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Snow and Rooster Comb -- 8/25/19

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  • Snow and Rooster Comb -- 8/25/19

    Snow and Rooster Comb had been on my hiking to-do list for a very long time. On Sunday I finally got around to crossing them off the list on what was an absolutely gorgeous day.

    I actually started the morning by pulling into Marcy Field and taking a quick walk up to Blueberry Falls to check that one off the waterfall list I'm working. It was a good warm-up for the day ahead. The falls are about 0.6 miles in and you gain just under 300 feet in elevation to get there. Unfortunately, they were at a trickle and wholly unimpressive. This was the first waterfall I've visited in quite a while that was a total disappointment. I should have known. Low water. Waterfalls wouldn't be watery or falling. I took the obligatory pictures which captured absolutely nothing worth sharing then I hustled back to my car and was off to Snow & Rooster Comb.

    I parked at one of the small pull-offs on Rte 73 where that crime against nature is still not verboten and got on the trail immediately. There were two ways to get where I was going: the trail that parallels Deer Brook or the "high water" route that goes up Deer Brook Way via the road, ducks into the woods after about a half mile and a 400 foot climb, then intersects the other trail about a tenth of a mile later. I reflexively opted for taking the trail along Deer Brook rather than the road/high water approach. I am so glad I did. The Deer Brook Trail is perhaps the most rugged and scenic at low elevation I have been on in the Adirondacks. Starting at around 1100' and ending around 1600' at the junction with the high water route, this trail was simply amazing. Traveling along the edge of the brook... high cliffs on either side towering above you... gigantic boulders dotting the way blocking trees that washed downstream from above... some pretty little cascades. It's just an eye-popping walk through here. But some of the trail was not easy to follow. You go up and down along the banks avoiding giant obstacles, cross the brook several times, and the trail seems to disappear every so often. Glad I had the warm-up at Blueberry Falls since this trail was unexpectedly a bit strenuous down low. Eventually I made it to the junction with the high water route (which required a few stops, head scratches, and curses while trying to figure out exactly where that might be) and shortly thereafter was at the bridge spanning Deer Brook a few hundred feet downstream of the oh-so-boringly named Deer Brook Falls.

    I, of course, took the spur trail to the base of the falls and found a trickle of water running there as well. They must be quite spectacular when the water is really rushing. They're like 80-100 feet tall and the view of them is perfectly framed from the trail. Interesting trade off though. If the water is high and the falls are roaring you would miss taking the trail along Deer Brook all the way up as there wouldn't be any way to safely negotiate it, and you would be relegated to taking the far less scenic high water trail. Great trail or great falls? Choose the great trail. I would definitely recommend checking it out when it's relatively dry. It's really worth the trip.

    I quickly made my way back to the main trail and in short order I reached the spur trail to Snow at around 2100'. It's only about a 300 foot climb from that junction to the summit and the trail gets a bit steeper as you gain elevation but there's nothing you encounter that I would call tricky. The high point itself is mostly treed in with some partial peeks at distant peaks. To get the whole view you must continue past the summit to the ledge a few hundred feet further along. And what a view it is. Wow! The panorama looking east to southeast is just breath-taking. It's one of the best views of Giant you will get. The Nubble in profile is a neat little feature to observe from there as well. You also look straight down Route 73 with Round and Noonmark standing out on the opposite side of the highway from Giant. There's really not enough superlatives to describe this view. I stayed for about a half hour enjoying the scenery then started toward Rooster Comb.

    Once at the base of the Snow spur trail you have another mile or so with 700 feet of elevation gain to reach Rooster Comb. There's nothing particularly difficult about the trail. It was actually quite routine. I was expecting something steeper and more rugged but got nothing of the sort. It was a relatively easy little climb.

    To this point in the day I had encountered just four people. It was a quiet, relaxing day filled with solitude and natural beauty. That would change. Well, the solitude part anyway. At the final trail junction below the Rooster Comb summit I could hear people two hundred vertical feet above me, and some 1000 feet away as the crow flies, yukking it up. Oh... just great. I knew my summit visit would be torture. Little did I know how torturous. In hindsight, my biggest mistake of the day was not heading to the "Valley View Ledge" from that junction first and waiting them out. Stupid. But I had it stuck in my head that I'd hit that on the way out so onward I marched without so much as considering it as an option.

    So I'm gonna be intentionally ambiguous about my summit visit and won't go into any detail or reveal what irritated me so. I'll just say my entire time there was taken up by others being totally oblivious to people around them. Time for some folks to brush up on Leave No Trace principle #7 - Be Considerate of Other Visitors. https://lnt.org/why/7-principles/be-...ther-visitors/

    As for the summit and the view? Call me a contrarian but I wasn't a huge fan. The view from Snow was far superior in my opinion. There's a cool look at Lower Wolfjaw but the rest is just okay. The view from the valley view ledge a few hundred feet below the summit is a much better view if you ask me. That is an interesting perspective you don't get from too many spots along Route 73. I much more enjoyed that spot than the summit. So, go judge for yourself. Definitely a mountain worth climbing. Happy I did, though the view from Snow outshined its taller neighbor.

    Lovely day out. Two more peaks and two more waterfalls added to my growing list of spots I've visited in the Adirondacks. Now if I could just dope out a quiet spot for a Labor Day weekend hike. Hmmm....


    Some pics from the day...

    Signs along the Deer Brook Trail...


    The Deer Brook Trail. Pop quiz... can you find the trail in this picture?!...


    Other sights you'll see along the rugged Deer Brook Trail...


    View to the northwest as you approach the summit of Snow... the cliffs of Rooster Comb, Big Slide, the Brothers, and Porter...


    From the same spot looking northwest at Porter...


    Views from ledge just past summit of Snow...
    Looking southeast at Round and Noonmark...


    Looking east at Giant...


    Looking south at Noonmark, Dix, Dial, and Nippletop...


    Panorama of Giant, Round, and Noonmark...



  • #2
    Final junction below Rooster Comb...


    Views from summit of Rooster Comb...
    Southeast toward Giant with Snow in middle of pic in foreground ...


    Panorama looking toward Giant. Hurricane (far left next to tree), Tripod, Spread Eagle & Hopkins in the shadows to the left of center, Green on horizon left of Giant, Giant, Round (right), and Snow (right of center in foreground)...


    Looking southwest at Lower Wolfjaw. Basin poking up and Marcy (right of center)...


    Looking west at Big Slide...


    Views from Valley View Ledge on Rooster Comb...
    Looking northeast at Hurricane (center)...


    Panorama looking northeast up Route 73 toward Keene Valley... Blueberry (left), Hurricane (right of center), and Tripod (right)...


    Panorama looking northwest at Big Slide, the Brothers, and Porter...


    Comment


    • tumbleweed
      tumbleweed commented
      Editing a comment
      Great TR and awesome pics! Sorry to hear about the summit time on Rooster Comb.

  • #3
    Very nice! I like the route you took as well, I never gave that direction a thought. When I did this group it was a loop from the other side.
    If by chance some day you're not feeling well and you should remember some silly thing I've said or done and it brings back a smile to your face or a chuckle to your heart, then my purpose as your clown has been fulfilled ~ Red Skelton

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