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There is a group of friends with whom I've hiked a couple times, but over the winter I've been having to skip hiking with them for various reasons - mostly work and the side effects of pushing a mouse all day.

So when the latest invite came thru, and I saw it was a hike within my range, plus one of my favorite destinations (!) I was pretty excited.

Gallery / slide show

Unfortunately, it seemed like the destination selected was the other  Parker - the one over in Strafford. Boring, not interested.

Feeling kind of let down, but then I thought what the heck, I clearly wanted to go to Mt Parker, and I decided to solo.

But then it turned out that the mountain actually intended actually was the Mt Parker in Bartlett. Got all that?  Oy.

By this point, my plans to solo were already made, which included an overnight in Bartlett. I decided the simplest course was to follow my plan, meet up with the group on the mountain and probably descend with them....

In the evening, on the way to Bartlett, I watched this fellow chow down at a local farm ....

The next morning, I heard some odd not-quite-quacking sounds from the river and was treated to a look at this fellow. Or perhaps lady?

So, all that confusion already paid off with some wildlife that I usually don't get to see. Nice.

Packed up and headed for the Langdon trailhead, no problems.  Started up the trail, flushed a spruce grouse. Actually one adult and several little ones, who promptly scattered and disappeared while mama hopped and limped pathetically to draw me away. Not being hungry enough to chase a decoying grouse, I continued on the trail.

Several toads later, I reached the junction with the Mt Parker trail and started up that last section. Nice southern exposure, made it bright and cheery even though the day was a little hazy.  I really like this section of trail.

Soon I broke out on the summit and went wandering around before settling in at my favorite spot overlooking the Rocky Branch Valley.

An hour or so later my friends started arriving and we hung around on the summit a while. I went brushwhacking to the Western ledge, and despite the haze really enjoyed the view over Crawford Notch.

After a few minutes of that I rejoined my friends, who were packing up already. We began the descent. A treat to have company!  I hike alone a lot , and enjoy it, but it does pass the time on the trail to chat a bit on the way. I do get tired of my own singing sometimes.....

We reached our cars, and after a few cursory tick checks and a little more chatting we headed our separate ways, since I was staying in Bartlett another night and they were headed back South.

Great day!

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