The Crooked Canes Journal


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Giant's Nubble and More ~ Sep 27, 2012

Journal entry by Wanderer



A couple of weeks ago I had commented in one of my trip reports that I prefer some clouds when there is nothing but blue sky – not too many but enough to add some contrast to views. My request must have been heard and sure enough we had just the right amount added today to make it the ideal day for a fall hike in the Adirondacks. Most of the twelve hikers met at the WCMC with only minor grumblings about the 8:15 meet-up time and we were soon on our way to the trailhead to meet Eric, and Donna & Peter Wood.

Clouds were abundant for most of the drive but I was confident that the day would be mostly sunny and by the time we reached the Chapel Pond trailhead only light and “poofy” clouds dotted the otherwise blue sky. We dropped off a car at the Roaring Brook Falls TH for our shuttle at the end of the day and off we went for the planned four mile thru hike. The first few minutes led some to believe that it wasn’t going be as steep as I had indicated in my hike description but everyone soon realized that there was plenty of up to suit anyone’s desires. There were a few short level spots but it was pretty much uphill until we reached the Washbowl where we were able to take in the views of the pond before going up to the intersection with the trail to the Nubble. From there we still gained elevation but at a more moderate rate and were treated with glimpses of views of the mountains to our west and the Washbowl below thru the trees or from strategically positioned overlooks. It wasn’t long before we had reached the first potential lunch spot with panoramic views but we continued onward for a short distance to the actual summit of the Nubble. (For those of you who are wondering what the Nubble is – it is a rock outcropping on the southwestern slope of Giant Mt. with outstanding views.)

The views were spectacular with many areas reaching their peak colors but don’t be alarmed if you couldn’t make the hike - there are still a couple of good weeks ahead for leaf peepers. After all the “oohs” and “wows” everyone claimed their seats on the bare rock and settled down for lunch and more visiting. There were the usual attempts to identify the mountains from our perch but there were so many of them that we only named the most well known - much of the Great Range, some of the Dix Range, Whiteface, the Killington area of Vt., and of course the cirque of Giant in back of us. It was cool and with the light breeze most elected to put on jackets or wrap themselves in plastic ponchos or bags. Jim began emptying his pack with some goodies to share – sure he had his normal selection of flashlights and Velcro but he also brought most of the contents of the snack aisle form Trader Joe’s – pistachios, mango, apple, banana and five-fruit slices, gorp, plus extra sandwiches if anyone was still hungry. What a guy! We had arrived before noon and could have stayed longer but there was still the long descent and Roaring Brook Falls was still on the agenda so we said goodbye to our temporary roost and were on our way.

If everyone thought the ascent was steep they were certainly not happy with the descent – with more than 350’ greater loss in elevation than going up and, except for a short moderate section, was continuously down! Thank goodness that there were lots of leaves on the trees so that we could concentrate where are feet should be placed rather than be tempted to gain another glimpse of a distant mountain view. The pace was slow and afforded those in the back time to admire the surrounding forest, sort of like being forced to “stop to smell the roses.” We crossed the upper part of Roaring Brook and hoped that we were nearing the top of the falls but then hiked away from it for a long while until we finally reached a side trail that would bring us to the actual top – which most of us have seen many times from the roadside pull- off or from our cars. For most, this was their first time at the top of the falls and the timing couldn’t have been better since the rain from the night before brought back life to the famous falls. We lingered here for quite a while, taking pictures from all angles and in awe of Mother Nature’s beauty and realizing just how lucky we were. We could see the steady stream of cars pulling into and out of the pull-off far below, the visitors taking pictures of the falls and knew that we would be part of the photos to be seen by their friends and family - dots of colors perched on the falls precipice. As always, the moment had to end and we were on our way for the final part of the hike - - well almost.

Time was still on our side when we reached the flat area before the parking lot and caused a dilemma – should we all hike the ¼ mile to the base of the falls or should we retrieve the cars. Eric had a previous commitment and his car was at the other TH and I would further complicate matters by offering a hike to Belfry Fire Tower in nearby Mineville so we decided to retrieve the cars. Upon return I made the decision to take Tom, Karen and Joanne to the fire tower while Ray, Lenore & Jack, Jo-Ellen and Jim visited the base of the falls.

Peter

Belfry Fire Tower

Not many people have heard of Belfry Fire Tower – perhaps those that are trying to complete the ADK Fire Tower Challenge and those that found out about it by word of mouth. Regardless, it is by far the easiest one to climb but it is somewhat out of the way – reached by a 9 mile, winding road to the hamlet of Mineville, due east of exit 30 of the Northway. It is only a 10 minute hike along a gravel road to its 1,720’ base but from the higher levels or the cab it offers outstanding views of the Champlain Valley with the Green Mountains of Vermont to the east and nice views of the Dix and Great ranges. While Tom and I had visited it before it was a treat for both Karen and Joanne to end the day with more outstanding views and return with memories of another CC adventure.

Base of Roaring Brook Falls

JoEllen, Jim, Ray, and Jack explored the banks of Roaring Brook while waiting for Lenore to return with the car. Last year’s storms had scoured the stream bed and tossed rocks and trees about. When Lenore got back we hiked about 1/4 mile on an easy trail to the falls. We crossed the brook on some boulders and climbed a short distance to face the falls. The falls rushes down a long, narrow slot, then splashes on rock to form another falls. Photographing the upper and lower slot and the final falls required some climbing and challenging positioning, but feeling the spray on your face and the roar in your ears was thrilling.

10/14/12 - Ray Bouchard added 7 photos.

31 photos



Group at Chapel Pond Trailhead



Picking the Way Through



Rest Stop at One of the Level Parts of the Trail



first Glimpse From One of the Overlooks



Paddler on Chapel Pond



Beaver Activity Up High - Too Shallow to be Permanent



Crossing Part of the Washbowl



View of the Washbowl



Washbowl and Chapel Pond Slabs



View Looking NW



Whiteface



Just Another Nice View - "Teeth" of Sawteeth



Giant Mt.



Lunchbreak



Cascade Above the Falls



Scramble Above the Falls



Lenore and Ray at the Brink



Noonmark Mt. From the Top of the Falls



Do you think Tom is having fun? Of course he is - he's wearing his signature jacket. Don't tell Marianne - she thinks he threw it away.



It is hard to believe that this is the beginning of the falls.



View from Belfry Firetower - looking north at Dix and the Great Range



Don't step back, Ray.



View from the base of the falls. Ray was standing on the right hand rock in the above picture.



The base of the falls



Our leisurely lunch has just finished and it's all down hill from here. Thank goodness! - by Ray



We met a couple of friendly dogs on the way down. Just like a Lab, all he wanted to do was play fetch. - by Ray



Nature's Bonsai hanging on for dear life. - by Ray



The will to survive regardless of where the seeds fall. - by Ray



One of the many beautiful scenes near the top of the falls. - by Ray



The Rebers, Jack and Lenore near the base of Roaring Brook Falls. A very handsome couple indeed. - by Ray



I believe Lenore is barking out the command, "OK now, on the count of 3 everyone take a picture". As for the guy on the left, I have no idea who he is. He arrived about 10 minutes after we did. - by Ray



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