Submitted By Michael Virdone
The Mountains & Stats
People On The Trip
We camped out on the sites on the perkins clearing road Friday night before getting up Saturday and heading to North Creek. We arrived at the trailhead on ski bowl road and were greeted to a sign saying the trail was closed (I knew that they were building a new lift/trails but I thought it had been completed). Instead of giving up, we drove over to the base of gore and asked some staff, they said the majority of the construction was completed and taking the trail should be fine. We returned to the trailhead, got changed , and went to sign in at the register (which had no register in it, an omen for what was to follow for the rest of the hike).|
We began the climb and immediately had to break out the book to find out that initially we had to follow the ski trail to the top before joining a hiking trail. At the top there was no indication where the trail was, but we found it to the right of the clearing. We didn't see a trail marker for the first few hundred yards after entering the woods. Eventually we saw a marker and we knew we were on the right trail (this didn't last for long). Eventually the woods road closed in a bit and it became a trail.
Here we played a fun game of hide and seek with the trail. Every 10 minutes we'd lose the trail and have to stop, and look around for another trail marker. The trail did a ton of meandering up shoulders, into valleys, etc... The blowdown was pretty bad, it wasn't so bad that you had to crawl or climb over it much (the woods were wide open) but it was bad enough to throw you off the trail. Eventually we dropped down and crossed roaring brook. From here the trail continued to be ill defined and choked with blow down. If the woods had not been so open we would have never made the summit. We stumbled our way through the woods until we hit the power line, we lucked out and Nicole pretty much found every re-entry into the woods whenever the trail went into a clearing. Eventually we reached where Gore was installing a new lift, we lucked out and crossed the trail and immediately found the continuation of the trail.
The coolest part of the hike was the amphitheater on the side of the mountain. It is a large bowl surrounded by cliffs. We followed a newly cut trail (NOT the DEC trail) to the left to an amazing glacial erratic. At the erratic we realized that this wasn't the trail, so we back tracked until we saw a marker. Once at the marker we continued climbing up/down/around blow down until we reached a fern/berry glade. At the top of the glade we reached one of the new trails cut by Gore. Here we got hosed up, we couldn't see where the trail continued so we just ended up bushwhacking up hill in a drainage. The drainage eventually brought back to the trail we had just crossed and I began to worry we wouldn't make the summit. I suggested that we follow the ski trail to the top and hopefully it would have an option to get to the true summit (I don't know if it would or not). Luckily Nicole spotted some flagging (actually yarn!) on a tree that marked where the trail re-entered the woods.
From here the trail was very well defined and a pleasure to walk on. Eventually we reached the spot where the hiking would be on ski trails for the rest of the hike. The climb from the saddle lodge to the summit was pretty lame; although the views from the ski trails were alright. There were some annoying pointless ups and downs between the gondola and the final summit climb.
At the summit we were disappointed to see such an uninviting tower. We walked back to the top of the ski area where we took a break in the summit warming hut. At the summit we decided we didn't want to descend the DEC trail (we didn't like the risk of losing the trail once and for all). Luckily we noticed there was a service road down to the base that was designated as a descent route for hikers who took the gondola up. A little ways down we met into someone else who had clearly hiked up as well (unlike all the gondola riders). We made some small talk and found out he came up from another side. I mentioned our plan, and he mentioned taking the gondola down. I jokingly said if he found a ride, and sees us thumbing a ride, please pick us up.
We descended the service road and it was nothing but punishment on the knees and ankles. The only good news about it is that we were able to cover the 3 miles from the summit to the base in about one hour. At the base lodge we crossed the parking lot and began our slog down the road. Every time a car passed we thumbed to try and find a ride (it would have been an additional 3.1 miles to the trip). Eventually a black Subaru passed, and slammed on the brakes. It turns out our friend from earlier on the mountain had found a ride, and also kept his promise. His friend made room for us in his car and drove us back to ours. We thanked them profusely and walked the last few yards to our car.
The Good and The Bad
The views were ok
The miserable condition of the trail
|We drove up Friday night to Perkins clearing road, Drove to Gore Saturday, on the way home we stopped in saratoga springs so I could test a drive mountain bike. Finally we stopped at plaza pizza to celebrate our wedding anniversary from earlier this week.|