The Crooked Canes Journal


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Barton High Cliffs Bushwhack ~ Oct 20, 2014

Journal entry by Wanderer



With three of my four bonus outings behind me the pressure was on to have a successful hike to Barton High Cliffs. Originally scheduled for the 21st, Mother Nature suggested that I move it up a day for better weather. She was right - the weather was perfect and all I had to do was get the eleven team members to the cliffs and out safely before dark. As with most bushwhacks, it is often more difficult to stick with the original plan than on a hike with marked trails - but this trip worked out pretty well. Of the eleven members, only three had visited the cliffs before and some had never gone on a bushwhack. A bushwhack is defined as "travel through woods by clearing a path through thick woods by cutting down bushes and low tree branches." Not my idea of fun and although I did bring my clippers to cut branches I much preferred to avoid any obstacles by taking a zigzagging route. Maybe this was the reason that by the end of the day my estimate of 4 miles was slightly exceeded (ha-ha!). Kurt liked the idea of zigzagging, as he could often be seen meandering ahead of the group and members from the group commenting - "who should we follow?" For much of the route we were in mature forest, able to see great distances and free to take whatever route we wanted. The sections of hemlock groves were particularly nice - eerie in some ways, encouraging silent travel. However, cliffs are usually at the top of mountains and we eventually had to gain elevation. The terrain where the cliffs are located is rough to say the least with blowdowns, boulders hidden by leaves, hobblebush and short spruce trees - all making travel slow. Eventually, we made it to the top of the promised cliffs and our reward of expansive views. To the west were views of the western part of Brant Lake and the Brothers; looking to the NW, the rocky cliffs of Stevens Mt.; and looking north, one of the two Barton Mts. in the area. Looking down was difficult since the cliffs are shear and it was only possible to see how steep, by looking at another overlook along the edge from a distance. As we travelled easterly along the cliffs to other vantage points, more distant mountains came into view as well as Wintergreen Lake. It was past noon so we found our nests along the ridge and enjoyed the experience of being on top of these secluded cliffs. Surprisingly, there was still a lot of color in places but we could tell that we were past peak and these cliffs and the surrounding hills would soon be under a blanket of white. I promised that this would be a loop hike with views of the cliffs from below, so we packed up and headed down - and down we went! The route down is much steeper than the one that took us up and it contained even more of the obstacles I mentioned earlier. Somehow we all managed to make it to the gorge that would take us through or parallel to the talus fields along the base of the cliffs. As we traveled SW in the gorge there were many viewpoints from which different sections of these immense cliffs could be seen - all with different levels of the "wow" factor. It was too bad that time would not allow us to explore some of the talus field - there were boulders and rocks that had calved off the cliffs as big as small houses - many cave-like depressions and too many nooks and crannies to mention - another time for that. Once out of the gorge we were free to set a bee-line to our cars but that was still close to two miles away with a few wet areas to cross and swamps to go around. We all made it through, tired but proud of ourselves that we visited a place that many people never see. I am sure that it will take some time for everyone to forget about the tough times each had to endure but that will pass and only fond memories of the adventure will be remembered - at least that is what I hope. I think Margie summed it up best when she came over to me at the end of the day and said "Thanks for a wonderful hike Peter .....   I think."  Kurt broke the news that my estimate of a 700' gain was off slightly and that the actual accumulated gain was 1,800" - a reminder that I need to do my research on future hikes. The ride back was much different than the one in the morning - much quieter and a lot more yawning. Peter 10/24/14 - Diane Wisell added 8 photos. 11/2/14 - Wanderer . added 15 photos.

23 photos



A rather interesting birch burl. - added by Diane



The first of a number of interesting fungi. - added by Diane



Beautiful woods! - added by Diane



Angel Butter. Not sure if the name is due to how pretty this is or what you become if you eat it! - added by Diane



In the midst of this beautiful scenery from the top of Barton High Cliff, our host Peter discusses stock options and hog belly futures with Barbara. - added by Diane



Sir Thomas - added by Diane



Mid October is certainly an odd time of year for Hobble Brush to flower. Does it signify an early spring? - added by Diane



A distant shot, zoomed WAY in, of a raven's nest mid way up the cliff. - added by Diane



Where's the trail? - added by Wanderer



Still some color remaining - added by Wanderer



From one of the perches - Rocky cliffs of Stevens Mt. in view - added by Wanderer



Jim R - Life is good! - added by Wanderer



Looking NE along the cliffs - added by Wanderer



Lunch on the cliffs - added by Wanderer



Looking down into the gorge - added by Wanderer



Part of the 1/4 mile long cliffs - added by Wanderer



Massive granite - added by Wanderer



Looking west - Brant Lake, 1st and 2nd Brothers - added by Wanderer



View from the gorge - added by Wanderer



More of the cliffs - added by Wanderer



Talus field below the cliffs - added by Wanderer



Who says you need soil to thrive? - added by Wanderer



Join us next time! - added by Wanderer




Thanks to Margie, Diane & Kurt, Barbara Drake, Claire, Jim R., Tom, Barbara Blum, Karen Burka, Lynn for joining me on a super outing. Peter

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