The Crooked Canes Journal

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Chimney Mountain Adventure ~ Jul 6, 2016

Journal entry by Kurt Wisell

Changing an outing day always results in a few folks not being able to attend because of other commitments. This one was no exception and well worth accomodating the change for those able to attend. We had a near perfect day for our 2.8 mile round trip hike at Chimney Mountain with a clear sky punctuated by a few clouds, great visibility, a light breeze most of the time and the temperature close to 10 degrees lower than the forecasted 90.

This is a truly spectacular hike starting at Chimney Mountain Cabins, just under 7 miles (as the crow flies) SSE of the Village of Indian Lake. The trail is almost entirely under canopy all the way, relatively flat at first, moderately pitched in the middle and somewhat steep (but not extreme and with no rock scrambles) for the final third to the spectacular chimney-like geologic structures near the summit. Arriving at the geologic features that the mountain is named for we opted to ignore them for a while as lunch was universally regarded as more important than rocks. We continued along to the summit a short distance away and with only a slight gain in elevation. Considering the day's perfect weather, a large bald summit with nearly 360 degree views of mountains and lakes near and far, we took full advantage of the opportunity to enjoy a very leisurely lunch. Reviews of the Chimney Mountain hike generally fail to adequately point out that even without the mountain's interesting geologic features, including caves, this summit is a "must do" with a huge reward for a short hike.

As we prepared to depart for our geologic exploration and to endure an unplanned adventure, we were joined by a group of camp counsellors and their young charges, all equipped with shiny new orange helmets for their afternoon of caving. One counsellor claimed the helmets were actually blueberry baskets, just in case.

The chimney area on Chimney Mountain is quite special and unique, containing numerous caves, a couple of spires, balanced rocks and rugged jumbled rock. After exploring this area thoroughly, we started our trip down the mountain via a trail that descends about 60 vertical feet, then climbs an adjacent, slightly lower summit passing by a popular cave entrance, before joining the trail we had ascended upon. Soon our progress halted as we undertook a more thorough exploration of nooks and crannys we might have overlooked for someone (whose last name won't be divulged directly but is one derived from a name dating from the period of transition between Roman Gaul and Old Frankish and which translates roughly as "keep leashed when outdoors") who we surmised had become temporarily misplaced but with whom we quickly had oral contact with. It is said that getting to a place is half the fun. Getting to our misplaced friend was a pretty darn good time. Did I mention "rugged jumbled rock"? Add obscure, steep, ill defined trail, thick vegetation with lots of holes to fall in and you get the picture. Poor Barbara, on her first CC outing thought surely she had fallen in with a tribe of barbarians. We found our wayward (former) pal at a cave entrance, entertaining the folks with orange blueberry baskets, now worn on their heads and preparing to become Trogs. Soon on a good trail once more (and with a leash in place) we were treated to one last spectacular overlook before our relaxing, serene trip back to the trail head at Chimney Mountain Cabins. Hint: Don't go down the alternate path following blue blazes from the summit; it's a lot better going in from the main path below the summit, stopping at the first viewpoint (or the first cave), and returning to the main trail.

A really fun and spectacular outing -even if extra adventure isn't included!


THANK YOU FOR COMING ALONG: Barb & Rich, Linda & Peter, Jo Ellen, Margie, Ray, Gail and another Ray (whose last name we won't mention)!

7/8/16 - Barbara Zuccaro added 4 photos.

7/9/16 - Barbara Zuccaro added 3 photos. 7/11/16 - RayB Bouchard added 1 photo. 7/11/16 - RayB Bouchard added 4 photos.

7/29/16 - Wanderer . added 8 photos.

40 photos

Ready To GO!

No, this isn't Rio, it's Chimney Mountain!

Barb & Rich on Barb's first CC adventure. Barb, we hope you'll come back again!

"Okay you guys, here's how to get Pop Tart jam off your lens in the field."

Investigating the geology.

Canes eyeing trolls on an adjacent rock.

Trolls eyeing Canes on an adjacent rock.

Good golly! Yet another troll!

With views like this, Gail's wasn't the only big smile today!

One last view before our final descent.

Gail - added by Barbara

Jo Ellen - added by Barbara

Margie - added by Barbara

Ray - added by Barbara

Margie, Linda & Gail - added by Barbara

Ray - added by Barbara

Kurt and Ray - added by Barbara

Gail, Linda, Jo-Ellen & Margie enjoying some shade on the summit of Chimney Mt. - added by RayB

Orange Hawkweed on the summit. - added by RayB

Interesting mushrooms, but darn if I can ID them. - added by RayB

Kurt has found a kindred spirit in a young spelunker. The "Chimney" rises behind them. The mountain was named after this unique geologic formation. - added by RayB

The first of 3 interesting rock formations. I suspect that gravity will win someday. - added by RayB

Photo added by RayB

Photo added by RayB

The trail snakes around to the right, but I wonder how many youngsters have crawled down into the crevices on the left. - added by RayB

There's the gear, but where is the young lad or lass that goes with it? Not a sound; not a clue. I couldn't even hear Kurt calling "Rayyy, where the h _ _ _ are you?". There was only pure silence. - added by RayB

This is a map found on Page 140 of Barbara McMarten's book entitled "Discover the Adirondacks, 1". It may help the readers orient themselves when reading the trip report. After lunch we returned from the summit, and followed the right trail to the East Wall, descended, and bushwhacked, without the bushes, along the north end of the Rift. We (used somewhat loosely here) then ascended the East Wall as the group made its way south until it rejoined the Blue trail which leads back to the parking lot. - added by RayB

The top of the west wall is in the foreground and you are looking east, across the 150' - 200' deep Rift, at the "Chimney" on the east wall. Note the layered nature of the largely sedimentary rock. The face that you see matches up quite well with that of the west wall. According to McMartin, the 600' long rift was created less than 10,000 years ago, probably when when a cataclysmic event caused a block near the summit to slide down the mountain, and crash into the "Chimney". Read her book for more information regarding the geology of the area. - added by RayB

I suspect this is a White Admiral Butterfly, based on limitations of this picture. - added by RayB

A view of the Chimney Mt. Cabins and the fee based parking area. It is sits to the right of Kings Flow. - added by RayB

Kurt, as he breathes a sigh of relief, and signs us (all) out. Note the Red trail marker showing the way to the Puffer Pond trail. - added by RayB

What do you think, Kurt? Maybe next year we can climb Chimney Mt. then come down and hike to Puffer Pond. I promise, on my sainted mother's grave, that I will not dilly dally taking pictures; I will not let you out of my sight; I will not.... maybe. - added by RayB

Parking lot near trailhead. The land adjacent to the trailhead is privately owned but hikers are allowed to use the parking lot for a small fee. There are cabins for rent if you would like to stay in a remote setting with most conveniences. It is known as The Cabins at Chimney Mountain. - added by Wanderer

Kurt, Rich and Ray on their way up the mountain - added by Wanderer

The "Chimney" from a different angle - added by Wanderer

Westerly view from the chimney side with Round Pond (L) and Snowy Mt on the horizon (R) - added by Wanderer

Ray Boucher taking advantage of one of the stone seats - added by Wanderer

Ray on a tether - perhaps the only sure way of keeping him from wandering off on his own!

A little bit of Kings Flow and The Cabins at Chimney Mountain - added by Wanderer

This is the last known picture of Ray Bouchard on Chimney Mountain. Known by his friends as 'Rondack Ray, he was last seen headed to take "just another picture" when he wandered off from his group. Reports come in on a regular basis to the Stewart's Shop in Indian Lake from hikers seeing a man meeting his description gathering wild mushrooms in the valleys that surround the mountain. They say that he carries a long crooked stick, has a camera around his neck and a HUGE pack on his back. He always has a smile on his face and greets everyone with a friendly wave from a distance. When approached he seems to vanish, like a ghost. Perhaps one day when hiking Chimney Mountain you to will see 'Rondack Ray!

Kurt was being very kind, but I think I had better fess up lest you think ill of Ray Boucher.   I was the one who became separated from the group while navigating the maze of trails in the "Gut".   That's what happens when you lag behind taking pictures.           Ray Bouchard


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