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Giant Ledge and Panther bushwhack up Giant Ledge Brook, 04/24/2021

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  • Giant Ledge and Panther bushwhack up Giant Ledge Brook, 04/24/2021

    I didnt have much time for a hike yesterday, but just enough time to revisit this spot that i havent been to in too long. I am trying to find more interesting ways to these peaks, and wanted to avoid the situation that can be the hairpin parking lot, so recalling something someone had said about the woods due west-southwest of the ridge i targeted Giant Ledge stream (or Cascade Brook via the Steven F Fischer memorial plaque).
    I parked at the perfect little lot right off the bridge on CR47 and worked my way northeast paralleling the brook along an apparent old logging path, then sweeping more east and gaining elevation toward Giant Ledge over the ledge/flat/repeats. The woods were mostly open as hoped for, but i occasionally felt like a dual-slalom skier working my way through the small whipping growth. This was a perfect time of the year for this whack, as within a half hour through the bare trees i got a visual on Giant Ledge's northern shoulder to ensure my bearing. As i approached i contemplated hitting the col and then going up GL's northern section of trail to the viewpoints, but decided on going right up and over the summit area. To this point the woods had been mostly dry with no snow or ice at all, and I found many fun scrambles, as well as a bunch of lingering small ice walls, on the final push up. I hit the trail by the northern viewpoints i found one to my liking and was sitting barefoot on a pleasant ledge within an hour or so of leaving my truck. I felt very fortunate on a warm sunny saturday morning to have it all to myself before the expected masses arrived, and for over half an hour i could hear only the wind down below from that spot. Super peaceful.
    After getting socks and shoes back on i headed down to the col on the trail, and getting chilled by the wind i was surprised to find a designated campsite there. I dont remember this the other times i was there, and i thought that would be a good camping spot to prepare for a serious cold-weather expedition given the nasty wind that moved through. I soon got to Panther's southern viewpoint, and not realizing that was there either in the past, yesterday i sat there for another half hour scoping out the valley and burroughs range. From that vantage point i thought Slide looked much like Algonquin peak from Wright up in the ADK, with Slide's northeast "bowl" apparently still having a good deal of snow and ice. I immediately started snapping pics and recalled seeing a trip report or two of that approach to Slide's summit, and am determined to check that out sometime soon.
    Getting moving again up Panther, i was surprised to find a group of 4 descending from the summit. I hadn't gone to the hairpin lot prior to parking by the bridge so i didnt know if other hikers had already been on the trail yet but i guess i was assuming i was early enough to have first tracks on the day. Turns out the group of 4 had been on Giant Ledge for sunrise before heading to Panther's summit after. I am sure that is an even better way to beat the crowds on GL and Panther.
    Moving up the fun scrambles to the summit, i sat for a bit up on the top rocks checking my map for the descent. i was hoping to descend following the top of panther's southwest ridge, and then cross the brook once close to CR47, but was wary of dropping into the wrong valley too far north of the exit brook. Plunging down from the summit, i could go only by compass as the trees were thicker than i expected for awhile heading down and i had no visual on the ridge i wanted, and ended up dropping too far southwest down into the start of the exit drainage before i could finally actually see my whereabouts. Realizing this was better than being in the wrong valley and drainage, and not wanting to reclimb to the ridge top, i sidehilled downhill for awhile, before giving up that treacherous endeavor in the mossy rock fields and dropped all the way down towards the ravine, and ended up partaking in an awesome brook-whack the rest of the way out to the bridge. Many beautiful small falls and pools and rock formations, and had i had more time i definitely would have been barefoot for awhile again relaxing somewhere in that stretch.
    Getting down to the road, I was amazed by the brook's larger waterfalls and pools just past the bridge, and was upset at not knowing about them with having driven over that bridge so many times.
    This hike turned out to be 6.3 miles long with about 2100ft ele gain, and I highly recommend using that little parking area by the bridge on CR47 as a starting point for GL and Panther, as i imagine even with growth on the trees in the summer that drainage is a terrific handrail for navigation.
    "...don't assume you can't do it...we all make mistakes and sometimes fail. Keep working and learning, and be committed to improving fitness, and there is no limit to what you can do." Joe Bogardus
    "I believe it is in our nature to explore, to reach out into the unknown. The only true failure would be not to explore at all." Ernest Shackleton

  • #2
    That's a route Doodles and I took several times with many different variations, including going from the main parking area. Its a great wild flower trip, obtaining the Panther ridge to the north(?).I highly recommend the in the dark, in a snowfall, with high winds version.

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    • #3
      Sounds like a great hike! There are two relatively new campsites in the col between GL and Panther. While I applaud trying to relocate some of the crowds from the busy summit/viewing area of GL, I am not really keen on their locations. For one thing the wind in that col is always significant and having campfires in that area seems like a recipe for disaster. The other, is that the col is simply quite narrow and the one site is really close to the trail, something I would prefer did not happen. The other one is located a distance away from the trail.

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      • bikerhiker
        bikerhiker commented
        Editing a comment
        i didnt notice the 2nd site, but yeah the first was easily scoped out right from the trail, usually to check out a designated campsite you need to take a walk off the trail for awhile towards where the sign is pointing, you cant just turn you head from the marked trail and see it, definitely something i thought was odd. I also noticed the obvious illegal site right off panther's summit that i think had a "fire ring" also.

    • #4
      I just did this exact hike this past Sunday. The only difference is I stayed atop the ridge coming off Panther for quite a while before make a left to descend back to the stream. The ridge narrows dramatically (similar to the land bridge between Fir and Big Indian), and I found several amazing viewpoints back towards Panther, the backside of GL where I had ascended, and the Burroughs Range. I, too, noticed the waterfalls and pools on the other side of the bridge and am planning to check them out sometime soon.

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      • mudhook
        mudhook commented
        Editing a comment
        Blowdown Gangster, remind me to tell you of those falls.
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