Friday, October 18, 2013

Mount Everett and Guilder Pond, Mount Washington

Sunday, I lead an Appalachian Mountain Club hike along the Appalachian Trail from Jug End Road up Jug End Mountain, across the ridge to Guilder Pond and up Mount Everett; then down the southern side to the Roaring Brook Trail to the Route 41 parking area. All together, it was about 7.5 miles. For mid-October the weather was pleasant and warm.

We passed many weekend backpackers including a group of about 8 young men, in their twenties and thirties, who took a swim in Guilder Pond. I know it would have been too cold for me! Since the road was open up to the pond, we also met families with dogs taking advantage of the good weather on this Labor Day weekend. It was great to see so many enjoying the trail.

The summit of Mount Everett has many old dwarf pitch pines compromised by the poor soil, dryness and ice storms but still hanging in! Some have been estimated to be almost 200 years old although shorter than 4 feet high. The 20-acre community of dwarf pitch pines, red oak and red maple has been designated globally unique and imperiled by various agencies.

Swimming in October? Brrrr!

Here is the view of Mount Everett from Guilder Pond.
A lovely path winds around the water’s edge.

For most of the 20th century, a fire tower stood at the top of the mountain. It was not used for spotting fires for many years and fell into disrepair and sustained vandalism. In 2003, after much controversy, the tower was removed because it was deemed a cause of degradation to the unique and fragile environment. It was air-lifted out by helicopter and put up for sale on eBay.

Heading down (south) with views of Twin Lakes and Race Mountain.


  1. Just a little comment here - The last Mt. Everett tower was decommissioned in the mid 70's when the stairs were removed. I moved to S. Berkshire County in '62 when the tower which stood there then (different from the one demolished in '02) was open to hikers and provided great views. There had been a tower on the summit for almost 90 years with zero reported instances of vandalism or any degradation to the environment. There are fire towers, lookouts open to the public as hiking destinations all along the AT, throughout the Catskills & Adirondacs with zero instances of vandalism or environmental degradation. Why was the Mt. Everett tower demolished in '02 despite being perfectly sound 3/8" supergalvanized steel, despite materials standing by for repair, despite a huge pricetag for demolition & removal (approx. $50,000 of our tax $)? To save nature from fire towers.

  2. Hi Nick, Thanks for your comment and information.
    I miss the fire towers I climbed in my youth. So few are open any more. The views above the treetops are incredible. The closest one I know of is on Beebe Hill in Austerlitz, NY. It's not used for fire spotting but is open for visitors and is sturdy and well-maintained.


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