Lake George

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

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Green Mountain - Giant Mountain Wilderness Area - 7/20/14

Green Mountain, in the Giant Mountain Wilderness, has been near the top of my future hike list for quite a while.  I've looked at it every day on my way to work.  At 3980', it is the 2nd highest of the non-46er peaks.
This peak is trail-less, but there are short bushwhack options.  This past Sunday I decided to climb this peak by hiking the 6 miles from Route 9N to the Giant Leanto, then bushwhack north the .6 miles to the summit.  The trail portion of this hike is known to be wet at times, but with a long dry spell prior to this day, I wasn't too concerned.     
I hadn't been on this this trail before, so it was all new to me.  My dog, Rev, and I were hiking alone on this day.  As I signed in at the trailhead, I noticed only two cars in the lot.  One person was headed to Giant Mountain and back.  Two persons signed in the previous day for an overnight backpack.
Another proud adopter... the 46er's
As usual when I'm by my self, I move quickly on the trail.  Soon we encountered the 2 backpackers on their way out.  These were the only 2 people we saw all day.  We traveled the first 2.5 miles and 1000' vertical in 50 minutes.  This brought us to the junction with the Owl Head Lookout spur trail (a fine destination on it's own).  I decided to save a re-visit until on our way out.
A couple hundred yards past the junction, we stepped into a clearing that offered a fine view of Bald Mountain and Rocky Peak Ridge.

The first view from the trail -Bald Mtn (L), RPR (R) 
From here we followed rolling terrain through hard woods; travelling over some mostly dry mud holes.  At the 4.2 mile mark, we reached an area known as High Bank (which is really the SE base of Green Mountain.  At this location the trail takes a 90 degree turn to the right.  We stopped here and walked left out onto high bank.  It is an embankment of open loose sand and gravel.  Fine views are afforded of Giant Mountain from this location.  You can also see (and hear) Roaring Brook down below.    This was a great spot to stop for a break, and we did so.  

Giant Mountain from High Bank
Looking back towards the trail from High Bank
Roaring Brook below High Bank
Back on the trail, we continued 1.8 miles following a steady moderate incline to the Giant Leanto.   A short spur trail takes you a couple hundred yards off the main trail to the leanto.  I refilled my water bottles here.   It had taken us just over 2  hours to travel the 6 miles to the leanto.

Giant leanto
Directly across the main trail from the leanto spur, I began bushwhacking towards Green.  Someone had put up some illegal orange flagging.  This flagging continued all the way to the false SW summit of Green.  I removed the flagging as I went. 
I passed through alternating areas of moderate and thick growth as I climbed.  The summit is pretty nondescript and offers no views.  I believe there are some views from the eastern end of the ridge, but I didn't go over there.  

The summit of Green Mountain
I descended generally along the same bushwhack route that I had just climbed and returned to the trail at a point near the Giant leanto.  From here it was just a return along the trail.
When we reached High Bank, we descended down to Roaring Brook.  I took off my boots and let the cool water run over my feet.  Rev played in the water. 

Back to High Bank
Looking SE from High Bank

Open sand and gravel

Looking up High Bank from Roaring Brook
Roaring Brook



 Once watered, we reclimbed High Bank and travelled the 1.7 miles to the Owl Head Lookout spur.   This time we climbed to the lookout.  We had the summit to ourselves and there was a nice breeze.  The lookout offers fines views of Iron Mountain, Bald, RPR, Giant and Green.

Owl Head Lookout

A closer view

The view from Owl Head Lookout


From the lookout, we had a quick 45 minute walk to the car.  The highlight of this hike was not Green Mountain but rather High Bank, Owl Head Lookout and the nice quiet trail walk.
Hike Stats:
Hike Distance 13.4 miles
Hike Time:  7 hours
Totabl Vertical Gain:  ~ 3700'  
The route (click mage to enlarge)
National Geographic map of the approximate route

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