Destination: State Brook Mountain
ADK Location: Ferris Lake Wild Forest
Roundtrip Mileage: 7 miles
Elevation: 2550 ft.
Elevation gain: 850 ft.
On my bushwhack down from Good Luck Cliffs on November 12, 2020, I took note of the mountain due north of my path. Since I had not hiked the Dexter Lake Trail, snowmobile trail S81, from the trail register leading to Good Luck Cliffs, I had never noticed this beautiful looking mountain. From the north shoulder of Good Luck Cliffs, State Brook Mountain looks huge, and imposing; for good reason, it is. While referred to as a “low peak,” it has its challenges, many dangers, along with its beauty.
From the trail register, at the junction of the trails for Good Luck Cliffs and Dexter and Dry Lake trails, I turned west down the Dexter Trail, S81, to the bridge .3 of a mile down trail. This is the same bridge where I had ended my Good Luck Cliff bushwhack. The bridge would be the known landmark that I would use to plan the bushwhack up State Brook Mountain. From that location I would take a north westerly track, following my bearing, to the summit of the mountain.
I had measured the bushwhack to the summit as .8 of a mile, as a straight shot; then I would descend heading due west for one mile to rejoin the trail. The mileage up, of course, did not account for avoidance of obstacles, and detours to see rock faces, etc. From both the map, and my visual observations while on the north shoulder of Good Luck Cliffs, I knew the ascent would have some steep sections, but what was obscured from view was the very prominent rock faces, ledges and outcroppings. The contour lines on the map indicated some very steeps sections, so I planned my trek to pass between them as much as possible.
While not a popular hiking destination, State Brook Mountain is seeing more traffic from rock climbers. Several times I departed my planned path to take a look at some of the rock faces, and sections that would require rock climbing skills to ascend. While I did find a chimney that a hiker could climb up, on this day I was solo, so I opted to not take the risk. That being said, I can see why rock climbers like this little mountain.
State Brook Mountain has some wonderful features to take in while hiking. Not only the impressive rock formations, but also a brook coming down a steep section creating several beautiful small waterfalls.
After doing some exploring, I headed up to the summit. It is a surprisingly steep mountain with nearly 850ft. of elevation gain, from State Brook to the summit of State Brook Mountain. The summit is wooded, with a boulder nearby, but otherwise just woods. I spent a few minutes looking around, and then decided to head to my next destination, Dry Lake. I reset my compass with my next bearing, and began to descend. Unfortunately, a slight navigational error – as I walked, not on the compass – put me on the cliffs that form the summit, with drops of 30′ or more feet in some spots. Rather than take the time to figure out how to get to the spot I originally intended, I hiked back to the summit, and back the way I came. This proved to be quicker. Once I began my descent, I got back on course to Dry Lake. This added a few tenths of a mile, but not at all concerning. About a mile later I was back on the Dexter Lake Trail, S81, about .5 from the bridge where I began my bushwhack, and about .5 from Dry Lake, exactly where I had planned to rejoin the trail.
Dry Lake is a very nice spot. I sat by the frozen water, and had a drink and a snack for about 20 minutes before deciding to head back to the trailhead. There were a lot of things to think and pray about on this journey. It seems that day by day many of us are facing greater challenges. At times, it can seem that we are set adrift, rudderless, windless with no way to find safe harbor. Yet, during times like these that we walk by faith, and not by sight. Remembering that we are resting, even in the challenge, in the One who delivered our soul.
It is a hike like this one, on and off trail, wooded and open, that remind me that at times the way is obvious; while at other times, I have to trust in the power that I cannot see to lead the way – in orienteering terms, magnetic north. The Lord has given us the map, His Word, and He has placed in us the compass, the Holy Spirit, and with these two, no matter what lay before us, in Him we will reach the destination.
Be well, and happy hiking!