The Crooked Canes Journal


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Cascade Mountain ~ Oct 6, 2014

Journal entry by Peter for Tom



With my 2014 Fall Foliage Tour well underway Tom caught me off guard when he asked if I would send out an email announcing a bonus hike to Cascade Mountain. This hike hasn't been offered as a regular Canes outing as far as I could tell and only a couple of times as a bonus hike, but I certainly couldn't refuse his request. At nearly 4,100' it qualifies as one of Adirondack Forty-Sixers and considered by some the easiest to climb. It certainly is the most accessible and most frequently climbed of the High Peaks but I wouldn't call it easy, with a gain of nearly 2,000' in the 2.4 mile trail. Out with the email I went and to my surprise Tom had 10 takers! We gathered at the WCMC and were able to fit everyone in two cars for the 1+ hour drive to the trailhead, just beyond the Cascade Lakes. Despite being a Monday the parking areas were full - doesn't anyone work anymore? We squeezed in where we could and were off on another adventure. The leaves were in there prime colors, some a little past peak, but all in all a great day to be hiking. It was cool and most everyone was bundled up, but the sun was uplifting - something we needed to counter the effort of the climb. For some reason I was feeling very good and pretended I was Don - leaving the group behind to meet up with them at the Cascade/Porter junction. Don't worry - I didn't abandon them - I received periodic reports from the hikers that passed them and when I asked if they had seen them they said - Yes - you must mean the happy group.  All together once again we made sure we had are wind shells on since everyone coming down from the summit reported gusty winds. Once above treeline the wind picked up but there was too much to see to worry about being blown off the mountain. Although the route is marked by paint blazes on the rock they are only suggestions and you are free to choose your own route. However, it seems everyone eventually congregated around the crux of the climb - a steep pitch without any handholds - now referred to as the "Hillary Step" by our team. [For those of you who are wondering what the Hillary Step is - it is the crux of climbing Mount Everest.] With a little help from one another, everyone was up and on the way to the summit with spectacular views in all directions as their reward with the High Peaks dominating. As sometimes happens in the mountains, dark clouds appeared without warning, the wind really began to pick up and we hurried to find a sheltered spot for lunch. We thought we found one but it too was exposed and the decision was made to retreat to below treeline - but not until the customary group picture was taken. We also took time to take a picture or two of four of our team who had just hiked their first High Peak - only 45 more to go to become official 46ers - congratulations to Barbara, Joanne, Kurt and Eric! With pictures done we did a quick retreat to a windless overlook below treeline for a leisurely lunch and then continued on the long descent back to the parking area. Still early, some took the time to check out Stagecoach Rock (see the epilogue for details) and then for an ice cream break at the Stewart's in Keene. Thank you Tom for offering this wonderful bonus outing - I am sure Kurt & Diane, Don, Jim R, Barbara, Joanne, Eric, Nancy would agree that it was a wonderful hike - I know I loved it. Peter for Tom 10/23/14 - Wanderer . added 2 photos.

15 photos



All bundled up at the start



Nancy getting ready to remove a layer of clothes



Cascade Trail



Well worn path



The Junction



Treeline



Pitchoff Ridge (foreground) with Whiteface dominating



Rt 73 parking area



Summit Team - a bit windy!



First High Peak



High Peaks - clouds and wind have arrived



L to R - Marcy, Colden, Algonquin (horizon) with Big Slide - far left in the foreground



Lunch in a sheltered area well below treeline - great views!



Blue skies have returned - view from Stagecoach Rock



Stagecoach Rock




Stagecoach Rock A little known monument between Lake Placid and Keene commemorates the passing of the day of the stagecoach in the Adirondacks. Some 4.6 miles east of Heart Lake Road is a boulder at the pull off on the north side of Rt. 73. Carved into the large rock are a stagecoach, team, and driver. From 1855 to 1890, the stagecoach was the primary means of public conveyance in the mountains. The main stations were Elizabethtown, Keeseville, Ausable Forks, and North Creek. From these locations, routes spread out through the North Country to interior towns and resort hotels. For 15 years, Fred Cook drove 6 horses over the treacherous Spruce Hill Road from Elizabethtown. "Fitch" Obrien hauled passengers up through the much feared Wilmington Notch. Ike Roblee headed up to Blue Mountain and Long Lake from North Creek. Dozens of other skilled drivers safely carried their charges through the woods until the "iron horse" and "horseless carriage" put them to pasture. One day in the 1930's, Donald Rogers, a district engineer working on the highways, was at work when a large boulder fell to the roadside off Pitchoff Mountain. Thinking it too nice to simply push aside, he had the forethought to see a use for it. Eventually Louis Brown of Carnes Granite Co. Inc., made a sketch and Wilfred Carnes sandblasted the outline of the stagecoach and team onto the boulder. It is a fitting tribute from the highway department to a mode of transportation of another era.

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