The Crooked Canes Journal


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Cat-Thomas Combo Hike ~ Dec 10, 2015

Journal entry by Wanderer



Monitoring the weather forecast has always been frustrating, especially when they waffle from a good forecast to one containing rain and back again. While Thursday's forecast wasn't the best it was acceptable and we stuck with it. What I didn't expect was to arrive at the WCMC and see that over twenty people had arrived for the hike and I was aware of more waiting at three other locations. The sheer number of participants, having two separate hikes and the fact that many had post-hike plans made it difficult to plan for cars to be dropped off for the thru hikers - I think Lynn said it best of the scene at the WCMC - "like herding cats." Despite all of this everything went well and we all eventually made it to the Edgecomb Pond trailhead. Tom was prepared with his mechanical "hiker" counter and despite my effort to distract him about people walking behind him he got it right at twenty-nine - twelve Cat-only and seventeen Cat-Thomas thru hikers! I like thru hikes because they guarantee that you don't repeat the route but in this case we had a large group going out and back to Cat only so I guess we had the best of both worlds. For many, this was their first time starting at the Edgecomb Pond trailhead and for some, the first time to Cat Mt. As we walked around the pond, the reservoir for the Bolton water district, I couldn't help notice that the surface of the water was completely still and regardless of where you looked the reflections of the surrounding shore were mirror images and added beauty to the snowless terrain. The first three-quarters of a mile is a pleasant, nearly level walk on an old tote road which intersects the trail to the Thomas Mt parking lot and the official trail to the summit of Cat Mt. We regrouped at the intersection before beginning the steady climb along a logging road and then followed a couple of rerouted sections to the top. Along the way there were a few large sections of Caribou Moss (lichen) that was still grayish-white and pliable - very unusual for this late in the season. Mosses were abundant along the trail and on rocks and their deep green color was in stark contrast to their either brown or grey backgrounds. Kurt was thrilled that some of the rocks were covered with one of his favorite trailside snacks - Rock Tripe. If you are near him when he has a handful he will insist that your try it - humor him - politely put some in your mouth, pretend you are chewing it and then spit it out when he isn't looking or just tell him you just had some and had your limit. As we arrived on the summit we spread out, each seeking the perfect perch and enjoyed the view. The sky was mostly cloudy and eerie in some ways, with dark clouds battling the sun for dominance - a draw I guess depending on which direction you looked. The distant mountains were silhouetted against the sky, and it looked as if smoke filled their valleys. Views of Lake George were obscured with clouds and mist. You could make out some of the islands and other notable features but not good for pictures. The temperature was warm - perhaps in the fifties and some, well - maybe just one, unzipped his leggings and finished the hike in shorts. This stop was intended as lunch for the Cat-only hikers but both groups lingered and visited, taking advantage of the relaxed atmosphere. After an extended period of time both groups packed up and decided to depart - the Cat-only hikers back to the Edgecomb trailhead and a short hiking day and the thru hikers on the traverse to Thomas Mt. Since I was one of the thru hikers I will have to rely on a couple of reports that the Cat-only hikers had a great return trip. Without wasting time the thru hikers were on their way - taking the Richard Hayes Phillip Trail for the ~2.3 mile traverse to Thomas Mt. More challenging than the rest of the trails in the Cat-Thomas preserve this trail generally follows an undulating ridge to Thomas Mt thru beautiful woods and nice views of the surrounding valleys. The group had spread out quite a bit and at the intersection of the trail to the Thomas Mt cabin there was some difference of opinion whether to visit the "view" or continue the short distance to the cabin where some of the group had already taken up residence. A small group continued towards the view but turned back to regroup with everyone at the cabin, had a long snack break and then everyone continued along the two Brothers Trail to the Thomas Mt parking lot. It turned out to be a long hiking day but we finished well before dark and those that wanted to attend the Lake George Land Conservancy open house were able to do so while the rest shuttled drivers to their cars at Edgecomb Pond and back home. A wonderful hike - thank you all for attending. Peter 12/13/15 - RayB Bouchard added 8 photos. 12/13/15 - Diane Wisell added 5 photos. 12/17/15 - Wanderer . added 17 photos.

30 photos



The distant shoreline of Edgecomb Pond - added by RayB



Reflections - added by RayB



Just a few of the plants I found in a very healthy looking patch of one of our native orchids known as Rattlesnake Plantain. - added by RayB



The remains of a Downy Rattlesnake Plantain flower stalk as viewed on Dec. 10. It appears to be dead, but I suspect there are viable seeds in the dried up blossoms. - added by RayB



This is what the blossoms would have looked like around the middle of August. You might be able to see the fine hairs on the stalk, hence the name Downy Rattlesnake Plantain. - added by RayB



Looking south from Cat Mt. The combination of mist and filtered sunlight created a landscape that seemed surreal. - added by RayB



Kurt is busy gathering a lichen known as Rock Tripe for his evening meal. OK Diane, I'm curious, just how do YOU prepare this dish, or does the phrase "his meal" tell it all :-) ? - added by RayB



Who said global warming isn't real? Would you believe shorts on December 10th in the southern Adirondacks? Just remember folks, you saw it here first. I do believe Peter had the right idea. I was certainly sweatin' up a storm in my Polypro tops and bottoms. - added by RayB



f - added by Diane



Beavers business half way up Cat. - added by Diane



Ray catches up with an old friend. - added by Diane



This nest is within two feet of the trail and only a foot or so above the ground. - added by Diane



Marianne must be off playing golf somewhere. - added by Diane



Sir Thomas with his "hiker" counter - added by Wanderer



Water crossing near the start - added by Wanderer



At the top of Cat Mt - added by Wanderer



Jan & Jim, Jack & Lenore and Barbara - added by Wanderer



Too many to name - added by Wanderer



The battle is on! - added by Wanderer



Caribou Moss (lichen) - not quite ready for a long winter's nap - added by Wanderer



Crane Mt from the "View" - added by Wanderer



Hi Lynn! - added by Wanderer



A decorated cairn - added by Wanderer



Our trail - hard to believe that it is December 10th - added by Wanderer



Thomas Mt Cabin from across a valley - added by Wanderer



Bottleneck - added by Wanderer



Katie and Ray on a switchback - added by Wanderer



Kurt in deep thought - added by Wanderer



Gaining ground quickly - added by Wanderer



View south from the Cabin - added by Wanderer




This outing was well attended and consisted of the Cat only hikers (A-team) and the thru hikers - completing the traverse to Thomas Mt. Cat Mt hikers: Linda F, Tom, Don, Linda P, Gail, Ed, Sandy and Bob Powell, Nancy, Donna and Peter, Cathy C Thru hikers: Diane and Kurt, Lenore and Jack, Judy, Joy M, Sam, Ray Bouchard, Barbara, Lynn, Margie, Katie, Shelly and Larry, Jan and Jim Great hike(s) and thanks to all! - Peter

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