Lake George

Lake George
Lake George - from Tongue Mtn Range - 11/11/2011

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Wyman Mountain from Route 73 - Dix Mountain Wilderness Area - 10/19/13

The goal for this day was to climb Wyman Mountain in the Dix Mountain Wilderness Area.  This would be a second attempt.  Last year, Leesa and I headed towards Wyman on 10/8/12, during the peak of leaf season.   It was a beautiful day, but we started late, and we had chosen a steep route to the summit.  By the time we got to "the igloo", a nice rock outcrop labeled 809 on the latest metric topo map it was about 1:30 PM.  We decided to just enjoy some time on the igloo and save Wyman for another day.
Fast forward a year.  Wyman was still on my list.  Time to head back.  This time, I decided to start at the south fork Boquet River at Route 73 just south of Keene Valley.  I would take the herd path for the first 2 miles, then head to the southernmost bump of 3 bumps (the 3 gems).  This was the bump I had named Clark Peak in honor of Lt. Col. Todd Clark, a local soldier who was killed in Afghanistan on June 8th.  

Looking north to the 2nd gem from the 3rd gem (Clark Peak)

The walk along the herd path beside the Boquet River was a easy relaxing 35 minute walk.  Once past the end of the herd path, the South Branch Boquet River turns northeast, and an unnamed tributary continues south west.  I followed the unnamed tributary for a few minutes before turning due south to work my way up the slope to Clark Peak.
It's not a bag bushwhack up the route I took and after a 45 minute bushwhack, I was on the summit.  The last time I found a nice 8 point deer rack.  Very unusual to find both antlers in the same vicinity.   This time, there were none to be found. 

Looking north from Clark Peak.  From L to R, Noonmark, Round, Giant and Rocky Peak Ridge mountains. 
Rev and I stopped on Clark Peak to have a snack.  I really enjoy the summit.  It is easy to get to, yet offers fine views in all directions. 

East Dix and the ridge to Spotted Mountain

From Clark Peak, I worked my way SW, picking my way down the rock face.  Rev and I crossed a dry brook, then Lindsey Brook (at a nice little 10 foot waterfall), before going up and over a bump labeled 602 (meters).  

the dry brook...

Lindsey Brook

We traversed part of the lower east slope of Wyman Mountain, before crossing another small unnamed brook.  Shortly afterwards we reached an inviting ridgeline containing lots of open rock.  We worked our way up the rock, which led us directly towards the" igloo" our 2nd stop for the day.

open rock leading towards the "igloo" (in the distance)

the igloo and Wyman Mountain
a closer look at the "igloo"

Wyman Mountain
 We reached the igloo after enjoying the approach on the open rock.  The igloo has a cleft in the rock on the west face which provides a means of gaining access to the top. 
The approach to the igloo
We made our way to the top of the igloo and sat down out of the wind to eat some lunch.  It had taken us 2.75 hours to walk the 4.5 miles from the car to the igloo.
Wyman from the igloo
looking south from the igloo

looking down (to the west) from the igloo, at the cleft in the rock that we had ascended 

The igloo, below, as seen from the Wyman ridge 

a closer look at the igloo

Now it was time to investigate Wyman Mountain.  I knew the true summit was in the trees, but the south face offered fine views.  Rev and I followed a bearing of 280 degrees and worked our way up the slope.  We stayed just right of a ridgeline and occasionally stepped out on open rock to views of Macomb, South Dix (Carson) and East Dix ( Grace) as well as a view back down to the igloo. 
the summit of Wyman

Once on the summit cone, we worked our way to the true summit through some moderately thick pines.  No view from the true summit, just a small clearing.  To return to the car, I had decided to try and take the Wyman ridge all the way back down to the unnamed brook, then back out on the South Branch Boquet River herd path.
I was hoping that the ridge wasn't unbearably thick or full of blowdown.  In fact, it was moderately thick, but varied, and I was able to scout and avoid small patches of thick growth.  There were some welcome stretches of open rock along the way.    
Open rock on the Wyman ridge.  Macomb, South Dix, East Dix in the background

Spotted Mountain from the Wyman rodge

As I got lower on the ridge I headed for the unnamed creek to follow it back to the herd path.  This is where the going got more difficult.  I came across lots of blowdown in the vicinity of the creek.  I moved away from the creek hoping things would improve, but there were lots of trees down until I got within 15 minutes of the herd path.  The weather had been partly sunny earlier, but became mostly cloudy for last couple hours of the hike.

a multi- level beaver pond

The herd path was a welcome sight, as I was tired of downed trees by that point.  The walk out was pleasant.  A successful trip was complete. 
Hike Stats:
Hike Distance:  11.3 miles
Hike Time:  7 hours, including stops
Total Vertical Gain:  ~ 3200'

The route (click image to enlarge)

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Hill 1066 (3550') and a Fantastic Waterfall - Dix Mountain Wilderness - 10/13/13

Since it is a holiday weekend, I chose today to do another bushwhack hike to avoid the crowded trailheads.  Back on May 5th, I had climbed Camel's Hump Mountain in the Dix Mountain Wilder ness Area, and I had noted several things on that trip.  There was a great looking waterfall across the Niagara Brook valley that came off of Macomb Mountain, and there was lots of open rock just below the SW shoulder of Macomb Mountain (just below the hill at 1066 meters).  I decided to go look at both those things today.

I parked at the West Mill Brook trailhead on Route 9 in North Hudson, NY.  Since I didn't have a 4 wheel drive vehicle, I chose to walk the first 1.1 miles to the gate.  From the gate, I followed the old West Mill Brook jeep road to the end, another 2.4 miles.  The first 3.5 miles had been easy walking and I was at the end of the old road in just over an hour.  From there, I crossed the brook and turned SE to follow the western side of West Mill Brook.  The walking was easy on the lower slopes just above the brook.    

West Mill Brook trail 

I soon passed a beaver dam on West Mill Brook.  I continued to follow the brook until I came to the drainage that would lead me to the waterfall.  

In looking at the topo map, the falls appeared to be about halfway up the slope to Hill 1066 (the SE shoulder of Macomb Mountain).  I climbed the left side of the drainage.  Soon a deep ravine developed in the drainage.  I stayed high on the left.  The bushwhacking became increasing difficult as I climbed.  There was a lot of blowdown as I climbed the left side. 
When I decided I was in the vicinity of the falls, I cut across the slope in a northerly direction towards the drainage.  I was quite lucky, in that, despite the blowdown, I managed to reach the drainage right at the waterfall.  Perhaps the right side of the drainage is easier walking, but I chose the left after studying the contours on the map.

Waterfall as seen from Camel's Hump, 5/5/13
I was hoping that there was still water flowing over the falls.  Back in May when I observed the falls from Camel's Hump, there was quite a lot of water spilling over the rock.  I was hoping it wasn't dry.
 I was in luck!  What a spectacular waterfall.  It is a two-tiered falls.  The upper falls is the larger falls.  It spills down onto a ledge where it flows a few feet north along the ledge and then spills over more rock, creating a second falls.  It had taken me 1.5 hours to reach the falls once I left the end of the West Mill Brook trail and began to bushwhack.  The falls is at about 2300'.
There was still quite a bit of water coming over the falls, but the ledge was dry enough that I could walk out on it for an up close look.  That may not be possible in the spring.  The ledge is probably very wet during the spring runoff season, or after heavy rain.

Rev and I actually sat on the ledge and had our lunch.  Afterwards, we went to the bottom of the 2nd falls to get a look at the lower falls.   
the ledge...

upper falls

upper falls to ledge

lower falls


After I was done admiring the falls, I returned to the left side of the drainage and continued to climb the slope, heading for the Hill labeled as 1066 M (3550').  This is the SE shoulder of Macomb Mountain.  I got to walk on lots of open rock, like the picture below while climbing towards Hill 1066. 
Looking across the valley to Camel's Hump

 ...and zooming in to Camel's Hump shoulder

As I got to about 3100' the terrain switched to soft woods, and it got quite dense.  There was a little open rock at the top, but views were limited.   I reached the summit about 3.5 hours from when I left the car.     

From Hill 1066, I headed south in search of the open rock ledge I had seen from Camel's Hump.  Again, I was quite thick until I got down to about 3100' where I stepped out onto open rock.  It reminded by of East Dix (Grace Peak), and the open ridge below me looked like the view from East Dix to Spotted Mountain.  It felt quite similar as I made my way down.   You can see from the pics below that it quite the same. 

I made my way down rather quickly since I had started the hike at 11, and it was now 3 PM.
Sunrise Mountain in the distance

Camel's Hump in the distance

Nippletop (Dix Wldns), Niagara, Hoffman and Blue Ridge mountains in the background

Camel's Hump again

looking back up

some rock halfway down


I angled down the slope heading NE as much as I could, working around some rock cliffs here and there.  Once I was back down by West Mill Brook, it was an easy walk on the west side of the brook until I got back to the West Mill Brook jeep trail.  Another hour and I was back to the car at 5:45 pm
It was great to see such a fine waterfall and lots of open rock in the same day.  I imagine very few people have seen this waterfall up close and it's worth the look.  Maybe there is an easier way to get there.
Hike Stats:
Hike Distance:  12.2 miles
Hike Time:  6.75 hours, including stops
Total Vertical Gain:   ~ 2600'    

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Marsh Pond Mountain - Dix Mountain Wilderness Area - 10/12/13

I've been plugging away at bushwhacking all the named peaks in the Dix Mountain Wilderness Area and I've been making good progress.  I've also climbed a bunch of the unnamed ones that I can tell have good views.  Fall is definitely the best time to do this, so I planned another one for today.
The Big Marsh Pond area can be accessed either from Route 9 in North Hudson, by utilizing a culvert that passes under I-87, or by parking at Palmer Pond on Blue Ridge Road and hiking north from there.  I chose the Palmer Pond Route since you have to wade the Schroon River from Route 9.
I got a really late start today.  I wasn't on the trail until 11:15.  I was hoping I still had enough time to hike north to the Big Marsh Pond outlet drainage, then follow it to Big Marsh Pond.  If all was going well, I would continue on and hike to Marsh Pond Mountain before circling back to the car.
There is supposed to be a small point on Blue Ridge Road in the vicinity of Palmer Pond where state land touches the highway.  I didn't see any state land signs, but I found an area, where I thought the state land was and it didn't have any posted signs.  I entered at that point and headed almost straight north.  For the first 10 minutes I was walking through a messy logging area.  Perhaps I was in the wrong spot. 

An open pine forest

The beeches are turning.  The maple leaves are mostly down

with a few exceptions...


the pond drainage
I stayed east of a small unnamed peak and soon was at the drainage of Big Marsh Pond.  From here, I just stayed on the north side of the drainage and headed west.  About halfway to Big Marsh Pond I passed an area where the drainage was a little bit wider and pooled up a little.  There was also a big prairie type grass area adjacent.  On the slope above, where I was, there where some nice pines and glacial erratics.   

a marsh of dry grass
pooled drainage
After that, there was nothing remarkable until I reached Bid Marsh Pond.  This pond had more water in it than I was expecting. 

Big Marsh Pond!
Big Marsh Pond and Marsh Pond Mountain


It had only taken me 2 hours and 15 minutes to travel the 3.5 miles to reach Big Marsh Pond so I decided I had enough time to zip up Marsh Pond Mountain.   It was only a mile to the summit from the pond.
As I climbed, I immediately left the pines and entered hardwoods for the climb up.  Before I reached the summit ridge I had to bypass a band of cliffs.  Nothing terribly hard.  Soon I on the southern tip of the ridge where I had great view of Big Marsh Pond and Little Marsh Pond.  Rev and I stopped under the shade of the tree to cool down and have some food.  She also drank over a liter of water.  It was hot climbing the southern face of the mountain with the sun beating down.  I let Rev cool down before continuing. 
Big Marsh Pond from the shoulder of Marsh Pond Mountain
Little Marsh Pond from the same location
The actual summit was in the trees.  Actually it was a double summit and both were in the trees.  When I reached the northern summit I decided to continue a loop instead of going back.  I headed southeast, instead of southwest from where I had come. 

near the top of the mountain

Typical side slope in the area

On the way down I was just making time.  I angled my way down the slope until I was back near the drainage.  I followed the drainage for a distance, then took a dogleg to cut the corner from the way I came in.  This sent me up and over an unnamed hill which had a really nice open rock summit and some great views.    

I crossed this nice unnamed hill on the way out




It had taken me 3.25 hours to reach the summit, but I got out in 2.25 hours by taking a more direct line to the car.  It was a great weather day to be out enjoying the woods.  I didn't see anybody all day, and I don't think I ever have when I've done a bushwhack hike.
A few extra pictures can be found on my Picasa web album
Hike Stats:
Hike Distance:  8 miles
Hike Time:  5.5 hours, including stops
Total Vertical Gain:  ~ 2200'
The route