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Big Indian -> Fir -> Spruce -> Hemlock -> Winnisook Lake Peak(s) 10/20/2018

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  • Big Indian -> Fir -> Spruce -> Hemlock -> Winnisook Lake Peak(s) 10/20/2018

    Today my bushwhacking partner-in-prime TBPDPTI and I made a nice traverse from Big Indian to Winnisook Lake Mountain, hitting the summits of Fir, Spruce & Hemlock along the way. It was a great October day to be out in the woods!

    We dropped bikes near the Slide Mountain parking area around 6:45 AM. It was still pretty dark out but fortunately locking bikes to a tree doesnít require much light. It was lightly raining. Minutes later, we were at the Biscuit Brook trailhead gearing up and getting ready to rock.

    The Biscuit Brook trail was covered in leaves and a little hard to follow in the low light. Once we crested the first hill, it was smooth sailing and the light rain even let up. All brook crossings were easy rock hops. Two hours later, we were standing atop Big Indian in a light mist. We encountered nobody along the way.

    The trek from Big Indian to Fir was surprisingly easy - at least easier than I had remembered from my last traverse six years ago. We followed intermittent herd paths along the way, and arrived at Firís canister 70 minutes after leaving Big Indian. Quick snack break and then onward to Spruce. These woods were also delightfully open and the ~1 mile bushwhack took us barely 45 minutes with open woods the whole way. Spruce to Hemlock was just as nice. We were standing atop Hemlok at 11:30AM, just 3 1/2 hours after having started.

    The most demanding terrain of the day was definitely the stretch from Hemlock to the twin summits of Winnisook Lake Mountain. Lots of leaf/moss-covered rocks and femur eaters. The west summit of Winnisook Lake Mountain had a huge wide open area; very interesting. The true summit was large but fully wooded, with some nice screened views of Slide Mountain across the valley.

    We descended from the col between the twin Winnisook Lake summits and headed directly downhill toward Route 47. It was a steep but remarkably quick descent. Within 20 minutes, we were back on Route 47 just a few tenths of a mile from where we had stashed our bikes. The ~15min bike ride (mostly downhill) back to the Biscuit Brook Trailhead was a great way to end the adventure, delivering us back to the car by 1 PM.
    From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

  • #2
    Sounds like a really good and interesting hike. The summit of Winnisook Lake sounds interesting. I'll have to head up there soon!
    To Go and to See
    Is to Know and to Be

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    • #3
      Another way to do this is to start at Slide PA and come out at McKinnely, adding Eagle and Haynes. Did you notice the "stoneheges" between Fir and Spruce and atop Winnisook? Catch the right snow conditions and the area between Hemlock and The Winnisooks can be a walk in the park.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by mudhook View Post
        Another way to do this is to start at Slide PA and come out at McKinnely, adding Eagle and Haynes.
        That's a great idea. When we finished this hike, despite having climbed four "official" peaks and traveling 5+ miles off-trail, we both felt as though we could have done more. Although perhaps McKinnely Hollow -> Winnisooks would make for a more enjoyable bike ride at the end...

        Originally posted by mudhook View Post
        Did you notice the "stoneheges" between Fir and Spruce and atop Winnisook? Catch the right snow conditions and the area between Hemlock and The Winnisooks can be a walk in the park.
        Yes, we saw lots of very interesting rock formations at several locations on the ridge. Definitely a cool place.
        From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

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        • #5
          We did a similar hike to what Jim describes a few years ago starting with Winnisook but also adding Balsam after Eagle/Haynes and coming down the Lost Clove trail.

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