The Crooked Canes Journal


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Pinnacle Mountain Ice Walls ~ Mar 5, 2015

Journal entry by Wanderer



With a longer than normal drive, temperature forecast to be in the mid-teens and possible north winds, I wasn't sure if enough people would show up to allow us to visit the Pinnacle Mt Ice Walls. Apparently, we have some hardy folks and eleven of us made the journey to the end of Pinnacle Road in Bleecker in Fulton County to begin our newest adventure, another first for the Canes. Karen, our leader, had to cancel at the last minute so there was some pressure on me to deliver a memorable trip - I hope I succeeded. Our plan was to follow the marked trail to County Line Lake for about 45 minutes before bushwhacking to the ice walls. Along this new trail we would visit three separate areas where formations normally develop - all on the broken trails of previous visitors - at least that was our plan. The trail starts out with a continuous uphill for quite some distance before leveling off in some pretty woods along Pinnacle Creek. The trail had been broken by several groups visiting the ice walls recently which made the going rather easy and there was a new layer of snow to soften the top layer. As planned, we started the bushwhack portion on a broken trail but for some reason missed the point where I knew the first ice formation was - the one referred to as "Butterscotch." Oh well, we'll see if we can locate the trail on the way back - on to the next formation. The next formation is a rather large, actually an immense, bluish ice formation well worth seeing, so I was excited to make up for missing Butterscotch. Crossing the vlei was peaceful but there was open water in Pinnacle Creek in the center of the vlei - hard to imagine with the tremendous frigid temperatures we have had. We followed the side trail to where the access to the second formation is located but it dead-ended only a few yards into the woods. I made an attempt to break a new trail but it was hard going and the group was getting impatient to see some ice formations - in retreat we started for the "Ice Alley" at the end of the vlei where I knew there was a broken trail. Sure enough, after only a few minutes we arrived at the beginning of the ice wall and all I could hear were Wow, Oohs and Aahs, OMG's - a happy leader was I. We took our time viewing the various formations, all variations of blue, some crystal clear, some different shades of white but all beautiful. Some had delicate ice fingers, while others were more like bulges with some encapsulating trees or whatever got in their way as they formed along this 1/4 mile shelf. There were browns, and even some that took on the appearance of plastic, filling in the cracks of the rocks. If you listened carefully you could hear the flow of water beneath the flows and dripping over the already formed structures - creations only Mother Nature could build. We took our time, exploring to the end and then returned, slowly along the wall, gaining a different perspective and taking in the grandeur of the wall of ice. It was already beyond lunch time so we stopped midway and found our little snow nests and ate our lunches in a very unique setting. Not satisfied with not being able to lead the group to the huge ice formation I headed back to its location to see if I could locate it while everyone enjoyed lunch. I started back on the broken portion of the trail but soon found myself mid-thigh deep in snow and difficult going and then it happened - I fell up to my waist in a buried hemlock tree with my snowshoes caught beneath the limbs - and no one around. Lucky for me that the group took a short lunch and had started back when I heard Lenore call for me and I yelled back for her to come and get me. It was only a few minutes before she arrived but she wasn't quite ready to lend assistance - at least not until she took a few dozen pictures of my dilemma - you know what they say about payback! With lots of effort I was finally free from my hemlock trap and back to breaking trail to the formation. I eventually found it and called for the rest to come and view it. Of course it was worth it but I was just lucky that I wasn't alone, doing a scout when this happened. You might think this was the end of the story with that hemlock tree but on my return I fell in the trap again and got stuck - this time Liz loaned me her poles and with some effort got out a second time and of course more pictures. Enough already - time to look for the Butterscotch formation. Katie and Ray had already started back and when given the choice of watching me break another trail or head back, Linda, Sam, Lenore and Jack headed for the cars too. Sure, the Butterscotch formation wasn't the same as viewing Ice Alley but it was beautiful nonetheless and those that stayed could say they visited all three destinations as planned. All and all it was a successful and fun winter outing and a most memorable one to boot. Peter 3/6/15 - Joanne Armstrong added 8 photos. 3/9/15 - Wanderer . added 20 photos. 3/10/15 - RayH Henrikson added 4 photos. 3/11/15 - Lenore Reber added 1 photo.

33 photos



Our fearless leader Peter (turquoise wall #2 in background-ice-not ocean). Thanks Peter for introducing us to these wonderful ice walls! - added by Joanne



Trooper Liz who wasn't about to let us skip the last ice walls (which would have been stop #1 but we had trouble locating on the outbound) - added by Joanne



Something is stuck out in the snow...what is it? - added by Joanne



Oh...wait! It is a person--looks like they are stuck "swimming" in the snow- added by Joanne



OH...it is Peter-he is stuck up to his waist--"swimming" in the snow...Lenore to the rescue! - added by Joanne



These are actually the first set of ice walls which 4 of us ended up viewing on the return (thanks to trooper Liz)... - added by Joanne



Thank you Peter and Jayne for breaking trail...the snow was SO DEEP! - added by Joanne



These falls were very different from the others--butterscotch in color, spaghetti like in formation - added by Joanne



Happy trekkers - added by Wanderer



First glimpse of Ice Alley - added by Wanderer



Lots of ice - added by Wanderer



Along the wall - added by Wanderer



Hidden ice - added by Wanderer



The never ending wall of ice - added by Wanderer



Delicate ice - added by Wanderer



This side of lunch - added by Wanderer



Just another formation - added by Wanderer



A different color - added by Wanderer



Double decker - added by Wanderer



View at lunch - added by Wanderer



"Ice on the Rocks" - added by Wanderer



Wow! - added by Wanderer



Double Wow! - added by Wanderer



Sentinel of the vlei - added by Wanderer



Secret formation - added by Wanderer



Sam in the lead - added by Wanderer



"Butterscotch" - added by Wanderer



Our trail - added by Wanderer



Peter stuck in the snow. There was debate about leaving him there until the spring thaw and someone coming by every couple of days to feed him. Alas, he got out. - added by RayH



Pinnacle Ice, No. 1 - added by RayH



Pinnacle Ice, No. 2 - added by RayH



Pinnacle Ice, No.3 - added by RayH



Which way? - added by Lenore




Thank you Joanne, Sam, Lenore & Jack, Liz, Kathy, Jayne, Katie & Ray and Linda for sharing the day on another great outing! Peter

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