Big thanks. Reading your posts with a cup o' joe in hand hand was a great
way to start the day.

On Sun, Aug 21, 2011 at 11:03 PM, David Guertin <[log in to unmask]>wrote:

> For our fourth and final trip of the past two weeks, I was joined on
> Thursday by Stuart. Once again Neil had music conflicts that kept him from
> joining us. Stu and I decided that doing the remaining three peaks in the
> Seward Range was more work than we wanted to tackle, so we opted instead for
> a trip to Redfield and Cliff. Somehow we thought that would be easier. What
> were we thinking?
> Pictures:
> redfield-cliff-2011-08-18/<>
> Rather than the usual approach from Adirondak Loj, we instead hiked in from
> Upper Works. The approach from Upper Works is about 3/4 of a mile longer
> each way, but there isn't the annoying 500-foot loss of elevation that the
> Loj approach forces, and more importantly, it's about an hour less driving
> from our camp in Newcomb.
> I have mixed feelings about the Calamity Brook Trail from Upper Works up to
> Flowed Lands, but on balance I really enjoy this trail. The main problem is
> the mud. In years past it was a complete disaster of a trail, but trail
> improvement work has paid big dividends, and now it's just intermittently
> inconvenient. There are mud holes scattered along the entire trail, but also
> long patches of dry, easy hiking. More importantly, Calamity Brook is a very
> pretty stream.
> This route passes by Lake Colden, which is one of the most scenic and
> therefore most popular places in the High Peaks. From Lake Colden, the trail
> continues on up along the Opalescent River. The trail here is a horrible,
> muddy, mess, but the Opalescent River is such a gem that it doesn't matter.
> There is a series of waterfalls, each more beautiful than the last, and
> about halfway up an amazing gorge, about 100 feet deep and 20 feet across.
> We stood on the edge and watched the current thundering down below. If we
> weren't focused on two peaks still to climb, the river itself could have
> been a worthy destination in itself.
> Since Redfield is the larger mountain and has the better views, we elected
> to do Redfield first, following the philosophy of eating dessert first. The
> herd paths from Redfield and Cliff both leave the trail from the same place,
> but are very different. The trail up Redfield follows Uphill Brook, yet
> another beautiful stream with great views over toward the MacIntyre Range.
> It was wet, but not an unpleasant climb, and in just over an hour we found
> ourselves on the summit with nice views of Allen, Skylight, and the Dixes.
> The herd path up Cliff was quite a different experience. At the bottom, it
> follows the quagmire of the old, abandoned Twin Brooks Trail. This trail was
> in such bad shape that rather than improve it, the DEC chose to simply
> abandon the trail altogether in 1981. It's still there, and still a soupy,
> godawful mess, but still the best way to approach Cliff. After less than 1/2
> a mile, the herd path diverges from the Twin Brooks Trail, and drier going
> follows, but now the path goes straight up the side of the mountain,
> ascending one small rock face after another. I mentioned to Stu that there's
> something rewarding about a route that actually gives one the feeling of
> climbing a mountain. In past years, that reward did not extend to actual
> views from forested summit, but thanks to Hurricane Floyd, there are now
> some pretty good views of Algonquin and Colden from the summit.
> From the top of Cliff it was a long way down to the trailhead, and he
> hustled as fast as our tired legs would allow to get back before dark. It
> was close, but we made it without needing to break out the lights, even
> allowing for frequent stops near the bottom to pick the abundant fat, juicy
> blackberries.
> After 19 miles and 12 hours of hiking, our legs were spent. It wasn't
> exactly the easyish day we had planned on, but it was one of our more
> rewarding days in the mountains anyway.
> Cliff was peak #24 for Stu and #40 for me. Six more peaks, four trips to
> go: Skylight, Allen, Hough, and Seward/Donaldson/Emmons. It may be tricky
> finishing them up this fall, since both boys have Saturday cross-country
> races almost every week until November, but I think I can still get it done.
> I've put off deciding on a peak to do last, but I think it will be Hough.
> For one, it's the shortest day, and second, I think it would provide a nice
> symmetry, since my first peak was Dix, 34 long years ago.
> Dave G.
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