August 10, 2010

Snowy Mountain

Attempting Snowy Mountain after a successful ascent of Blue Mountain was painful given my lack of hiking (and general fitness) this summer. We started late at around 2:30pm, leaving our Lewey Lake camp and arriving at the trail head after a 5 minute drive on 30N. Our late afternoon hike was remarked upon by most who passed us in descent; “Hope you’re fast hikers”, etc..

The trail to the summit is 3.4 miles long. For the first 2 miles or so it's a pleasant packed-dirt trail that crosses several small streams. Wood planks have been laid down for crossing most of the muddy areas. Highlights included the bole of a massive tree that looked like it was struck by lightning, a shelf fungus the size of a beach ball, and hopping on rocks to cross water.

About two thirds of the way through the trail gets really difficult (60 degrees+). I imagine it is quite dangerous in the spring, as we were frequently slipping in mud on the ascent. I put my camera away at this point and had to rely on my hands for balance. The last gasp before the summit is a steep, muddy incline beside a vertical rock face, but the reward for a grueling quarter mile is a beautiful view of Indian Lake to the east.

The summit is covered in trees, with the fire tower rising above them and affording the only 360 degree view of the surrounding countryside. In addition to the large open area at the top of the trail, there is one smaller open area on the western side. There may have been more, but given the hour we didn't explore past the fire tower.

We descended as quickly as we could given how tired we were and made it back to the car at 7:15pm; 6.8 miles in ~4.5 hours. And despite our haste we found a toad! Snowy was a really nice hike, and one I'd like to try again with more time to kill at the summit. I'll have to head back to the area for Pillsbury Mountain, anyway. 2 of 18.

(pics later)

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