One of the hardest things about trying to find hiking partners, is finding ones who have days off during the week. This week in particular I couldn't talk anyone into taking the day off to join in on this interesting adventure, so I would go it alone. I don't typically hike solo, but once in a while it can be quite freeing.
On an important not when I do hike by myself I always leave an itinerary with someone at home which includes a detailed map of where I will be — in fact, I also do the same when I hike in a group.
The drive from Cranberry Lake was the kicker though; 2-hours to Speculator and another half-hour drive up Elm Lake Road. Elm Lake Road can be hit-or-miss in regards to its condition, but what are the chances – I was in there just after it was getting raked and graded, it was in great condition. The end of the road was where I would finally reach the Siamese Ponds Wilderness.
With only two parking locations at the trailhead, I nudged my car off the side and started the hike.
The Kunjamuk Trail would give me the access I was looking for to reach the base of Pete's Hill, but I had no idea what condition it would be in. The trail started off in nice fashion and in outstanding condition. No more than slight rolling hills gained me the first 0.9 miles to the Rock Pond / Long Pond Trail. From here I would bear right and start the hike toward my destination. The Kunjamuk Trail officially starts at this point and continues all the way to Indian Lake, I would not be using this trail but only for a few miles.
Only a bit further along the trail turned into a rerouted section. It was obvious that it originally ran too close to the wetland and was flooded more often than not, so it needed to be moved slightly uphill. The next mile or so was a fresh trail, and by the looks of it no more than a season old. It must have taken days of back-breaking work to lay out this well-designed trail. Passing amongst tall evergreens and the yellows of birch tree foliage it was pleasing to the eyes and the senses.
The reroute came and went quite fast and at that time I found myself back on the original Kunjamuk Trail, now becoming overgrown. The trail is well marked with new disks, so my presumption is they will continue work next year.
Now I was only a hair over a mile from the base of Pete's Hill — I would be there briefly. The trail, while overgrown in areas, was actually in decent condition overall. There was hardly a lick of mud and only a couple trees down blocking the way. After a well-blended mix of ascents and descents, I was looking up at the slopes of Pete's Hill. Standing at a whopping 2135' in elevation it was only about 200' in elevation higher than where I was.
The forest from this point was an open bushwhack. The grade was minimal with no trouble finding the summit.
A quick lunch break on top was in order before I started to descend back to the trail. While taking pride in my homemade turkey wrap, with unfortunately no view to wash it down with, I got to thinking about who Pete was and why was this hill was named after him. If a Pete came up here regularly, was he a hunter? Hiking up for a view? If for a view, where was it? So, I poked around and my question, I think was answered. Slightly below the summit rested an open area of tall ash trees and slab rock. While no major view existed now, I would bet it was a great one decades ago. Even with the trees, it was open enough for me to see Humphrey Mountain just on the horizon.
The day was coming to a close and I wanted to get back on the road before it was too late. The trail unfolded in front of me faster than it seemed like on the way in, but it took me nearly the exact amount of time to get back out as it did getting there, I knew the drive would too.