Two of us went up on the ridge last Sunday. I wanted to walk from the first met tower to the fourth one in Eden. It took us 6 hours from start to finish with about a 20 minute lunch break. It was a bitter-sweet hike. We saw it all. The destruction from the crane path to the quiet ravine in Bigelow Basin. I hadn’t felt that sad since they first started cutting trees on Nelson’s property. It was sad because I saw what it use to look like before all this wind madness hit the ridge. I knew what we were seeing would never look the same again.
We started out on the Eden Road in Albany. Hiked up behind Nelson’s property to just below the campsite. We heard the security guard’s truck but stayed out of his site. I was sick of that guy taking my picture and not saying a word to us. It’s really easy to stay out of his way. We walked below the crane path through the woods heading south until we reached the area of tower # 8. That is just south of where the access road reaches the ridge and goes North toward Nelson’s property or South toward Eden. We climbed up over some ledges and then higher up over the mound of rocks for the crane path.
We headed south along the crane path past the sites for towers 9, 10, & 11.
As we got closer to the 2nd Met Tower the road turned into a skid road. A BIG WIDE SKID ROAD! We could see the boom of the de-limber from quite a distance.
After leaving the 2nd Met Tower the road goes down into a dip and then back up into an area that has and is loosing as I write this a lot of big hardwoods. It almost looks like it could have been farm land a 100 years ago. Were there farms on that part of the ridge? There was a clear view over to Lowell and Belvidere Mountain due to the clearing of the trees.
Farther South there were places where we could see the skid road going to the 3rd tower. The 4th one was also in site but we knew we would have to bushwhack from the 3rd to the 4th in Eden. It was during the bushwhacking with no road that we found rabbit and moose tracks. We flushed about 4 grouse and found one fresh moose bed that wasn’t even frozen yet. The snow was way above our knees. This is what I remembered the ridge looking like years ago when I hunted up there… As some point the big wide orange tape that marked the crane path disappeared under the snow. We weren’t sure if we found the end or if it was just buried. It was such a relief not to see it anymore. It saddened us to see the pink tape that marked the wetlands right in the middle of the crane path. I guess the Public Service Board doesn’t think they are important to the rivers below.
The hike to the last tower was steep, coming out of Bigelow Basin. The softwood trees were clinging to the ledges and helped us to pull ourselves over the top. We followed the four wheeler trail down to the Eden road where we left one of our cars.
It felt like we had just left an old friend who was dying. We knew he would never look the same. I may have to go back and see him next Sunday before he is gone…
More photos from our hike are here.