The Crooked Canes Journal


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Cook Mountain Hike ~ Dec 16, 2015

Journal entry by Diane Wisell



Our Cook Mountain hike was during yet another one of those weeks when poker face Mother Nature played games with us, keeping cards tucked up her very loose fitting sleeve the whole while and giving only vague clues as to what ones she would play. We didn't get skunked on this trip but as it turns out, most any day, even a Thursday for a change, would have done just fine though we wondered about our chances as we watched rain on our windshields during the first half or more of our drive to Ticonderoga.

By the time we arrived at the trail head it was a downright lovely mid December day and we certainly didn't need to worry about breaking trail, though we did see a little frost on the tops of the higher hills to our west. We started out from the trail head with 14 folks, having counted Denis twice so we wouldn't have an unlucky number. Fortunately Ray turned up shortly after we left the trail head and Denis was able to get back to his normal number of personalities. Under grey, windless sky we wended our way to the summit, enjoying views from the first overlook and opting to continue on to the second, a larger overlook, where we could spread out for lunch and enjoy the two-state views of this area so very rich in history. Ticonderoga, a lot of Lake George, bits of Lake Champlain, Mount Defiance and Rogers Rock are all readily visible even on a gray day.

It being close to the Holidays, treats were beginning to fly. If we had somehow convinced Peter prior to the trip that it was REALLY Linda's birthday, she probably would have brought a case of eclairs in her pack. Alas, it was not to be. Not this time. Having eaten well, lolled about and placing bets on Denis' finishing position in upcoming turtle races, we arose for the trek to the bottom, most doing that gracefully, quietly and on the first attempt. A couple others flopped noisily around a bit before getting on with our very pleasant walk back to the trail head. Near the bottom, we diverted off the main trail to Stevens Cemetery on a short out-and-back trail through wide open hardwoods spiced with very large grape vines. Only one head stone remains visible showing Mr. Stevens's demise at 21 years old from drowning in the 1840's. Undoubtedly there are others here in the small, flat area that is probably a family plot.

Coffee, hot chocolate, rest rooms and an unusually early hour enticed us back to McDonalds before heading home where our camaraderie continued, no one quite wanting the day to end.

Many thanks to Joanne, Tom, Linda & Peter, Linda, Dennis, Barbara, Margie, Ray, Donna & Peter, Cathy and Kurt for joining me today making a rather blah December day a memorable one.

12/20/15 - RayB Bouchard added 10 photos.

12/22/15 - Wanderer . added 11 photos.

25 photos



The remains of a prized hat Joanne once gave away on a CC hike in North Creek.



Just in case you unthinkably missed this one Ray....



Here they come!



What at first we thought a primitive weed taller than the tallest hemlocks, Equisetum hyemale, AKA rough horsetail, scouring rush, scouring rush horsetail or snake grass, grows abundantly around the bottom of Cook Mountain. Good for scrubbing pots, sanding wood and makes a "delightful" herbal tea. There are at least two species growing in the area.



The kiosk was close to and quite visible from the road so finding the trail head is easy. - added by RayB



The entire region is rich in history as indicated by one of two markers that were within sight of the parking area. - added by RayB



I came to a "T" intersection with a loop trail a short distance from the kiosk and chose to go right; right through a swamp that is. There were several boardwalks along the way that helped keep me out of the muck and mire. - added by RayB



The healthy green leaves of the Hepatica is sure to produce an abundance of flowers next spring. - added by RayB



My colleagues convinced me that these dangling strands of bark were created by porcupines, not deer. - added by RayB



Grapevines intertwined, as if they had been dancing when the music suddenly stopped. - added by RayB



I left our merry band of hikers when we arrived back at the cars, and chose to take the slower way home. I'm glad I did. This is the first of 3 pastoral scenes that I encountered shortly after turning south on route 9N. - added by RayB



Photo added by RayB



Photo added by RayB



As I made my way down 9N I kept seeing this unusual mountain top in the distance. Finally the State provided a pull off almost opposite it and Huletts Landing. Between Kurt and Peter F. I learned that the mountain with the uniquely shaped snowy knobber is called Sugarloaf Mt. The name seems rather appropriate. When I looked at the topo map I realized that Sugarloaf is on your immediate right as you start hiking from the Black Mt. parking area. - added by RayB



Kurt signing us in. Ray arrived a little later on his own. - added by Wanderer



Yo Tom - how about slowing up a little! - added by Wanderer



Northern end of Lake George with Mount Defiance (center right), Lake Champlain (middle) and International Paper Company (center-far left) - added by Wanderer



Looking south from summit - Record Hill and Anthony's Nose (center left) and Rogers Rock behind the trees (center right) - added by Wanderer



Looks like trouble to me - Ray, Tom, Peter, and the ring leader Denis - added by Wanderer



Group pic on top - added by Wanderer



Denis in the lead - go Denis!!!!! - added by Wanderer



Hey - listen up! - added by Wanderer



Sole standing gravestone at the edge of the preserve's boundary - Stephen ????? (illegible last name) died Jan 10th 1848 - added by Wanderer



Just one of the many wild grapevines seen - this one particularly large - added by Wanderer



This is what Joanne's hat looked like before it melted - see the first pic - added by Wanderer



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