The Crooked Canes Journal


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Pitchoff Ridge Hike ~ Oct 4, 2016

Journal entry by Ghost Writer For Mr. Fedorick



The lead up to this first two day portion of P3FT, with weather forecasts that changed by the minute, had Peter scratching his head and doing a jig as he attempted to make it all work for the most people who had expressed their interest in coming along. In the process he once again fell into the roll of Saint Peter as it could not have worked out better with a VERY special weather day for our hike on Pitchoff Ridge. Assured of a sunny, beautiful tomorrow seven Crooked Canes tucked themselves into bed and dreamed about a glorious trip to Pitchoff Ridge only to wake up to fog, mist and drizzle. But the forecast said it would get nicer ... sometime. Upon arrival at the trail head, spotting a car at the far end of our through hike and finally getting on the trail, we saw the forecast as "gloomy, with the threat of spectacular" and that is exactly how the day went. Excepting only one of the many great views this five mile ridge affords we saw foliage at its very finest while clouds eventually lost a day long tug-of-war with the sun.

A clear view of Pitchoff's balancing rocks from the Cascade/Porter trail head elicited high anticipation that grandeur might follow - in spite of high humidity and potential yuk. As we made our way up the steep trail to the spur leading to the balancing rocks amid mist, fog and clouds the occasional warm light of a low sun through brightly colored leaves kept our optimism alive. Though the mile-ish long, moderately steep climb through, over and around modestly wet rock and earth was sometimes a bit interesting, as we turned off the main trail the threat of spectacular became ominous as thinning clouds danced beside and above us mingling with bright sun. The drama in the sky continued, improving all the time, for the climax timed to coincide with our arrival at the balancing rocks. What views! A perfect cloudless day could not compete with the views we had which varied by the second as the atmospheric waltz continued until it was time for us to continue along the ridge.

Clouds surrounded us, occassionally and with stealth accompanied us through the woods as we passed the essentially viewless (unless you climb up on a very large boulder) top of Pitchoff Mountain headed for the summit of kaknobber #3 and a grand lookout chosen as our lunch spot. Magically, we found sun at our lunch spot along with ever changing views amid clouds and sun and we lingered, enjoying the show. And then it was Onward Ho! to get our pants good and dirty butt sliding over smooth ledges made slippery by the day's dampness.

The contrast of black dirt on khaki pants and a damp final circumstance of the muddy britches became the basis for traveling hilarity at "somebody's" expense for the rest of the day, all the way home and beyond. Good clean fun. There soon came a point where the possibility of getting a little dirty was ignored in favor of a bit of "mechanical assistance," aiding descent over one section of smooth slippery ledge then becoming somewhat more comforting as we slithered over another. With that excitement over, we moved on and soon a view of the final "We're going up THAT?" kaknobber came into view. Fortunately, that final climb was pretty easy with the exception of one itty bitty fissure where one learns why cows don't like to cross cattle guards and we were well rewarded with a final dose of terrrific views on that smooth summit with its large slabs and domes of granite amid the clouds and sun still struggling for dominance.

A short but steep and bony mile later, we found ourselves back at Route 73 after a robust 5 mile day with a whole lot of new and wonderful memories plus a story or two to keep us amused long after the day was done. Especially the story of that previously mentioned "damp final circumstance."

Great fun for this Ghost Writer to be with Gail, Cathy, Barbara, Diane, Scott, Kurt and Peter who are the greatest folks to have been on this outing with.

10/9/16 - Scott Anderson added 17 photos. 10/20/16 - Barbara Wyeth Drake added 1 photo.

11/21/16 - Wanderer . added 14 photos.

43 photos



"But! But! But! You said it was five miles, NOT 45!" Don't you just hate it when your decimal point falls off?



Light filtered through clouds and bright foliage above saturated everything with color.



This rock and the rock resting on it do not appear to be held in place by too much. The trail is just to the right. Walk fast there.



Oh yeah, this is what we came for! Approaching the balancing rocks. They are clearly visible from the Cascade trail head on Rt. 73 as well.



Gail, enjoying life on the edge.



From Pitchoff, it is often possible to see Martians at the top of Cascade, also enjoying life on the edge.



Lunch! Peter attempts to trade pop tarts for humus with Cathy. Gail and Barbara look away in disgust.



Photo by Ghost



Peter, while laughing uncontrollably, provides sincere and comforting words to everyone as they learn why cows hate cattle guards.



Summit flora.



A parting view before our descent of from where we had come.



Kurt at the trailhead and ready to go! - added by Scott



Admiring the leaves. - added by Scott



The weather breaking at the perfect time. - added by Scott



Barbara strolling the ridge. - added by Scott



The "Balanced Rocks" area. - added by Scott



Balanced Rocks area. - added by Scott



Peak colors framed by rock and sky. - added by Scott



The weather closing back in. - added by Scott



The entire group, sans me. - added by Scott



The Canes are stepping up their game...with ropes. Barbara descending.. - added by Scott



Lemmings gathering at the top for the plunge... - added by Scott



Down, down and down. - added by Scott



Gail is finding this very entertaining. - added by Scott



Glad Kurt brought his rope! All the rock was very slick. - added by Scott



I was not the only one crawling...so there! - added by Scott



Kurt getting in another photo before the clouds close in again. Overall, the lighting was excellent. - added by Scott



One of the Pitchoff Ridge peaks, from the road. Overall, a super hike. Thank you Pete and Kurt! - added by Scott



Reminiscent of a famous painting, this is "Diane's World" - added by Barbara Wyeth Drake



Off we go! - added by Wanderer



Cascade Mt capped in clouds with Cascade Lakes below - added by Wanderer



Balancing Rocks with Mt Van Hoevenberg bobsled run to the right - added by Wanderer



Cascade Mt clear of clouds for the moment - added by Wanderer



Mt Van Hoevenberg bobsled-luge complex from Balancing Rocks - added by Wanderer



Perch with a view - L to R - Diane, Barbara, Gail, Cathy - added by Wanderer



Old Man's Beard Lichen on dead trees - added by Wanderer



On belay! - added by Wanderer



Off belay! - added by Wanderer



Barbara on the trail - added by Wanderer



Cascade Mt from the ridge looking back (in the clouds again) - added by Wanderer



Scott can't believe he is on the trail - added by Wanderer



Our final kaknober ahead - added by Wanderer



The End - added by Wanderer



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