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Submitted By Michael Virdone

The Mountains & Stats

16 miles with 4768 feet of gain
  • Belfry (1820 Feet, NY) globe Mountain
  • Lyon (3830 Feet, NY) globe Mountain
  • Spruce (2003 Feet, NY) globe Mountain
  • Pitchoff (3600 Feet, NY) globe Mountain

People On The Trip

Trip Report

     The VFTT BBQ is one of my favorite events of the year. It's a great time, with great people, great food, and great beer. This year Nicole and I took Friday off to enjoy a long weekend for the festivities. I couldn't think of a plan for the hiking (the forecast was questionable, so I didn't want to do any of our remaining peaks). I finally decided we should try doing a light weight overnight (carry our winter day packs instead of our over filled overnight packs). The plan was to drive up Thursday night and hike into deer brook leanto (typically never full). Friday morning we would hike big slide and out over the brothers while carrying our packs.



      The mighty deer brook leanto

      Late Thursday night we arrived at the Garden trailhead and found the parking lot to be surprisingly full. We checked the trail register and no one was signed in for either bear brook or deer brook leanto so we decided to go for it. We took off, the light weight of our packs was definitely noticeable and we moved quickly. When we reached bear brook it was full but we weren't too concerned. Unfortunately when we reached deer brook it was also full. We decided to not try and camp out (we were tentless). We hiked back out a little faster than we hiked in. Once back at the car we drove to Spencer's house. We drove in the back way, unfortunately the field was slick from the recent rains and I ended up getting my car stuck in the mud. Someone defeated we left the car where it was, set up the tent, and went to bed.


      Kane & Belfry

      Since our plan for doing Big Slide got canceled we decided to continue our fire tower challenge. We drove up to Lyon mountain and parked at the trailhead. The first part of the hike was along an old woods road, with the exception of a few culverts it would be easily mountain bikeable. Eventually the trail turns quite steep and rocky. Near the top the rain started and didn't cease until we summited and began our descent. Unfortunately we didn't get to enjoy any of the views from the summit. After hiking we did some grocery shopping in Plattsburgh and got lunch.

      After lunch we drove down to Belfry mountain. This fire tower has a great view after a very short easy hike along a gravel road. After our second hike we returned to Spencer's to enjoy the evenings festivities. After milling about for a while we all went out to dinner and I had a great bowl of French onion soup.



      The forecast for Saturday was just as questionable as the previous day's forecasts so we decided to play it conservative again. Nicole and I had wanted to do Pitchoff for quite some time so we mentioned that during the discussions Friday night. By the time Saturday came around a bunch of people decided to do Pitchoff as well. We spotted a car at the trailhead closer to Keene and then started our hike from near the Cascade trailhead. The trail climbed steadily at first and then over some shoulders of Pitchoff (there were some ledges with views almost immediately). After a while we came to the spot where a huge boulder had ripped from the mountainside and cut a swath down into the valley, it was pretty amazing to see that sort of destruction. After a little while Spence & Brian led us off the beaten path onto the old path up the mountain. This route brought us through some pretty awesome class 3 scrambles below the erratics. After some really fun climbing we took a break on a ledge below the erratics and picked all the blueberries we could find.

      After a while we continued our climb, somehow we got separated into two groups, we stayed with Brian and continued in the direction of the summit. We waited for a while but they never caught up. We yelled to them, they yelled to us, eventually we yielded and headed back. I'm really glad that we did because Spencer showed us some really cool caves near the erratics. After hanging out on the ledge for a while we headed to the summit. The climb was straightforward and after a little while we arrived. At the summit boulder we all took turns trying to climb on the summit rock like idiots.

      After enjoying the summit we began our descent down the mountain. All along the way there were assorted ledges that gave us views off both sides of the ridge. The descent ended up being quite strenous as there were a number of bumps to descend and climb (steeply both ways). After a while we descended back to the car and celebrated a hike well done.

      That evening the party at Spencer's was a great time and I can't wait to go again next year.




      After recovering from the party we began our drive home. Almost directly in our route was Spruce mountain. We arrived at the trailhead and began our climb. Most of the hike was on an old woods road so the grades and footing weren't too bad. Near the top we traversed a fern glade (where my winter baskets finally annoyed me enough for me to take them off) where the trail diverged (both trails lead to the summit). Shortly after the glade we reached the summit (no views, no access to the tower). On our way down the grade was such that it was easier to run down than walk. As we were running I tripped and found myself flying head first into a tree. I was lucky enough to divert my face from impact, but I did lay my shoulder into the tree pretty badly. Luckily other than a mean scratch on my shoulder I made it out unscathed. The drive home was uneventful (although we did stop at plaza pizza for lunch!) and we spent the rest of the day relaxing after another great gathering.

The Good and The Bad

The Good:

Nifty climbing with Spencer & Brian
Another awesome party and campfire
Eating at Plaza Pizza
Eating wherever we ate Friday night

The Bad:

Diving into a tree on Spruce
The lack of views on Spruce

The Drive

Nothing special other than the detour to the garden on Thursday night


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