Friday was a glorious day in Vermont and, after making a quick trip to Rutland with one of my hosts to run some errands, I headed out to Ludlow for a drive up Ludlow Mountain in the Okemo Mountain Ski Resort. My destination was a fire tower at the top of the mountain that would require a drive to a parking area near the top and a 1/2 mile uphill hike.
Fortunately, the road was paved and in decent condition — I’ve been driving my brother’s Maserati this trip and it does not like rough roads or potholes — so the trip to the top, which crossed several of Okemo’s ski runs and wound through the forest, was pleasant and smooth. I backed into a parking spot among about six other cars in a gravel lot. Then Penny and I continued the trip on foot though a half-open gate up a relatively steep gravel road running through dense forest. The sound of trickling water was present, coming from one side of the road or the other all along the way.
My host had told me that I’d have to walk to the ski lift to see the tower in order to find it. While it’s true that the tower wasn’t visible from the road, I did spot a small wooden sign pointing to a very narrow trail into the woods. The tower was just another 1/10 mile away. We took the path.
Although it was a bright, sunny day, the woods were dark and cool. The path was muddy in some places, with large boulders that kept me out of the mud as I climbed over them. Another sign at a fork in the trail directed me to the left. Moments later, we were at the bast of a small, five-story fire tower with spindly legs and a tiny wooden structure on top.
The steps were steep and I had to carry Penny. (Another benefit of having a small dog.) I paused briefly for a look at each landing. The view kept getting better and better. The steps got steeper and narrower at each level. Soon we were through the trap door and standing in the tiny room at the top.
After about fifteen minutes of drinking in the view, I picked up Penny again and carefully made my way back down. We met some other hikers as we made our way back down the trail, including a couple who had stopped upon seeing a garter snake alongside the trail. He pointed it out to me and I got a good look as it slipped away into the brush. His wife was apparently terrified and I heard her whining to him about it even after I’d left them behind on the trail.
Back out on the sunny gravel road, we hiked up to the ski lift. As my host had said, I could see the fire tower from there.
I also got some great views looking down the mountain along the parked chairs of the lift.
On the way back to the car, I poked around in the forest a bit. This time of year I’m always looking for chanterelle mushrooms. Although I didn’t find any there, I did find other mushrooms growing out of the forest floor.
We spent a little more than an hour atop the mountain. then it was back in the car for the drive down and a lote lunch.