Plan A for Sunday was to attempt to climb Hoffman Mountain in the Hoffman Wilderness via the Big Pond Trail from the south. The extreme cold wind chill caused me to reconsider. Hoffman is a long bushwhack and I decided I should save it for a day with no severe weather.
What I decided to do instead was hike from Upper Works to Flowed Lands to check on my adopted lean-to at Herbert Brook. I would also possible do a little exploratory hiking in the vicinity of Calamity Mountain.
I arrived at Upper Works at 9 AM and expected the parking lot to be at least half full. I was surprised to find only one car that had just arrived. Just getting out of the car was a couple that were headed for Mount Marshall. While they were getting there gear together, Rev and I headed down the trail. It was -4 degrees F but the wind didn't feel bad at all.
|First look at the McIntyre's|
|The re-routed section of the Calamity Brook Trail|
We moved briskly to stay warm and we reached Calamity Pond and the David Henderson monument in an hour and 15 minutes. At this point, I decided to explore the area around Calamity Mountain and headed east towards the northern shoulder of the Calamity Mountain ridge.
The going was tough. The trees were dense and the blowdown made it slow going. I did get some glimpses of the McIntyre range. My toes started to get cold because I wasn't moving very fast. The true summit of Calamity would be saved for another day.
|The McIntyre Range from the northern end of the Calamity Mountain ridge|
|Change of course needed!|
|I got covered in snow moving through this forest|
I made my way back to the Calamity Brook Trail, shook myself off and continued on to Flowed Lands. The ice was solid so Rev and I made our way across. When we reached the Opalescent River, I wasn't so sure about crossing it. There was broken up ice that had refroze. I could see the remains of tracks crossing the river, but I wasn't comfortable with the feel of the ice so I turned back to take the trail around Flowed Lands.
|Some 5 foot icicles|
|Our turn around point at the Opalescent River|
|Mount Colden framed between the trees|
|A classic panorama of Flowed Lands and Mount Colden|
While I was on the trail around Flowed Lands, I noticed I had lost one of my Hillsound Trail Crampons. I backtracked a few minutes, but didn't see it. I never did locatedit so it probably came off while I was bushwhacking. I'll do my best to locate it on another trip.
Soon I was at the Herbert Brook lean-to. Things looked good at the lean-to. The sun was doing it's best to warm the area. It felt nice.
|Herbert Brook lean-to|
|My tracks on Flowed Lands|
|Algonquin from Flowed Lands|
|Rev... perhaps wanting to climb Colden?|
Next, Rev and I walked around the southern end of Flowed Lands to the Opalescent lean-to and the Griffin lean-to. The person I saw out on the trails all day was a DEC person (Jim) heading for the Interior Outpost at Lake Colden to spend 5 days in residence there. I want that job!
|Flowed Lands (Opalescent) lean-to|
It was now 1:30 and clouds were quickly coming in, as was forecast. Rev and I watched the changing skies as we made our way back around Flowed Lands. I'm always sad to be heading away from this area, it's just a magical place.
|Even with clouds, this is an amazing view|
|A last look for today|
|Avalanche Mountain and Mount Colden|
3:30 found us back at the car and headed home ending another weekend in the ADK's.
Hike Distance: 13.4 miles
Hike Time: 6.5 hours
Total Vertical Gain: ~ 1800'
|My approximate route|