The Crooked Canes Journal

Viewing 28 of 31 - 2018


Hopkins Mtn. Thru Hike ~ May 9, 2018

Journal entry by Wanderer

I love Hopkins Mountain – not the tallest of the mountains in the area but it offers spectacular views from its mostly open, rocky summit. Whether you choose the Ranney Trail or the Mossy Cascade Trail you hike along cascading water for part of the way and when you add some hiking buddies, super nice weather, no bugs, and turn it into a thru hike you really can’t go wrong.

After a short delay, while the shuttle cars were moved to the Rooster Comb parking lot, the fourteen anxious hikers got underway starting from the Mossy Cascade trailhead.  Within a short distance we crossed Crystal Brook, a tributary of the East Branch of the Ausable River and then followed a logging road above the Ausable before beginning to gain some elevation. The trail is steadily steep to the top but there is some distraction from the pain obtained from the soothing nature of the cascades and small waterfalls coming from Mossy Cascade Brook.  Photographers in the group often use the excuse “I was taking pictures” to explain why they are always fighting over who would be the sweep when they are actually just taking a break.   The brook had a good flow to it but was not roaring – indicating that most of the snow and ice from higher on the mountain was most likely gone.  We found ourselves in predominantly a hemlock and pine forest for a good portion of the time along the brook before veering away from it and into more open hardwoods, gaining elevation all the time.  Eventually, we reach the first goal – the intersection with the Ranney Trail coming in from our left – it would take us to the top, in a little less than a mile, and back to our cars on our way down – a good place to take a break!  From here we continue gaining elevation until we reach our second major goal and the sign indicating only .2 miles to go!  It is slightly steeper in this section and we found the last remnants of snow and ice – clinging to life in the ravine.  There were some that had brought their Microspikes but they weren’t required – but they did remind us that they had them just in case.  I forgot to mention that Steve was on the hike but the blowdown on the trail – one particularly nasty birch top that Kurt helped him with, kept him and his double bit axe busy and slowed him up to our speed – thank you guys!

I like to stay behind just before reaching the summit of mountains like Hopkins – to hear the expressions from those seeing the views of the High Peaks and the valleys below – for some it was their first time on Hopkins and no one was disappointed.  The rocky ridge of Hopkins doesn’t explode with views – it offers the views in pieces as you walk along it until you get to the end when you can really appreciate the panorama before you.  There is so much to see - Ausable Lakes Valley with Dial, Nippletop and Sawteeth Mountains, some of the John Brooks Valley with Marcy in the distance. As you looked around, Giant and The Nubble came into view with super views of the Dixes, Noonmark, Rooster Comb and from one overlook - Whiteface.  Finding the perfect lunch spot was the next order of business and we got fairly spread out for what turned into a leisurely one.  Time was spent visiting of course but also trying to identify places you have previously visited or maybe a place that you would like to from the expanse of mountains and valleys in front of us.  Life is good!

What would lunch be without having the Crooked Canes Chorale sing “Happy Birthday” to someone – this time to our newest Cane – Tom, from Lake Placid. With the celebration concluded we headed back, retracing our route to the intersection with the Mossy Cascade Trail – but this time we would bear right and continue our descent on the Ranney Trail.  If you placed the elevation graph of both trails on top of each other they would be nearly identical, including trails alongside brooks with the Ranney Trail following the Hopkins Brook for a good portion of the descent.  Like the Mossy Cascade Brook the Hopkins Brook had cascades and small waterfalls with an incredible number of photographic opportunities but perhaps more pictures were taken of Mossy Cascade because we were headed up and took those opportunities to rest a little – nevertheless the brook was lovely and maybe the next time we will hike the route in reverse.  The last half mile follows private access roads to camps and seasonal homes in the area and is an easy walk – a welcomed end to a terrific adventure.  See you next time.

5/14/18 - Diane Wisell added 1 photo. 5/16/18 - Bob G added 1 photo.

5/19/18 - Wanderer . added 13 photos.

18 photos

View of the Ausable Lakes Valley with some of the High Peaks in view

Kurt and Scott at lunch - nice caps guys! It's often said that people who shop together hike together.

Lovely Hopkins Brook near the end of our adventure.

Plenty of waterfalls today! - added by Diane

Panoramic view from the summit of Hopkins - added by Bob G

One of the many cascades on Mossy Cascade Brook - added by Wanderer

Water obstacle – Tim making it look easy - added by Wanderer

Less than a mile to go! (DEC has a spelling problem) - added by Wanderer

Fran and Lynn on their way up with Diane not far behind – passing the last of the snow and ice of the season - added by Wanderer

Diane, Lynn and Tim reaching the summit ridge – super views in all directions - added by Wanderer

Side view of Giant Mtn. - added by Wanderer

View SW – Dix Range, Dial, Nippletop and Colvin Mtns. - added by Wanderer

View W – Algonquin (L) to Big Slide (R) with Rooster Comb (bottom L) - added by Wanderer

View of Whiteface – 15 miles NW - added by Wanderer

View SW – Great Range with Mt. Marcy showing its snow covered top – far R - added by Wanderer

Lunch on the open rock summit of Hopkins Mtn. - added by Wanderer

Close-up of Rooster Comb and Big Slide Mtns. - added by Wanderer

Headed down – Margie leading a group over Hopkins Brook - added by Wanderer


Barbara, Bob, Diane & Kurt, Scott, Margie, Lynn, Fran, Jo-Ellen, Steve, Gail, Tom, Tim, Peter

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