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Wood Sorrel
Mountain Sandwort
Partridgeberry in bloom on Mt. Mansfield

Vermonters are experiencing the annual heat wave, with temperatures in the 90’s. I am not a fan of hot weather: it usually doesn’t last very long but the heat can be brutal. As my energy level plummeted I decided to take a hike up Mount Mansfield, hoping for a cool breeze and good views. Cool breeze yes, good views no. The view was obscured by smog that filled the valleys, so there wasn’t the 360 degree panorama that includes the White Mountains and Adirondacks. I was lucky to see a portion of Lake Champlain!

However, the hike up through the woods was very pleasant and cooler than the pavement of Burlington. My choice of trail up this time was the Overland, which I ski frequently in the winter but rarely hike in the summer; usually I climb the Nebraska Notch Trail to get to the Long Trail. I was able to find a few plants blooming like Partridgeberry and Common Wood Sorrel.

Once I reached the alpine zone and the top of the Forehead, I observed many patches of Mountain Sandwort in bloom, gently swaying to the refreshing breeze that I was seeking. The wild blueberries were still tiny and green but I look forward to another hike when they are ripe for eating.

As nice as the breeze was, there were places where it died down a bit and presented the opportunity for every black fly in the area to swarm around and bite me. They must not have had a good meal that day.

What could be more refreshing than a cool mountain breeze on a very hot day? Taking a dip in a cold mountain stream, and afterward I was sufficiently cooled down enough to get in my hot car and drive back to sweltering Burlington, cool and comfortable the entire way home. A brief respite from our brief heat wave.

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