The Crooked Canes Journal


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Balm of Gilead, William Blake Pond and Hooper Mine ~ Mar 29, 2012

Journal entry by Wanderer



What a difference a week makes! Just last week we had 80+ degree days, saw sunbathers at Lake George and we were wearing shorts hiking Prospect Mountain. Today we wore Gore-tex and down parkas and temps in the low-mid 30’s with overcast skies and blustery winds. Oh well, that is living in the Northeast.

Nevertheless, that didn’t stop 12 Caners from enjoying the day hiking to Balm of Gilead Mt., William Blake Pond and visiting Hooper Mine – all to be found in the lands adjoining the Garnet Hill Cross Country Ski Center in North River. There was talk of expectations of another “adventure” with Pete but it soon became apparent that this day may actually be just a normal outing and that is what it turned out to be. We started out, as in the past, from the parking area adjacent to the ski building and headed towards the Balm of Gilead on the familiar trail but not before Linda’s boots were inspected to make sure I hadn’t tried to jerry-rig them after last week’s mishap – they passed and we were on our way. One difference from the past was a new and beautiful, rather ornate, log bridge over one of the streams - a work of art, as can be seen in one of the pictures. The group continued upward on a trail void of ice and snow that was more like late May than what we normally experience in March – just without any leaves on the trees. Sure there were some wet and muddy spots and the normal blowdowns but nothing more than a slight inconvenience and in less than an hour we had gathered at the overlook. Thirteenth Lake was the obvious standout for landmarks and behind it, looking west, was Bullhead, Hour Pond, Big and Little Thirteenth Mountains as well as Peaked Mountain, a favorite outing destination of the Canes. The wind made it seem colder than it was and I even put on my down parka which is somewhat rare. Although it was cloudy, the sun was trying hard to break through but never won out and we could see what appeared to be snow clouds in the distance. This was only a snack break and it wasn’t long before we started down the trail a short distance to where we would bushwhack to William Blake Pond, 1/2 mile away.

If there was a time during the hike that this could have turned into an adventure it would be on the bushwhack but miraculously we made it to the trail below the dam without incident and were eating lunch a little after noon. Some of us had hiked this route quite a few times before but always on snow and it seemed odd that we weren’t able to walk across the pond from the surrounding shore. Apparently my attempts on doing a sun dance over the past couple of days didn’t work because it was still cloudy with some light snow. Lunch always makes things more bearable but it also must end and after about 30 minutes we were on our way again – this time headed for the old Hooper Mine near the end of our journey.

The trail in this section is open and wider than the other trails in the area and well maintained with all blowdowns removed. After only about 15 minutes we arrived at the abandoned Hooper Garnet Mine and climbed a short distance to the first and then the second overlook of the open pit mine and the invisible High Peaks in the distance. The mine was opened in 1898 by Frank Hooper (who also founded the Garnet Hill Lodge in 1936) but was soon abandoned. Finally, we visited the floor of the mine, overgrown with vegetation but still quite interesting with the many pinnacles of rock surrounding the horseshoe shaped mine. After some exploring by some of the more inquisitive members of our group we headed back and in a few minutes arrived at our cars. Another great day in the outdoors!

Thanks to Don, Karen, Jim, Lynn, Kurt, Diane, Margaret, Ken, Nancy, Tom and Linda for making today a memorable one – till next week.

Peter

3/29/12 - Wanderer . added 8 photos.

3/30/12 - Ken Gericke added 2 photos.

3/31/12 - Kurt Wisell added 3 photos.

3/31/12 - Kurt Wisell added 1 photo.

17 photos



Now That is a Bridge - from L to R: Don, Lynn, Jim, Margaret, Diane, Ken, Linda, Karen, Tom, Kurt and Nancy (She looks taller in person)



Balm of Gilead Overlook



Looking SW from the Overlook



Thirteenth Lake - by Wanderer



Peaked Mountain - by Wanderer



William Blake Pond - by Wanderer



Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It's off to work we go. - by Wanderer



Tom at the Overlook on Tuesday the 27th - by Wanderer



Sir Tom Gibbs on the way to the top of the Everest of Hooper Mine - by Wanderer



Sir Tom Gibbs - almost to the top - by Wanderer



Sir Tom Gibbs at the top - 25,440" - by Wanderer



Beaver house on William Blake Pd. - by Ken



Lunchers at William Blake Pd....reflections on the water. - by Ken



Ostensibly taking pictures, it's Happy Canes! - by Kurt



Photo by Kurt



Photo by Kurt



Google Earth image with our track in Red. Hooper Mine's crater clearly visible. - by Kurt



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