One hike for me often leads to another. In this case, I had hiked to Gooseneck Pond in the Pharaoh Lakes Wilderness Area back in December and while there, I spent some time eyeing Potter Mountain. It appeared to boast a long open ridge that without a doubt, offered views back down to where I was at Gooseneck Pond. The first thing I did when I got back home was to add a trip to Potter Mountain to my future hike list.
On this day, Leesa, Rev and I got an 8:30 start from the Long Swing Trail on Route 74 near Chilson. It was snowing lightly and there wasn't much visibility, but we were hoping it would clear. It was about 20 degrees.
We followed the Long Swing Trail for 1.5 miles before branching left to begin our bushwhack towards Potter Mountain. The woods were open and the ground conditions were fine for microspikes. There was only 1-3 inches of snow on the ground throughout the hike.
We were angling towards the southwest edge of Potter Mountain. As we approached the ridgeline, we were greeted by a thick forest saplings. We skirted around the SW corner of the ridge in hopes of bypassing the saplings. We had to wade through a small area but as we got around to the SE edge of the ridge it opened up and the saplings were mostly gone. It appears that perhaps most of this ridge was perhaps devastated by fire at some time in the past.
With an open eastern ridge, and a faint herd path, it was an easy walk to the true summit. I can't think of another summit that has such a long open summit. I was anxious to get a look down to Gooseneck Pond, and I wasn't disappointed. As we reached the midpoint of the ridge on the east side, we were rewarded with a great view down to Gooseneck. I could also see Peaked Hill, which I had climbed in December on the day I bushwhacked to Gooseneck Pond.
|A panorama of Gooseneck Pond from Potter Mountain|
The snow had stopped, giving us a little bit better visibility. The sun was trying to come out, but it wasn't quite there yet. I want to come back to this peak in the summertime to see what this summit looks like then.
|The open summit of Potter Mountain|
|Maybe some sun shortly?|
|An incredibly long open summit on Potter Mountain|
|Pharaoh Mountain in the Distance|
We made out way back down to the Long Swing Trail the same way we came up. Once back to the trail, we decided we had enough time to head west and climb Bear Mountain as well. Bear is an easy climb from the east. It feels like just a gradual hill. Once again the walking was easy.
|Blue skies made their arrival!|
Just as we reached the final rock ledge at the summit, we came across a lightly used path and then saw several small discs that said PLC which I knew were the Pyramid Life Center. Apparently we were on private property and didn't know it. There were no posted signs, but I should have known better. It was time for us to head back anyways so we bushwhacked back towards the Long Swing Trail.
We happened to get back to the trail right near where we had begun out bushwhack to Potter Mountain. From there it was an easy 30 minute walk back to the car. Just in time to get home for the NFL Championship games.
Hike Distance: 7.3 miles
Hike Time: 4.5 hours
Total Vertical Gain: ~ 1600'