This hike ended up being somewhat of a re-run of a hike I did last October. I'm not complaining, since that hike was fantastic. This is the Dix Mountain Wilderness area, and the hike is a hike from the West Mill Brook trailhead to a waterfall SE of Macomb Mountain, plus a visit to an un-named hill 1068 (3550').
This time I wanted to re-visit the waterfall (a fantastic place), and then continue on to Sunrise Mountain. I made several mistakes however. The 1st - I didn't start until 9:45; the 2nd - I stayed at the waterfall too long; the 3rd - I just didn't have the steam to day to push all the way to Sunrise.
I made it up to the Hill 1066 and it was 2 PM. I knew it was only another mile to Sunrise, but it was a tough mile and I would have been heading further from the car. I decided to save Sunrise for another day.
So back to the beginning...
I parked on Route 9 at the sign for West Mill Brook. You can drive in the first mile if you have a high clearance vehicle. You then come to a gate with two barrels affixed to it. From there it's foot traffic only. An old jeep continues on, following West Mill Brook for a total distance from the car of 3.25 miles. The trail peters out at that point. This is a great spot to begin a bushwhack to Camel's Hump, but that wasn't my trip for today.
|A fall giant alongside the West Mill Brook path|
I crossed to the west side of the brook as soon as the path ended. I skirted west then south path a beaver pond and continued southward until I needed to begin the climb to the waterfall. The climb is fairly open until you get near the falls. I find it easiest to get close to the falls from the south side, but it is tough walking there due to blowdown and slippery moss covered rock.
The falls has 2 large tiers, followed by a 3rd cascade a little lower down. When I was here last fall, the water volume coming over the falls was a bit less than it was today. The added water made the falls even more impressive, but it also made it harder to walk out on the ledge between the upper and middle falls.
|The 3rd cascade|
|Upper and Middle falls|
After spending an enjoyable about of time at the falls, I continued my climb towards Hill 1068. The view there is nothing, but if you grope around and head south-southeast a short distance you come to a fantastic ledge and viewpoint that offers views east and south.
I reached this point at 2 PM and it was decision time. I sat at this great viewpoint and looked over as Sunrise Mountain, a mere mile away. It was a rugged mile and would probably take at least an hour and put me further from the car. I didn't had it in me to push hard to get out there, so with that decision made, I was able to sit and enjoy the view from right where I was.
|Rev out on the great open rock below Hill 1068|
|Wyman and the "Igloo"|
|Hoffman and Blue Ridge Mountains from the ledge south of Hill 1066|
|Lots of dry dead wood everywhere|
After eating my late lunch, I decided to loop around to the north to check out some more open rock that would be new to me. The last time, I had gone south, then southeast following an open rock ridge down.
The push northward was thicker than what I had experienced climbing up. I was on a relatively level plateau north of Hill 1068, but the tree density was thicker. At last I reached the open rock I was searching for and got to enjoy views to the north and east. I was also starting to finally get some blue skies and sunshine as well. That was ok with me.
|Camel's Hump, Niagara, Nippletop (Dix Wldns) and Marsh Pond Mtns|
|Grace and Wyman|
|the "igloo" east of Wyman|
From here it was just a straight shot east down the slope back to the West Mill Brook path. Descending wasn't much faster than climbing due to a terrain that demanded a little caution.
Eventually I made it down to the brook. It's always a relief to be back on a foot path after spending most of the day bushwhacking.
|a hard life|
|some leave are staring to turn!|
|A last look back...|
I ended up getting a lot of good pictures from this trip. If you want to see more, you can find them on my Picasa Web Album. I also took a couple videos of the waterfall, which you can find here on YouTube.
I didn't make it to Sunrise Mountain on this day, but I had a full and rewarding day. No complaints!
Hike Distance: 12.6 miles
Hike Time: 9.5 hours
Total Vertical Gain: ~ 2950'
|The route (click image to enlarge)|