BROWNFIELD — The Burnt Meadow Mountain trail is a great way to take in the fall foliage. My family has hiked this trail quite a few times, but it seems for one reason or another we have never made it to the northern peak.

The mileage of 1.4 miles (one way) and an elevation gain of 1,194 feet are stats we’ve managed on other mountains. Unfortunately we did not summit the northern peak this fall due to a minor injury with our canine hiking friend. But there were a couple wonderful vistas along the way that made us feel like it was a mission accomplished for enjoying the sights of a beautiful fall day in the western mountains area.

We set off on our hike with our high-energy foster puppy and he had no problem with the elevation gain. The girls and I struggled a bit more to find our own rhythm up the mountain.

It has been a while since we’ve tackled a mountain due to the girls’ 4-H projects, specifically wrangling their sheep, pigs and cows. Raising livestock offers its own exercise program but isn’t quite as cardio-oriented as mountain hiking.

We had been on the trail for about 15 minutes when we decided to take a water break and catch our breath. My 13-year-old asked me to consult my GPS to see how much mileage we had covered. It was .26 miles, with a couple hundred feet elevation gain.

“What? I thought we had gone farther than that!”

Like I said, we’re a little out of mountain hiking shape. But onward we trekked, still committed to getting to the northern peak. About three-quarters of a mile up the trail we ran into our favorite vista (so far) on this mountain. It’s an open rock face with great views of the surrounding mountains and valley.

Of course we had to stop.

We confirmed what the news has been reporting — this year’s fall foliage is less than stellar. We saw color on the trees, but it just wasn’t a full spectrum of fall colors we’ve seen before. There was a lot more yellow and brown than red and orange. We’ve hiked this trail for quite a few falls over the years, so we had the pictures at home to confirm this observation.

No matter, the view of the valley was still beautiful. The picnic lunch we packed was tasty.

The fresh blood drops we noticed on the rocks were not such a welcome sight.

After a quick inspection we found the blood source. The pup had a wound on the lower part of his rear ankle. It didn’t look like anything too serious. Nevertheless, this was concerning because he is not actually our dog, so we tend to err on the side of extra caution.

We poured some water on the wound and applied antibiotic cream. I actually know very little about dog first aid, but he seemed fine otherwise and was not limping. But the girls and I decided it would be best to head back to the trail head. The northern peak was just going to have to wait until another year.

During our climb down we talked about our next attempt to summit this mountain. We’ve been on this trail at least a half dozen times without a peak visit. With busy teenager schedules we don’t get out hiking as much as I’d like in any season, so I don’t think we’ll be getting back here before the snow flies.

“There is always next year, Mom.”

Indeed there is.

Staff Writer Wendy Almeida can be contacted at 791-6334 or at: [email protected]

Twitter: RaisingMaine