Middle Sugarloaf 2539’ in the Little River Mountains
2.8 Miles 900’ Elevation gain
One of our favorite places to visit over the years has been Middle Sugarloaf. It has been a spectacular place for us to witness many a sunrise and sunset, as well as moon rise and moon set. We had arrived to camp at Sugarloaf Campground on Zealand Road, had set up camp, then headed out to hike up Middle Sugarloaf for sunset. As is often the case we passed several hikers on their way down, leaving well before sunset and giving us the summit to ourselves as the sun dips low in the west. As we stare around in wonder at the brilliant fall colors below us and stretching across multiple slopes to rise above us the sun is temporarily blocked by a cloud bank as it descends towards the horizon. Even so, the colors remain brilliant and the scenery astounding as the slowly drifting clouds allow the setting sun to once again cast its brilliant light upon the higher surrounding slopes where it lights the treetops with their crimson and gold foliage which glows like a thousand campfires on the western slopes. As we gaze across the summit where we stand in awe, and beyond to the wall of the Presidential Range which eclipses our view to the east, we watch as it is slowly bathed in a rose-hued alpenglow.
Emma would have loved it here with us tonight, and we remembered fondly times we had spent together with her in this very spot, doing the very same thing we were doing now. It was hard to feel her presence, but not see her face or touch her head. We alternately sat and stood as we continually turned our gaze to different aspects of the scene until the sun dipped below the horizon and sky lit up in afterglow. We descended the trail in darkness, returning to camp and a late supper. During the night I saw several brilliant meteors streak across the pulsing light of the Milky Way which filled the heavens above our campsite.