The Crooked Canes Journal


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Schumann Preserve and Stewarts Ledge ~ Apr 13, 2017

Journal entry by Margie Litwin



This chilly, gray and breezy morning 12 hikers met at CTL to carpoool to the Pilot Knob area. At the Schumann lot awaited 8 more Canes, and Susie, who was invited to join the merry band, especially as she had never ventured to the waterfall prior. Mark, sadly, was unable to hike today and after greeetings all around, headed off to other pursuits. The trail starts right in with an incline, quickly warming us in efforts to follow Don's brisk pace. Despite summery weather earlier in the week, the trees remained bare, allowing frequent limb-screened views of the lake throughout the day, leading to the wide open vistas. Soon we were joined by Lori, having scrambled up the trail to us. So--21 was the magic number, matching our 2015 hiker total here. We opted to head around the loop clockwise, soon arriving at the gazebo overlooking the lake, inviting a rest stop along with a re-cap of the notable Preserve history. A drug dealer's out of compliance home had been seized and ultimately razed years later. The area was named in honor of Lynn LaMontayne Schumann, who worked tirelessly along with the LGLC in conservation efforts to acquire and protect the beautiful 223 acre parcel prior to her untimely death.

With a small glint of sun we headed on toward the waterfall, finding easy footing with mostly dry trail. Rolling ups and downs led to the loop junction. Though the stream was in sight we diverted left to climb to the area upstream of the falls. Our reward was a charming small waterfall, sparkling in the now-bright sunshine, framed by mossy dark stones. It welcomed lingerers, however, hungry tummies called. So down we went past the head of the main falls through the woods, then across the stream at its base...a perfect alfresco dining spot with waterfall serenade, made all the more special by sharing of Fran's luscious chocolate chip cookies in celebration of Don's upcoming birthday. 

Eleven days prior the falls had been thickly encapsulated in ice. The recommended microspikes were thus useful only as ballast to help work off our lunch (or in advance of chocolate bunnies). Shared stories continued as we returned for parting views from the gazebo, then on down the other side of the orange trail to the start. Sharp eyes noted a few delicate hepaticas, whose sweet color brightened the as-yet muted woods. Bright yellow coltsfoot had also emerged to adorn the parking lot.

After goodbyes to some, the remaining 12 loaded up and headed north to the Buck Mt. trailhead to explore a first time Crooked Cane destination. Stewarts Ledge was an easy 30 minute walk past, then up around a soaring rocky formation to its top. Used at times for rock climbing practice, today it provided expansive views of the south basin of the lake and mountains beyond. Below a Frankenpine stood out, dressed in its blue spruce hue. The presence of young raven chicks was happily observed by all from a distance, though Mom and Dad voiced their concern while continuing on with the needed feeding schedule. The spot is sure to appear again someday on a future schedule.

The day was shared by Fran, Shelly, Gail, Linda F, Denis, Bob A, Mike M, Sandy, Jan and Jim, Peter and Donna, Joy, Don, Joanne, Jim I, Barbara and Rich, Lori and Susie. Thanks for joining me!

4/14/17 - Joy Munro added 15 photos. 4/14/17 - Margie Litwin added 1 photo. 4/14/17 - Margie Litwin added 13 photos.

29 photos



A view across the lake to Gore... - added by Joy



And up toward the high peaks which are still capped in snow... - added by Joy



At the top of the main falls - added by Joy



And the smaller falls hidden in the woods near the top - added by Joy



There were so many beautiful falls, it's hard to choose just a few to post. But I really liked the play of light and shade on this one. - added by Joy



The wooded area beside the falls where we ate lunch - added by Joy



Jim making sure everyone had enough to eat - added by Joy



Heading back down to the gazebo after lunch. Lots of sun now. - added by Joy



Second trip: rock faces on the way up to Stewart's Ledge. - added by Joy



Lots of rock! - added by Joy



Looking down from the ledge to the raven's nest... - added by Joy



Babies trying to get some rest. - added by Joy



Mama bird tilts her head sideways to look up at us before deciding what to do. She ended up settling herself in on top of them and hiding them from our prying eyes. - added by Joy



Margie gathers us all together for one last story about a young man and a nest of bees in an old tree. - added by Joy



One last goodbye from a vernal pool before we all headed home. - added by Joy



Ready to go! - added by Margie



Jan enjoys the sun listening to the lively falls. - added by Margie



Gail's lunch was too precious to be shared with wishful visitor Clara who had accompanied other hikers at our destination. - added by Margie



So, get along with the picture taking and let me enjoy my birthday cookie!! - added by Margie



The main waterfall. - added by Margie



The main waterfall 11 days prior! Hence the microspike warning. - added by Margie



Enjoying the Springtime sun! - added by Margie



One never tires of the broad views from the gazebo. - added by Margie



Joanne and Gail share some of the joy of the day. - added by Margie



Apologies for the poor focusing of my first hepatica of the season. - added by Margie



Colorful coltsfoot. - added by Margie



Dutchman's-Breeches soon to be in their full glory. - added by Margie



Joy ponders her best photo op of the cliffs above. - added by Margie



One of these trees is not like the others! Much better than bare structural metal, however. - added by Margie



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