Over the past 3 years, I've climbed Jay Mountain a half dozen times; 3 times on the old herd path, and 3 times on the new marked trail. The Jay ridge is a wonderful place and it is one of my favorite hikes.
Each time I've climbed, I've looked North to smaller peak that had a huge monolith of rock at the summit. I looked on my map and found that the peak was named Arnold Mountain and it rises to a respectable 2802'. It is located near the northern end of the Jay Mountain Wilderness Area.
I looked at the area on Google Earth and I also noted a drainage that looked like it had been ripped wide open; perhaps by Hurricane Irene. I was now intriqued by two features north of the Jay Mountain ridge.
Fast forward 3 years and I finally decided to get out and explore the area. I parked at the trailhead for Jay Mountain and took the marked trail to the 1st viewpoint on the ridge. It was now time to leave the trail and head north. I followed an open ridge ridge that descended northward. There were some cliff bands and challenges that had to be negotiated. It was a little slower going than I had expected.
I head north at roughly a bearing of 350 degrees until the grade lessened; at which time I turned westward to get to the drainage in Gelina Basin. In reaching the drainage, I was excited to find it was even more interesting than I had hoped. It was pretty easy to negotiate and there were some exquisite waterfalls. I don't know how much water flows later in the summer, but at this time there was a good volume of water.
|The fist waterfall I encountered in the Gelina Basin drainage|
|Rock hopping in the Gelina Basin drainage|
It was good that I was following a water course. It was about 85 degrees and my dog Rev enjoyed the water a little more than usual. The drainage was a real unexpected treasure. I was now heading SW towards an un-name sub summit between Arnold and Jay.
|Waterfall # 2|
|Looking down on Waterfall # 2|
The un-named sub-summit offered a rocky viewpoint with views south to Jay and west to Whiteface.
|A first viewpoint from some rock south of Arnold Mountain. Whiteface Mountain is in the background.|
|Looking at the Jay Mountain ridge from open rock between Jay and Arnold.|
|Another angle from the un-named rock sub summit|
The going got tougher once I started heading north towards Arnold along the ridge. I just took my time in the heat of the day.
|Looking north to Arnold Mountain|
|Clawing my way towards Arnold|
I wasn't sure that Rev and I would be able to scale the monolith of rock at the south face of Arnold Mountain, but it wasn't as steep as it looked from afar and we were able to climb right up it.
|Rev was first, as always|
The black flies had been somewhat annoying thus far, but on the summit of Arnold, there was a good stiff breeze that was too strong for the black flies. I enjoyed the breeze (and lack of bugs) and stayed on Arnold for quite a while.
|Whiteface Mountain from Arnold Mountain|
|The grand view westward...|
|Looking SE from Arnold|
To head back, we continued north and then looped around to get back to the Gelina Basin from where we retraced our route.
|Our way down... Rev chose the route|
|Still some ice and snow in spots|
|Rev didn't mind revisiting the water|
Both Arnold Peak and the Gelina Basin drainage are outstanding destinations. It was great to be able to see them both in the same day. The Jay Mountain Wilderness is such a pretty area. I'll be back to explore further.
Hike Distance: 9.2 miles
Hike Time: 6.5 hours
Total Vertical Gain: ~ 4000'
|The approximate route (click image to enlarge)|