Adirondack Hiker

Sunday, May 14, 2006

The Great Range (Part 5) - Ore Bed Brook Trail

The difficult descent down the steep, wet rock of Gothics was over. From here we would be heading down the Ore Bed Brook trail back to our lean-to. We had expected this part of the trip to be fairly easy. We were wrong.

The trail isn't located next to the brook or somewhere conveniently nearby -- the trail is the brook. And as if walking several miles down a brook isn't challenging enough, it was a rapid descent and still covered by snow and ice. In most parts, the water is at least quite shallow, just coating the surface of the rocks as it flows downstream. However, when walking over the snow and ice covering, there is really no way to know what's below you. It wasn't at all uncommon for the snow or ice to collapse out from under us, sending our feet ankle deep in water. Needless to say, our boots were water-logged.

Seth and Ed (left to right) coming down the Ore Bed Brook trail -- water, snow, and ice. (5/6/06, 4:54 p.m.)

In several places along the trail steps have been built to help in the descent down some particularly steep and slippery locations. These helped, but there were plenty of other segments of the trail just as steep and slippery without any ladders. In the lead, navigating one of these segments, Adam took a slide down a particularly icy slope. I watched from behind him as he slid downwards with no way to stop. Luckily, before the slide ended with a splash into a few inches of water, he was able to swing his body around and catch his pack on a lone tree strump. This might have been a startling event earlier in the day, but by now it was nothing new. It just let the rest of us know to choose a different route down that portion of trail.

Eventually, the trail began to break away from the brook itself and move to more solid ground. At this point, we had lost enough elevation that the snow and ice had nearly disappeared. We were on course to make it back to camp shortly after 6:00 p.m.

We had been planning to camp at the lean-to again that night and head back out to the car in the morning. However, after this trip, Seth had proposed the idea of packing up camp and heading back out immediately upon arrival to the lean-to. Ed and I concurred, agreeing that this trip should be over as possible. Adam was the lone dissenter, still suggesting that we camp the night. The vote was 3-1 in favor, so the decision was to head straight out. Once again, we made the wrong call.


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