A three-day long weekend in October equaled another great chance to check two more mountains off my list: Colvin and Blake.
I loved Colvin – beautiful Gill Brook Trail does not disappoint. Several hard scrambles but nothing too bad. And some great views, albeit a small summit.
Blake. Poor Blake. Still an official 46er High Peak, though more updated measurements show that it is just 20 feet shy of the 4,000 mark. I’d be happy never hiking Blake again. A steep, long col. down and even more so going up to reach a nondescript summit, surrounded by trees and barely a view. There isn’t even a sign. And then hike it back again to Colvin summit and back down. I highly underestimated how long the 1.2 miles between the two peaks would take.
The first three miles of the hike are on a private road through AMR club. It was a beautiful walk in fall foliage, but added some serious time and distance for the day. I was already hungry by the time I reached the trail head.
At 3.0 mi. the trailhead begins, I took the long route via picturesque Gill Brook Trail. With its many waterfalls and small flumes is one not to miss. A very moderate incline, with a few steeper climbs make it pretty easy. Though the trail is not in as good shape as the Lake Rd Cut Off.
At 3.7 mi. you finally reach state land and camping, swimming, etc. are now allowed. Pretty easy-going until 4.5 mi., with various junctions to Indian Head, Fish Hawk Cliffs, etc. Here climbing many steep pitches and series of alternating steep and flat sections. I was pretty slow going on a few of the scrambles and climbs. Each time I thought I reached the hardest and highest I was proved wrong.
Just before reaching the summit you reach a small sag before two very, very big scrambles. The only traffic jam I encountered on the trail was here, since footing and hand holds were limited needed to wait for folks to come down before venturing up. This is where the bottom grip on the toe of my shoe ripped off. Yes that made the other scrambles the rest of the day a joy. I see a new pair of shoes in my future.
The summit was glorious. No wind, perfectly clear day and great views of Lower Ausable Lake, Sawteeth and Great Range. It is a very small summit. So after a few minutes there chatting it up with other hikers (I thought I may have had the trail mostly to myself since I saw maybe 5 people since getting off the private road), I ventured to a great lookout ledge about 100 yds south (toward the Blake Trail). I enjoyed a long (probably too long) lunch, having the ledge to myself, soaking in the sun, the view, the moment… It had splendid views of the Upper Ausable Lake, Allen Mt and others in the Great Range.
Now with the fun part over on to Blake. I’ll just say it. Not my favorite hike. For starters I thought it would be .6 miles between the two mountains. That’s what my trail map description says. It was wrong. Very wrong. It is 1.2 miles – .06 from the bottom of the col. Double the distance on steep col and a steep pitch / scrambles up to the peak (and then doing it again in the reverse) is a big difference. The view – unimpressive. The summit – non-existent. But you have to hike Colvin to Blake – so it’s done.
From there I booked it back down since Blake took much longer than I thought. I had no issue with being on the private road in the dark – but I did not want to get caught on the trail on any of the pitches, scrambles, etc. in the dark, even with a head lamp (which should be standard in everyone’s pack). I made it to .5 miles from the parking area when night hit. Head lamp was nice but not essential. Only 30 min later than I estimated. Yes those 3 miles (6 round trip) of private land is one I’ll be venturing many more times and I’ll know to estimate more time.
Thanks Colvin. Great day for the last hike of the season.
Completed 10/19/2013, Total Distance hiked: 14.4miles, Hike Time: 9.5 hrs
- Colvin: 6 miles (to summit), Elevation 4057, Order of Height 39
- Blake: 1.2 miles (past Colvin), Elevation 3960, Order of Height 43
Weekend of Fun times
Since I didn’t need to be back to work until Tuesday two of my best friends joined me to enjoy Lake Placid, so we stayed through Monday. Saturday night I was tired but Sunday we soaked it in. Our hotel room had a sweet little balcony looking over Mirror Lake. The hot tub was also a very welcome treat. It included access to kayaks, canoes, etc. which we took advantage of for a nice paddle. A very tasty visit to the Lake Placid Brewery. I for one had their sampler.
On Monday morning it was raining so instead of squeezing in another paddle around the lake, I took one last soak in the hot tub before we ventured for breakfast. And hit up High Falls Gorge before trekking back. 8 weeks, 6 mountains. Not too shabby. Until next year!