A Contrast of SeasonsThis was done as a day hike and as a 3500' club outing. We all met at the trail head parking area on Route 42. As it was still winter- by both the calender and by the snow that will linger on the summits weeks after it has melted off the lowers slopes- I insisted that all participants have full winter hiking gear. I got alot of ribbing about that from everyone when we saw that the parking lot and lower elevations were actually snow free. But as it turned out, we would be needing the snowshoes, afterall.
The route was one that I was familar with- having done it already once or twice before back in the fall. I figured it would be even better in the winter. For one, with the leaves down the views would be opened up and also everything would be solidly frozen inplace.
To start the bushwack the group walked south on 42 a short distance until we crossed over Bear Hole Brook. On the far side of the brook I left the road and started up the ridge, first on an old woods road that parallels the Brook's south bank. That road peters out at an old homestead/clearing where a rock lined cellar hole is all that remains of a building. From there we climbed the side of the ridge until we topped out and then we turned right and continued up towards the summit of Van Wyck along a very gentle and wooded-over ridge. Only the last 1-200 hundred feet is steep and at all challenging- otherwise this is an easy walk in the woods up to a seldom visited summit (Van Wyke).
We passed the remains of a small airplane wreck that is on the top of this ridge in a spot where the ridge is particularly flat. A small metal plaque found nailed on a tree told the story and names of the four who died here. At about this place the snow patches that we had been passing coalesced into a snow field and on went the snow shoes. No more grumbles. Now everyone was happy not to be post holing thru the wet late winter snow pact.
A short distance further and the ridge steepens for the final climb to the top. It was a real contrast of seasons, for while it felt like spring at the beginning of this hike, it was decidely winter on the summits.
After a short rest on Van Wycks snowy summit we pushed on towards Table, catching the land bridge connecting the two Mountains. We popped out of the thick fir and balsam trees close to the location of the ertswhile canister. All that remains of the canister is hatchet strike, a few small holes and a section of metal band on a balsam tree that is hard on the side of the trail. The canister was removed once the Long Path Trail was offically routed and blazed over this mountain.
A short walk over to Peekamoose on the trail and then we all walked out to the trailhead.
It had been a full and long day of play in the woods.