The Crooked Canes Journal


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Cook Mt. hike and waterfall visit ~ Dec 13, 2018

Journal entry by Jack Whitney and Margie Litwin



This chilly winter morning, 15 Canes headed North from various directions to the Ticonderoga area. The 194 acres of Cook Mountain constitute one of the many preserves of the Lake George Land Conservancy, an important protected watershed property. Gray skies were only briefly brightened by weak, hazy sun. Not to be deterred, the group headed out across the flatlands, now reverting from a moist area of former beaver works to its wooded state. The cold had firmed up what can be a very muddy area, allowing ease of travel with microspikes. Passing through a growth of stiff green single stems of scouring rushes, we began to warm with the gentle incline through oaks and beeches, where a thriving maple and apple orchard once stood. After regrouping at the intersection with the red trail, up we went (yes, up-over 600 feet in elevation in the next half mile). Over roots, rocks and leathery, snow-dusted leaves hiding a few icy patches to negotiate, we could glance back to see our quick progress above the trailhead.

As the path leveled a bit, the footing changed with more stony ledges to navigate, along with some frozen snowpack. The trees were more sparse at the summit clearing, but did obscure much of the views. Progressing onto the trail to the right led to our lunch destination providing a sweeping vista east and south over Lake George. With no appreciable breeze, our edibles and thermoses emerged, which, along with lively conversation and cozy seatpads, made for a most enjoyable leisurely break. 

Retracing our steps, we headed back to a short loop trail for an overlook of Ticonderoga. THE outlet of Lake George (no, not the shopping strip in Queensbury!) flows into the LaChute River, which drops over 200 feet in elevation before emptying into Lake Champlain. The far peaks of Vermont lay beyond in the haze. Bits of area historical information were exchanged throughout the day, noting key events of the French and Indian War and Revolutionary times. Also, in our chatting were warm thoughts of those of the Canes now facing various challenges and unable to be with us.

Heading back down the trail required caution with footing, but all remained upright. We stopped to observe Steve's impressive progress in combatting a fallen oak with his, perhaps less than mightly, new ax handle. A brief side trip led to the solitary marked gravestone of young Stephen, last name illegibly weather-worn, now nestled in the wooded hillside. Long lines of stone walls held a history of the past toil of eking out working farmland from the rocky slopes. Fruit from this 19th century orchard of George Delano was shipped to NYC. A rail line of the Delaware and Hudson had traversed the lower portion of the property. Now a few deer and passing hikers populate this hill.

Having completed the hike just after 2:00, we said goodbyes to a few, then headed west for a short postcript. With advance permission, we were fortunate to visit a privately owned waterfall in full icy winter glory. The short snowy path showed frozen tracks of only a lone deer along the well-filled lively brook. A stop at the nearby lakeside view was a satisfying end to another rewarding Canes day, answering the oft-heard question "why do you go outside on such a cold, gloomy day?!" It makes the daylight of December so much brighter!!

12/14/18 - Diane Wisell added 8 photos.

12/14/18 - Ed Valla added 3 photos. 12/15/18 - Wanderer . added 12 photos.

31 photos



Bundled up and ready to go.



Katie gets a gold star for furthest from home. When you see her, ask how she spends the days after Christmas!



With her knowledge of the area, Sandy points south, identifying landmarks to first-time Cook Mt. visitor Eric, along with Peter.



The ultimate one-man trail crew!



Just a bit of fresh snow.



Ti's Tarzan!!!



Rich offers up an "air toast" to Barbara who opted for an indoor lunch this day.



Beech tree art. Not so nice for the tree, but this beats most of what is generally seen. - added by Diane



Ed, Eric and Sandy eyeballing Jayne's container of chips. - added by Diane



Sandy summits! - added by Diane



Ice on Lake Champlain. - added by Diane



Just below the dam at the north end of Lake George and the beginning of the La Chute River. - added by Diane



Nice ice below the dam. - added by Diane



Another falls, just below the one shown above. - added by Diane



The final falls before Lake Champlain. From the dam at the north end of Lake George, elev. 320 ft., the La Chute flows 1.5 miles, passing over four dams and through an old one as it drops a generally turbulent 224 ft. to a pool (elev. 96 feet) in downtown Ticonderoga from where, on a few outings, we have paddled the two miles of flat water to Lake Champlain, elevation 94' and from there north two miles to the Ticonderoga Ferry landing. - added by Diane



Which one do we choose? – let’s do both! - added by Ed



Lunch at Lakeview - added by Ed



East from Vermont View – Town of Ticonderoga nestled between Lake Champlain (L) and Lake George (R) - added by Ed



The leaders, Margie and Jack, signing in - added by Wanderer



Re-grouping immediately before the climb begins - added by Wanderer



Sign at the beginning of the climb - added by Wanderer



The “up” part with Licia in the lead – she told me that she prefers the climbing part over the flat sections and you know that I never lie! - added by Wanderer



Rogers Rock – the obstructed and only type of view. I bet Steve, the axeman, could remedy that if allowed! - added by Wanderer



Our group gathered at Vermont View …. - added by Wanderer



…. looking E with the southern end of Lake Champlain visible (frozen) and the northern end of Lake George (unfrozen, center) and Mount Defiance in-between the two - added by Wanderer



The sole gravestone at the cemetery at the base of Cook Mountain - added by Wanderer



Ice formations on Pyramid Brook - added by Wanderer



More of Mother Nature’s creations - added by Wanderer



The waterfall on Pyramid Brook - added by Wanderer



View of Bear Mountain from the shore of Pyramid Lake with a glimpse of Pharaoh Mtn. to the right of its cliffs - added by Wanderer



Diane, Jack and Linda enjoying the view of Lake Champlain and Ticonderoga.




Attendees: Peter and Linda, Kurt and Diane, Sandy, Ray Boucher, Jayne, Steve and Licia, Eric, Ed, Rich, Katie, Jack and Margie

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