Lake George

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

Monday, January 20, 2020

Prospect Rock Trail and Lye Brook Wilderness - Manchester, VT - 1/20/20

When there is fresh snow nearby, my preference is always to pull out my XC skis.  Snowshoes can wait for less than stellar snow conditions.   The Saturday snow storm didn't quite deliver the forecast amount of 8-9" of snow at my house.  We ended up with about 5".   Nice for golf course skiing, but not so good in the woods.

Saturday (pre-storm) we took a hike to Haystack Mountain in Pawlet, VT.  This hike is a great bang for the buck 1.6 mile hike to a fantastic summit.  Two hours round trip for a view that can't be beat.

Sunday, with skiable snow lacking at my house, I went to the Corinth Reservoir Rec Trails.   The snow depth was fine, but the temperature got up to about 34 degrees and the snow was sticking to my skis on the uphill.

Today, with the bonus day off for MLK, I headed to Manchester, VT to explore the Prospect Rock trail; a new trail for me.  It was much colder; 10 degrees at the start and 20 degrees at the finish.  There was also more snow; about 8" at the start (1000' elevation) and about 12" up at 2000'.

It was a great day and great trail trail to use my Altai Hoc 125cm "ski-shoes".  I call them ski-shoes because they are really a snowshoe alternate for many types of terrain.   

This trail is an old road with a continuous moderate grade.  The Prospect Rock viewpoint is about 1.6 miles up the trail with close to a 1000' vertical gain.  I walked right up the trail in the skis with no slippage.  There is a mohair strip built into the middle half of the ski that works well for climbing. 

The Prospect Rock Trail (the old Rootville Road)

There is a short 200' long spur trail on the right that takes you to Prospect Rock.  It is easy to miss, so watch for it. 

Rev on Prospect Rock

Mount Equinox and the Manchester Valley from Prospect Rock

Fortunately, if you miss it, you quickly come to a gate with a sign attached that says you may have missed it!

It might be better to have a good sign at the Prospect Rock turnoff.

Rev and I were really enjoying the snow.  This route was going to be a great slide down back to the car!

The old road levels out shortly after Prospect Rock and continues for another mile before coming to the  junction of the Appalachian Trail/Long Trail with the trail to Douglas Shelter and Little Mud Pond.  I headed for the shelter, which I reached at the 3.1 mile mark.

The only bridge on the route.

Hot chocolate and snacks at the lean-to, while sitting in the sunshine! 

Yes, Rev got snacks too...

And she's ready to continue.

I decided to continue on to Little Mud Pond.  The trail didn't quite go to the pond, so I bushwhacked to the pond, which looked more like a vly.

Next I decided to bushwhack around the south end of the pond and head east until I hit the Long Trail.  Once there, I headed north on the LT until I returned to the earlier junction where I had split for the lean-to.

Lastly, I skied the flat portion of the old Rootville Road and then had a quick glide for the last 1.8 miles or so back to the car.  Awesome !

Trip Stats
Ski Distance:  10 miles
Ski Time:  4.5 hours, including stops
Vertical Gain:  ~1650'     

The route (the loop was done counter-clockwise).

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Knob Lock Mountain - Giant Mountain Wilderness - 1/4/2020

It's been quite a while since I've put up a blog post, but I'll get this new year started right.  Today was promising to be a rainy day in the Lake George area, but a couple inches of snow was forecast further north.  Rev and I were anxious to get out of the rain and into the snow, so we headed north to Elizabethtown to pay a 3rd visit to Knob Lock Mountain in the Giant Mountain Wilderness.

For those that aren't familiar with Knob Lock, it lies almost due south of Hurricane Mountain, perhaps a couple miles.  Route 9N divides the valley between the two mountains.  Knob Lock is on the south side of Route 9N.  The summit views are fantastic on a clear day. 

You can park in the parking lot that is used for hikers taking the trail to Owl Head Lookout.  That's where we started our adventure for the day.  It was snowing lightly and visibility was poor but snow is better than rain.

We went a short distance on the hiking trail, then veered west towards the ridge line that leads to Knob Lock.  

A 1st look at Owl Head Lookout

I hadn't thought to wear my winter hiking pants since the temperature was in the low 30's, but it would have been a good idea.  As I got on the ridge and began pushing my way through the snowy pines and spruce, my pants quickly soaked as they not water proof or even water resistant.  I didn't have any real concern due to the shortness of this hike.  I remained warm since I was moving. 

This looks like more than a deer scrape.  Perhaps a moose, but is is low to the ground.

There was some visibility while climbing.  The snowfall alternated between light and moderate and at times I could see the nearby hills.

Nice spot here...

Rev started the day in her tattered orange coat, but at some point on the way down it was lost in the woods in the thick brush. 

Seems like every clearing had a glacial erratic.

Visibility unfortunately got worse as we continued to climb.  The snow was picking up.  On the ledges it was a little slick with just a couple inches of snow on top of ice.  We made sure to stay out of harms way. 

Heading for the summit (in the background)

As expected, the summit was socked in due the continuing snow.  No summit view on this day.  Rev didn't mind, she was having a great time.  I didn't mind either.  Kind of peaceful.

... and the view was gone...

I had some hot chocolate, which always tastes good to me in the snow.  A sandwich and treats for Rev and we were on our way down.  I didn't want to stop for long in wet clothes.

The summit

I decided to drop off the ridge early on the way down and take a more direct line.  I'm not sure it saved me any time.  It was thicker than the ascent route and I did a lot of clawing... even though I was going downhill.  Once back in the hardwoods, things improved greatly!

The woods down low off the ridge are bushwhack friendly.

Pretty snow on all the tree limbs.

All in all, I enjoyed the adventure.  A winter bushwhack is not for everyone, but it's for me.  Rev didn't mind either.

Trip Stats
Total Distance:  4.8 miles
Total Time:  4 hours
Total Vertical Gain:  ~2000'

The route

The route on the Nat Geo map