losing. Ewart had developed a nasty heel blister on one foot, and as we were having our lunch break Jenn did some blister first-aid for Ewart.
Junction with Kilkenny Ridge Trail
I'd originally calculated a 1000+ foot ascent to Terrace Mountain (our next objective), but I'd misread the map and it turns out it was only an 800+ foot ascent. Always nice when the estimate turns out to be harder than reality! (usually, it's the reverse...) The ascent up to the first (south) summit of Terrace Mountain traversed diagonally up through a very pretty birch forest, too. The south summit of Terrace mountain actually had a bit of a lookout (this hike so far had almost no lookouts or views), and so we were grateful for that.
South Terrace Mtn Lookout
Continuing north, the traverse of the three summits of Terrace Mountain (hmm.. seeing a pattern of threes start to emerge here?) was quite easy. There isn't a lot of elevation loss between them. From north Terrace Mountain, the trail drops steeply down into the next major col : Bunnell notch. Happily, this wasn't as deep of a notch as Willard Notch - Bunnell Notch's elevation was above 3000 feet. We also noticed a pattern on our descents - they all seemed more rough, rocky, and rooty then our ascents. The only thing we could think of was the aspect - since we were walking straight north, all of our descents were on north-facing slopes, and all of the ascents were on south-facing slopes. Likely some bit of microclimate was at work, I thought.
From Bunnell Notch, the trail headed west and down for a bit, then turned back north and started up to Mount Cabot. Our destination for the day, and our last ascent! We were glad that there would soon be no more ascending!
We had been slightly concerned about the possibility of the cabin being filled up by the time we arrived. The trail was now much more heavily travelled (we'd intersected a much shorter and more common route to ascend Mount Cabot), and we started meeting a few dayhikers. Fortunately, all reported that the cabin was empty. Bonus! we might even have the place all to ourselves!
The ascent to the cabin on mount Cabot went pretty quickly, especially considering we were all a bit tired after more than 20km and 5000 feet of elevation gain. There was a beautiful open lookout partway up, and we relaxed there for a bit, soaking in the stunning fall afternoon.