Friday, May 15, 2009

Snowy Mountain Fire Tower

After a failed attempt at the climbing the closed Schaefer trail at Gore Mountain, Sister and I found ourselves at the trail head of Snowy Mountain facing a 6.8-7.8 mile hike (depending on the source of information) at 1pm for a shot at redemption.

The first part of the hike in was really easy, and the entire trail is well marked and well maintained. There seems like hardly any elevation for maybe the first mile or two, with a couple of minor obstacles. The first challenge was getting our short legs from one stepping stone to the next when crossing the brook which was generously fed by the Spring's snow melt. The trail actually leads you across the brook several times, bouncing from one stone to the next, and at times leaving you wondering why you need to cross here if you will have to cross back over again in a few minutes.

At one point we were led to still body of water with a foot bridge across the length. Unfortunately, a good portion of the bridge is under the murky water- several inches deep. Going around to the left there was a dam of sticks and downed trees. It got a little tricky between the slippery wet wood, rolling logs, with not much but a trekking pole to hold onto for balance. It was better than wading across though!

The last mile or so is where the trail turns into an intense incline, we only had to stop and sit once. The last portion of the trail is relentlessly steep, punishing you for the first mile of cake walk. We did, in fact, encounter snow toward the summit of Snowy Mountain, as well as mudslides, and nearly completely vertical slopes up the stream.

We were rewarded with a spectacular view at an overlook facing Indian Lake, and the tower was not much farther from the overlook.

The summit is almost completely enclosed, but climbing the tower will provide you with a 360 degree view.

On the way down we encountered a few shy newts, and a gorgeous full rainbow. We completed the trip in 6 hours including our snack on the summit and picture taking.

Check out all the pictures from this hike.


storybeader said...

wow - that sounds like a different hike! I don't know about the underwater bridge! Sounds like a turning back place to me. You two are very brave. Off to see the photos on flickr!

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