The Crooked Canes Journal


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Mount Equinox Hike ~ Oct 19, 2015

Journal entry by Diane Wisell



Our first Crooked Canes outing to Mount Equinox was a successful expedition. From Manchester, the view of Equinox is intimidating: the top appears very high, the mountain nearly vertical from valley to summit. Just what first time hiking visitors want to see - especially when they know there is a paved road just around the corner. And there are slides, the newest very visible and older ones, though re-vegetating, are discernible. It was chilly (chilly enough that we all brought our micro spikes - just in case) at the beginning of our 6.6 mile round trip hike with it's 3,007 foot ascent to the summit at 3,840 feet but there was hardly a cloud in the sky and little to no wind. A perfect day for serious exertion and the reward of 360 degree views of foliage just passing peak in four states. Five are visible on a perfectly clear day.

At 10 am, we nine expectant hikers began our ascent on an old road through lovely foliage in open hardwoods with the promise of a break at the end of the road, about halfway up, where there is a spring with excellent water. We made it that far, dumping water brought from home, refilling at the spring and bracing ourselves for the second half of the ascent on trail that though pretty steep, is nonetheless is very nice hiking. We soon were above the line where leaves were mostly off the trees, frost needles rose from the trail and patches of snow and ice began to appear as we continued into thick spruce forest. Soon, the trail flattened out quite a bit and an occasional island of sunshine was found amid the spruce where we could relax, warm up and be presented with one hiker's unusual presentation of a very strange, alarming and consternating medical condition with symptoms including skin discoloration and discomfort alternating between sensations of burning and numbness Dr. Rich was spot on in his correct diagnosis of LHFS. To prevent your innocently falling into the same very cleverly contrived trap as I did, a picture follows. Congratulations to Jo Ellen, Diane and Rich for the excellent entertainment.

In a very short while, passing through snow dusted spruce on the now shallow grade, we noticed guy wires nearby supporting towers near the summit and in a few more steps, the new Saint Bruno Visitor's Center came into view. On my last trip to the mountain, late in 2011, the old Sky Line Inn had recently been demolished, the site a wasteland of old brick and mortar. Not having heard of plans for the mountaintop, the absence of a landmark familiar to me since youth was more than disappointing. Learning of plans for a visitor center to be completed in 2012 renewed my interest though my inner Eor was unwavering in his conviction that it could never be as nice as it once was. Eor, that old stick in the mud, was wrong. The new visitor's center is wonderful: modern, comfortable, spacious, green, warm and an exceptional place for a Crooked Canes lunch, it admirably pays homage to the history of the place with plenty of information on the nearby Carthusian Monastery and history of the mountian. Far beyond Eor's expectations!

After lunch, off we headed to see Mr. Barbo's grave and the overlooks along the ridge before heading back down the mountain. Going down the same way we came up was a largely new experience after our hike up the same trail: views were more plentiful when looking out at the valley as opposed to having one's head down and panting on the trip up. After another stop at the spring, we found ourselves back at the trail head at 3.32, only 2 minutes off our estimated schedule where we reconnected with the Crooked Canes Director Of Expedition Support Services, Mark Munro who had graciously agreed to make a stop at Diane & Kurt's favorite deli during the day. A great day for some of us expanding our horizons on a rigorous hike at a new venue, others revisiting their past, everyone having a very nice day and Diane & Kurt unexpectedly ending their day with a favorite meal.

Here are a couple of interesting links to information on Equinox to copy and paste into your browser: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equinox_Mountain http://www.equinoxmountain.com/visitors_center_index.php

Diane and Kurt were privileged to share our hiking experience with 2 guys named Rich (one a doctor as we found out), Joy, Jo Ellen, Lynn, Gail and Joanne.

11 photos



First there were frost needles...........



.........then there was snow.........



......then the dreaded LHFS! Who knew what might have turned up here from Nepal! Fortunately, as diagnosed by Dr. Rich, LHFS is Left Hand Faker's Syndrome or Himalayan art on Jo Ellen's hand. We sure knotted Kurt's knickers for a few minutes!



At the summit!



Three cats on a sofa: Gail, Diane and Lynn enjoy warmth from the sun.



A view of the Saint Bruno Visitor's Center, courtesy of Joanne.



Who doesn't like Prom pictures? On the steps of the Visitor's Center.



From the overlook, a view to the east. Stratton Mountain at top right, Manchester in the center.



Rich! Becoming a true CC with his DM autograph model chapeau.



Good ol' "Doc" Rich with Lynn and Joanne closing in on the trail head as visions of cushy car seats dance in their heads.



Unsolved mystery: A whole bunch of tree stumps with tarps tied to them. Various sizes and species. Why?



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