Mt. Prospect Full Trace | 3/25/23
To ski it, to not ski it, to ski it, to not ski it… I contemplated my options while I sat in the parking lot for the Ski Tow, equipped with every type of traction possible, not feeling sold on any means of transport.
While I wanted to throw on my skins so that I could save time on my descents, the patchy snow told a different story. I reluctantly put my Hillsounds over the new insulated boots I have mixed feelings about and started to figure out the logistics of hitting every trail with the least amount of doubling back possible. I had to hit 5.8 book miles over the Auto Road, Davidge Path, Old Carriage Path, Ken Jordan Nature Trail, North Overlook Path, and Around-The-Mountain. It probably would’ve made more sense to do the mountain twice, but does tracing make sense in itself? Absolutely not.
From the Ski Tow pull-off, I traveled hikers right on Around-The-Mountain. It was far more packed out than I’d imagined but by no means full coverage. I quickly felt better about not bringing skis. The Heritage Trail segment that the trail followed was well maintained, somewhat traveled, and loaded with animal tracks…
I diverted briefly from the path to out-and-back Davidge Trail, which was a quick 0.25 and took under ten minutes. Due to its lack of travel, this was the most snow-free part of the day. Once I was back on Around The Mountain, I relied heavily on podcasts to keep myself entertained, as there wasn’t a whole lot to look at. Eventually, however, maple lines began to circle overhead as I neared the junction with the Old Carriage Road.
Here, I decided my best course of action was to round up to the summit, then deal with the lower elevation stuff after should the pending clouds roll in sooner. From the junction, I was able to get up to the summit in exactly the amount of time it took “Us and Them” to play, so call it about 7 minutes and 45 seconds to cruise that uphill section.
Once I was at the summit, I paused my audio and took in the summit house, lookout tower, and finally the view itself. I was amazed I hadn’t done this before, the views were magnificent and not something I’d prepared myself for off such a small peak. From the summit, I looked directly in the face of Washington, then to the sides Cherry/Martha and the Plinys. It was just magnificent!
After throwing a jacket on and tapping into my thus far undrained water, I wandered around for the two summit trails. The North Outlook was easy to find- I walked north, crazy right? This 0.1-mile trail went out to a lovely wooden lookout deck toward the North Country, I got so distracted by this angle of Percy Peaks that I didn’t even bother to figure out what the other peaks were, oops!
From there, I easily picked up the Ken Jordan nature trail, which was easy to follow due to the red markers. After taking in one last view and speaking with a nice couple who pretty immediately knew I was tracing because I’d done the nature trail, I trekked down the auto road, which I think would’ve been a nice ski 3 weeks ago, but was a bit bare now. From the base of the auto road, I repeated 0.4 miles of Around-The-Mountain, finished the small section I hadn’t done before I summited Prospect, and went down the rest of Old Carriage Road that descends to Reed Road. The lower section was chopped up, so I returned to my car via Reed Road and a walk on Route 3.
All said and done, I was satisfied with how little I repeated sections of trail, but surprised this little mountain put me through an 8-mile afternoon! I wouldn’t do Around-The-Mountain again, but I’ll be back for everything else. Great little peak!