The Crooked Canes Journal


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Blueberry Cobbles, Mason Mouuntain Plus One Hike ~ Oct 5, 2018

Journal entry by Wanderer



As the leader of an outing you don’t like changing the day for a scheduled event; in back of your mind you think you are going to discourage some from attending.  I guess re-scheduling this new hike to a day when the forecast was for cool temperatures, mostly sunny with light winds and the fall foliage at or near peak convinced people to adjust their busy schedules.  Besides, the earlier part of the week was wet – not good for hiking.  We certainly had no trouble filling the parking lot at New Russia - the eastern most trailhead to Rocky Peak Ridge (RPR) and Giant, two of the High Peaks - going over Blueberry Cobbles, Mason Mountain and Bald Peak on the way.  It is also the longest route to climb RPR and Giant so it doesn’t get much traffic, comparatively speaking. 

We actually got underway on schedule with me leading from the front for a change – a novel method!  The trail is flat for only a short distance before beginning its gradual but steady up – nearly the whole way to our destination, a little more than 2 miles away.  The trail is comfortable to walk on – sure it had some roots and rocks but not like some of the “rough” trails that we sometimes encounter.  Sections were covered with brightly colored leaves already – mostly beach and maple I guess but we also had long stretches that took us through hemlock and pine trees – void of underbrush, allowing us to see greater distances to each side of the trail.  There was one small stream that we followed for a short distance but it was finding it difficult to entertain us with its cascades – livelier in the spring perhaps.  We traveled at a slow pace and stopped to regroup often allowing time to remove a layer or two of clothing and to have a snack or drink, not feeling any particular rush to get to the top.  I did hear the occasional “are we there yet” from some unidentified follower – my selective hearing comes in handy on those occasions.  Visiting was in abundance with stories being shared or just catching up and laughter was not in short supply.  Linda provided additional entertainment, sharing her stories of some of her past hiking experiences with me and our three boys.  I don’t know why but most felt her pain.

It was a little over an hour before we came to our first overlook, providing a glimpse of the Bouquet and Champlain Valleys and the Vermont mountains that can be seen farther east. We weren’t high enough to see Lake Champlain, hidden just beyond the mountains that line its western shore on the NY side.  The leaves were certainly changing with large sections in full color, accented nicely by the sun.  Our hike does not lead to a mountain top with a panoramic view; instead it takes us to overlooks that provide views of the surrounding area in different directions, depending on its orientation.  Although it wasn’t time for lunch we did seem to linger, reenergizing with a snack and having a drink – life is good!  After only a short distance a short spur trail led to another beautiful view and again we lingered.  Finally, we were climbing again – this time to the beginning of a series of small ups and downs with overlooks at randomly spaced intervals providing different views of the Bouquet valley, Vermont with Camel’s Hump and its unique profile dominating the skyline – we had reached Blueberry Cobbles!  The trail was surrounded on both sides by the blueberry bushes that certainly influenced the naming of these rocky knolls called the Cobbles.  They were void of their berries and were ready for the long winter that would be all too soon arriving.  We continued along the ridge to the western overlook and lunch – yippy!

From our perch looking W we could see Mason Mtn., Bald Peak and Rocky Peak Ridge and to the SW we could see Dix, Beckhorn, Hough, Grace Peak and East Dix (please correct me on any of those) - due E some of the Green Mtns. with Camel’s Hump easily identified and SE we could make out the communication tower on Belfry but needed binoculars to see its firetower.  Trees were ablaze with color but there remained a lot of green yet – to satisfy visitors next week and maybe beyond.  The sun warmed us while we ate lunch and Sandy’s brownies and Linda’s blueberry cream cake were shared for desert.  During lunch there was some discussion on who would like to continue to Mason Mtn. and Kurt was busy looking at the map to see if he and Kevin would continue to Bald Peak. Finally we got under way with the majority heading for Mason Mtn., Kurt, Kevin and Scott were going to continue to Bald and a few remained at the lunch spot to relax and enjoy the sun.

The trail to Mason Mtn. descends quickly and steeply before climbing again to a couple of overlooks - rewarding to say the least.  The guardians of Blueberry Cobbles could be seen clearly with one of them appearing to be asleep (I will leave you guessing who that person was but his initials are DF).  We wanted to stay longer but it was time to say goodbye to the wandering trio on their quest for Bald Peak and for the rest of us to start back.  Another steep descent but this time the group was able to bypass the Cobbles by taking a spur trail around them while a few of us returned to pick up the group at the lunch spot.

This was an out and back route and our return hike was most enjoyable with more visiting, lots of laughter and a new memory to cherish. 

An epiloge by Kurt, Scott and Kevin:  Following lunch, we three opted to continue on toward Bald Peak and maybe even Rocky Peak Ridge, daylight, food, water and energy permitting.  Bald Peak ended up being the final destination and it was a VERY memorable one.  The trail from Mason to Bald was similar to Pilot Knob in that new and impressive views presented themselves every few minutes and once at the summit of Bald, the views were 360 with spectacular scenes all around, up, down and out. To the east we could easily make out plenty of landmarks from Shelburne Point just south of Burlington all the way south to Buck Mountain, with possibly a glimpse of Lake George.  The great views, a perfect day and plenty of color made our few extra miles a very worthwhile addition to the day.  There was one BIG disadvantage: we didn't get in on the road kill red onions!  All that was left in the parking lot was an as yet untold story of a most unusual pile of onion skins!  To see the very best pictures of our extended trip to Bald Peak, see the photos Kevin (AKA Ansel Adams, Jr.) posted on his Google photo page HERE! Absolutely stunning!

10/8/18 - Rich Zuccaro added 2 photos. 10/9/18 - Barbara Zuccaro added 4 photos. 10/11/18 - Kurt Wisell added 3 photos.

10/11/18 - Kurt Wisell added 12 photos.

10/11/18 - Wanderer . added 11 photos. 10/11/18 - Margie Litwin added 11 photos.

45 photos



“Have Bicycle and Axe – Will Travel” – a new TV series starting soon, starring Steve Mackey



At the trailhead with choices to be made



Nicely decorated Easter egg mushroom – at least that is what I am calling it



Photo added by Joani



Our route was quite "rootacious". Jack, thanks for coining the word. Did I spell it right? - added by Rich



Was this the work of a beaver or a Steve? - added by Rich



Can you locate the toad? - added by Barbara



A Walk in the Woods! - added by Barbara



Sandy & Lenore enjoying the view. - added by Barbara



View of our lunch spot and those who remained behind. - added by Barbara



Barbara: "The last time I saw Kurt, he was right here! Mary: "He must have fallen off the ledge taking yet another selfie! There he is in the trees on the other side of the valley." - added by Kurt



Just enough color and clouds to let you know it's now Fall. - added by Kurt



Joanne's shows her delight to be where she is. Atta girl Joanne! - added by Kurt



Heading from Mason toward Bald, Kevin and Scott getting excited about what we'd seen so far and what appeared to be even better as we continued to climb. - added by Kurt



Our view to the east of Mansfield and Lake Champlain. Blown up, this picture reveals the Essex to Charlotte ferry in the middle of the lake. - added by Kurt



Clusters of color appeared everywhere with views behind them always great. - added by Kurt



Nearing the summit, we had a hunch it would be a quintessential Adirondack experience. - added by Kurt



The "little nugget" is about a quarter mile west of the summit on the ridge leading to a big climb to the top of Rocky Ridge.



Having just been to Giant and Rocky today, this little one at the summit of Bald contemplates the odds of completing her first round of the 46 before her first birthday. - added by Kurt



Sasquatch Scott with Rocky Ridge in the background. - added by Kurt



Scott and Kevin at the summit of Bald. - added by Kurt



Summit view to the southwest. - added by Kurt



A well balanced Adirondack pug nose hedgehog enjoys the late day sun. - added by Kurt



Whiteface in the distance. - added by Kurt



A view souteast-ish. - added by Kurt



Bearded Tooth/Lion’s Mane mushroom - added by Wanderer



Lots of color with a view of the Dix Range in the background /horizon - added by Wanderer



Lunch has started …. - added by Wanderer



…. with everyone spread out on the overlook - added by Wanderer



Scott, Ray and Bob - added by Wanderer



Rocky Peak Ridge (L), Mason Mtn (C foreground) and Bald Mtn (R) - added by Wanderer



View E of the Champlain Valley and the Vermont Mtns in the horizon with Camels Hump dominating - added by Wanderer



Group on Mason Mountain - added by Wanderer



Tell tale signs that the elusive biped beaver has been around. A tall and thin beaver that walks upright, more frequently heard (they are very loud) but seldom seen. They frequent the Adirondack Park clearing blowdown on trails – it’s another inherited trait they have that differentiates them from the normal beaver we all know. - added by Wanderer



Hiking buddies Ray (L) and Bob - added by Wanderer



Even trees need to sit down once in a while - added by Wanderer



Developing slime molds - added by Margie



Chicken of the woods - added by Margie



This fungus looks like an upside down mushroom - added by Margie



We were going to sleep WHERE? I had to WHAT?- tales of raising 3 boys and a spouse. Many years of bliss. - added by Margie



RED oak for sure! - added by Margie



Beware of the trail serpent!! - added by Margie



You were warned!! - added by Margie



Popping out all over! - added by Margie



More fall color to take home- Adirondack roadkill! - added by Margie




Attendees: (total for two groups)

Barbara & Rich, Nancy K, Lynn, Lenore & Jack, Steve, Joanne, Denis, Joani & Dean, Ed, Kurt, Scott, Kevin, Margie, Cathy C, Mary, Ray, Bob (newcomer), Gail, Sandy, Nancy C, Linda & Peter

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