Friday, Oct. 4, 2013 – Two peaks, 8.6 miles, 3300 feet of elevation gain, in 9 hours.
By 8:25 I set off from a Gill Brook campsite, with my pack loaded for a full day outing to Colvin and Blake. Having learned my lesson on the Santanonis, I carried three liters of water. Made summit of Colvin in just under two hours (10:15). Despite the heavy overcast, enjoyed the view that extended from Skylight, through Haystack, Marcy, Basin, Saddleback, and Gothics, all the way to Armstrong and the Wolf Jaws. Peak #26 for me.
Descending Colvin and its ladders, I made the summit of much-maligned Blake by 12:20, #27 for me. A flattish summit and thick trees limited the views, but that flat rock at the summit is a perfect lunch seat.
Time did not permit and the cloudy gray day did not encourage returning via a long loop over Sawteeth, so I’d have to return the way I came. Given that route, there was ample time to see what Lookout Rock had to offer. I pushed southwest along the ridge trail, up and down a few bumps, but overshot Lookout Rock. Heading back, I double-checked the trail guide and kept my eye on the left side of the trail. There was Lookout Rock, an 8-foot high boulder on an unpromising stretch of trail, marked with a forlorn old green sign. I hopped up.
Wow! A magnificent view of Upper Ausable Lake, Marcy, and the Great Range, even on a cloudy day. And only four-tenths of a mile from the summit of Blake. Too far, I suppose, for the day-hikers who have endured the boredom of the Lake Road and the necessity to go up and down Colvin twice. But if the view from Lookout Rock was three miles from Route 73, there wouldn’t be room for all the hikers clamoring to see it.
Here’s an idea … Perhaps the USGS surveyors have made a mistake. Perhaps Lookout Rock is the true summit of Blake, and that other spot doesn’t count.
Heading back, I met my three friends from site #2 and encouraged them to visit Lookout Rock. Then I returned over Colvin, struggling a bit with a couple of steep descents on the northeastern side.
By late afternoon, the clouds finally let loose the rain, and I donned my poncho. I like this big, green, multi-purpose tarp/poncho, but it tends to snag a bit and slows me down. By 5:30, I was as mentally tired as I have ever been from a hike. Not physically exhausted, but with the rain, after 11 hours of hiking (including the pre-dawn jaunt to Fish Hawk Cliffs), and watching my steps with the poncho, I’d had enough.