Thursday, June 21, 2012

Adirondacks Day 2 (B) - Thurs 6/21/12

Part 4, Indian Pass Trail to Rocky Falls

Typical Adirondacks Trail
Once camp has been set, and lunch eaten, everyone is very anxious to get out on a trail and be moving. A quick look at a map shows one easy option which we settle on quickly: an out-and-back from the campground to Rocky Falls, a scenic spot a little under two and a half miles out the Indian Pass Trail. This trail passes the side trails to Mount Jo, a 2,900 foot mountain that overlooks the north end of Heart Lake and has great views of the big mountains to the south. (More on Mount Jo later).

1:30pm - Our hike begins right from our campsite (although I started the track map below at the information center), and after all the time in the van it is great to be moving. My only complaint, and it is a minor one, is that my left heel has been bothering me for the last few days, and I have no idea why. I have not been doing anything physical, and I don't remember feeling anything at any point, but my left heel in the area of my achilles and below my ankle is very sore to walk on. It is annoying, not limiting in any way, but it is persistent and doesn't go away.

Indian Pass Brook below Rocky Falls
The trail is exactly what the entire trip's trails will prove to be like. Well maintained trails through mixed pine and deciduous woods. As on other hikes, we are almost always completely shaded. This is a pretty level one, with only minor ups and downs as we very gradually climb up the valley that would eventually lead to Indian Pass and ultimately Henderson Lake. It is a warm and humid day, but being in the shade makes it not bad at all. The trail is sometimes dry, sometimes a little sloppy, but most low areas have stepping stones, flattened log bridges, or even sections of corduroyed trail (rows of small logs laid perpendicular to the trail). Any small feeder stream or runoff that we cross has a bridge of some sort. Everything is green or brown, with no other colors in evidence. Nothing is flowering at the moment. Photo opportunities are limited, as everything kinda looks the same, and there are no vistas or overlooks down here in the valley.

Rocky Falls
2:45pm - After a little over an hour of walking in the woods, we come to the side trail down to Rocky Falls and head toward the sound of water over rocks. We come out on Indian Pass Brook a few hundred yards below the Falls, and it is beautiful. I have always loved everything about water, and working our way up the rocky stream bed is the kind of scenic lift I have been waiting for.

As we come around a clump of trees, we hear a dog barking, and then voices. On the other side we see two bikini clad women sunning themselves on large boulders in the stream. This of course provokes rampant speculation that only the warning barks of the dog gave them enough time to get their clothes back on before we got there (among other things). I remain skeptical, but it is nice to be among my childhood friends and know that in our mid-to-upper-forties we are still children at heart. Boys will be boys, and apparently men will also be boys.

Intrepid Explorers at Rocky Falls
The Falls themselves are not overly large, but are very picturesque, and it is very nice the way they cut through a narrow chute in the rock on either side. There is a small tower cairn of rocks atop the Falls. The guys lament that on this hot day we do not have swim gear (or the privacy to go without swim gear) to take advantage of the nice swimming hole. The water is cold (but not frigid) and is very clear; exactly what you would hope mountain stream water to be. We stop and rest for a few minutes, enjoying the spot, and snacking on whatever we happen to be carrying. This would be a nice lunch spot. After a relatively brief stop, and some picture taking, we head back the way we came.

3:45pm - We arrive back at the junction with one of the side trails to Mount Jo, and it is decided that Dave, Ted and Leo will do that, while Phil and I head back to camp and start thinking about dinner and chores. The trail to the summit only adds a couple miles, but is a steep climb in places. My heel is still bothering me, and I figure I might as well save myself for tomorrow's big day. Phil and I stop at the store for ice and firewood, and are back at the campsite by 4:05.
Camp to Rocky Falls and Back - 4.6 Miles
4:30pm - Leo shows up back at camp ahead of Dave and Ted. He hasn't been feeling 100% recently, and decided that he would also stop the Mount Jo hike partway in and come back and rest up. Dave and Ted show up within the hour having summited Mount Jo (which they had also done on the last trip), and we all settle in for the evening.

Next... First Night at Camp

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