Trails-less Traveled 5

Trout Lake Mountain Bushwhack and Chub Mt. Revisit.

It’s been nearly two years since my last Trails-less Traveled post. After a busy week, and a busy morning, including planting and weeding in the garden, I slipped over to a favorite spot on route 10 in the Town of Arietta to hike out to Trout Lake Mt.. I have climbed many mountains in that area, and visit there often, as it is close to home. Trout Lake Mt. is visible as I travel route 10, across a wetland that runs alongside the road, and has some nice rock outcroppings that are very enticing.

The “backside” of Trout Lake Mt. Is on the right side of the pic.

So this morning I took some bearings from my map, made a plan, had lunch, and hit the road. Having climbed several neighboring mountains, I knew the herd path out in the general direction well, and the outlet crossing where I would leave the herd path and head into the woods (see pics). While it may seem that a direct route from the Chub Mt./Lake parking area would reduce distance, having paddled that area, I know that there is a wetland and a deep, beaver infested (well, they do make their presence known), water crossing that is not possible unless one wants to swim. So out, around and up to the desired mountain I headed.

The bushwhack from the water crossing (see pics) would be 2.4 miles out and back; not a difficult distance. With a full canopy of leaves above, and everything leafed out at ground level, having the correct bearing, and a solid mental picture of the surrounding geographical features, natural backstops, and siderails to aid in direction, is vital. I chose to follow the shoulder of Sherman Mountain, then a quick drop to being the ascent up Trout Lake Mt. as the most obvious route.

I’m standing on the herd path which goes to the right, but my path is directly ahead!

Having done a quick measure of the expected mileage between points, I engaged my Fitbit at the trailhead, which allowed me to accurately gage expected arrival times to my predetermined points of travel, to include the summit of Trout Lake Mt.

The wooded high point of Trout Lake Mt.

When properly done, and executed, it is amazing how accurate compass coordinates are, not surprising really, but super fun! As I approached the wooded summit of Trout Lake Mt. I could see rock outcroppings along the shoulder of the summit that looked so enticing to say, “There it is!” But no, I carried on, to the high point, confirmed with GPS. Then off to some nice lookouts facing Good Luke Mt. and Cliffs, as well as State Brook Mountain, all on the opposite side of route 10.

Looking toward State Brook Mt.

I spent some time up top, until I could not stand the swarm of horse flies, or dear flies, any longer. Then, since I had planned to head over to Sherman Mt. after and the flies were just too annoying, I did a reverse (or back) azimuth, basically setting my compass to the opposite bearing than I headed out with, back to the water crossing.

Uneventful, and I ended up exactly where I had entered the bushwhack. At that point I visited the beautiful clearing that the water passes through, and admired the scenery for a time (see pics), then moved on.

As it was early, and I had changed plans by not going over to Sherman Mt., I decided to revisit Chub Mt, a local rock climbing favorite. For its size, it is a wonderful mountain to climb. The numerous rock climbers who visit the mountain have made some beautiful and easy to follow herd paths, that end just short of the summit. The path I took today was right along the top of the wall that they climb, so views of Trout Lake Mt. and Sherman Mt. are plentiful (see pics). A quick up and down, then back to the car.

Trout Lake Mt on the left and Sherman Mt on the right. from Chub Mt.

The total mileage of today’s adventure was 5.6 miles, with a 2.4 mile bushwhack. On this beautiful day, it was perfect … except for the flies!!! … and a nice soul boost.

While I would only recommend bushwhacking to experienced backcountry adventurers, going out to the backcountry on marked and groomed trails can be very refreshing. Still, even on a short adventure, always make sure that you have the “10 essentials” in your pack, just google it, and someone who knows where you are going.

Even on today’s short outing, I had everything I needed in my chest pack, and in my 20 liter backpack was everything I would need to survive a night in the woods in the event of an emergency. Thankfully, I was able to enjoy a cold drink and a candy bar when I got back to my Jeep!

Get out there! There is so much to explore!

Be well. Shalom.

Trails-less Traveled 4

View from a lookout on State Brook Mountain, looking toward Good Luck Mountain.

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.

Heading down the Dexter and Dry Lake Trail, snowmobile trail S81.

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.

Now on the bushwhack, heading down to State Brook, and beginning to get a view of State Brook Mountain.
Crossing State Brook.

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.

A rock section at the base of the rock face above, behind the trees.

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.

One of several small waterfalls; not the best example, I uploaded the wrong picture.

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.

From a small lookout just off the summit of State Brook Mountain you can see the backside of Good Luck Cliffs, center of picture.

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!