The Crooked Canes Journal


Viewing 13 of 77 - 2015

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Return to the Pinnacle Mountain Ice Walls ~ Mar 13, 2015

Journal entry by Wanderer



What a difference a week makes. Last Thursday I had fallen up to my waist in a hemlock trap and could have remained there until spring if I hadn't been rescued by Lenore - a deed that I am not sure Linda is ready to thank her for. This week, the surface of the trail was frozen enough for the group to opt for Microspikes on the whole trip - go figure. With the recent warm weather, the condition of the snow was a big concern of mine and scheduling the outing on Friday the 13th certainly was in the back of my mind - but what could go wrong? I checked the weather forecast the day before and it called for a deep freeze in the Caroga Lake area - down to the low single digits and maybe a high of the mid 30's so the trip was on as far as I was concerned. However, early on Friday I received a call from a friend who happens to live at the beginning of Pinnacle Road and she said that the town had closed the dirt portion of the road because of significant thawing and mud. If we couldn't use the road it would add another 3 miles to the trip so I became concerned. A few minutes later I received a call from Karen who had heard about the road closure but said that we should just pretend that the sign wasn't there and not cancel the trip - something I was very surprised to hear from a person who I considered law abiding. Collecting the group in Saratoga and at Vail Mills we proceeded to Pinnacle Rd and just as the friend had indicated - the road was closed - but it didn't matter to me because Karen said we were to go on. Actually, the road was frozen and we did fine but if it warmed up too much during the day the cars would have to remain until spring and we would have a LONG walk out. After checking out the trail -Kurt, Linda, Bill and Jo-Ellen decided to wear Microspikes, carrying their snowshoes, and Karen and I wore snowshoes. The trail was in excellent condition, frozen sold from the night before and as long as the Microspikers stayed on the center part they stayed afloat. We made great time along our route, admiring the mixed hardwoods and hemlock groves with the long shadows cast on the gleaming white snow, indicating lots of sunshine. We reached the side trail to the Butterscotch formation and stayed only a few minutes, anxious to go on for the real show. Our next stop was the middle formation, which I am still searching for the proper name. It is reached after a short hike along the vlei and then off-trail a bit, passing the location of last week's rescue and on to the massive ice bulges of blue, green and white. This is quite the ice formation and deserved a longer visit but there was still more to come so on we went. The last formation - Ice Alley, is near the end of the vlei and only a short distance from its edge. Walking along the trail on the vlei showed significant changes from last week with more open water, crevasse type openings and luckily only one small snow bridge to cross. We made it to the beginning of Ice Alley and the start of our walk along the trail that parallels the ice wall for its entirety. Each formation is different, colors and shapes change and bulges are mixed with delicate fingers of ice, often encapsulating trees and rocks along this 1/4 mile shelf. Most of the larger columns had formed ice aprons along their bases from dripping water that froze when it hit the snow. Having just seen the ice wall the previous week I took notice of some subtle and some not so subtle changes. Last week's columns were fairly uniform as they formed from the top of the shelf to the ground but the thaw and flash freezing that occurred during the previous few days formed delicate outcroppings from those same columns, with small ice crystal chandeliers hanging from ice cornices and even mushroom like bulbs protruding from the vertical surfaces. I was amazed that what I thought was incredibly beautiful just last week had become even more beautiful. As we turned to follow the wall back to the vlei there was a new perspective, with the sun highlighting many of the formations, filtered by the trees above the ridge. A quick stop for lunch and we were on our way out, trying to absorb the beauty that we had just witnessed and an amazing artist Mother Nature is. It won't be long until the ice wall will be left alone, to die a slow but perhaps stunning death - too dangerous for visitors to approach and too much effort to try and find a trail along the escarpment. That's ok - it will reappear magically next year. Peter

My conscious is bothering me and I must fess up. Karen never told me to disregard the sign that indicated that the road was closed - it was Linda, yup, Linda for sure. I thought as her husband I would protect her but I can't lie. Please don't think any less of her. That's my story and I'm stickin to it! 3/14/15 - Jo-Ellen Unger added 8 photos. 3/18/15 - Kurt Wisell added 10 photos. 3/20/15 - Wanderer . added 10 photos.

28 photos



Pinnacle Ice Wall #1 - added by Jo-Ellen



Pinnacle Mountain Ice Walls, Group 2 - added by Jo-Ellen



Pinnacle Ice Wall #2 - added by Jo-Ellen



More ice - added by Jo-Ellen



Ice chandelier - added by Jo-Ellen



Ice frame - added by Jo-Ellen



I love this stuff! - added by Jo-Ellen



I took 75! photos! Simply Magnificent. Thanks, Peter. - added by Jo-Ellen



Photo added by Kurt



Ice formation on twigs adjacent to the ice wall. - added by Kurt



More iced twigs. - added by Kurt



Our troupe tramps on to the next formations. - added by Kurt



Lots of colors and textures characteristic of many of the formations. - added by Kurt



Like Kilroy, you never know where this guy will pop up. Thanks for a great experience Peter! - added by Kurt



Photo added by Kurt



Photo added by Kurt



Photo added by Kurt



Our host for the day, Peter, catching yet more images for his 2015 Adirondack Photo Tour. - added by Kurt



At the start - both Bill and Karen catching some last minute ZZZ's. I took two pictures at the beginning and they were sleeping in both of them - they must expect a boring outing. - added by Wanderer



It's not all about ice - here is a beautiful burl. - added by Wanderer



First sign of spring? - added by Wanderer



Snowshoes optional - added by Wanderer



Bill's self-portrait - added by Wanderer



Kurt enjoying the view - added by Wanderer



Taking the safer route - added by Wanderer



The troops - added by Wanderer



Kurt had to leave his mark - thank goodness the warm weather will remedy his art - added by Wanderer



Karen's sign! - added by Wanderer



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