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June 23, 2013

Day of downpours turns into waterfall excursion

As anyone who has been in the North Country this spring can appreciate, the rainfall has turned every brook into a deluge. 

For me, waterfalls have become premier destinations. In an attempt to turn a rainy day last week into a memorable trip, I took a group to Snow Mountain to check out the falls.

Snow Mountain leaves from Route 73 in Keene Valley and heads up Deer Brook. The last time I was up Snow we were able to hike along the brook to the waterfall, but in 2011 Hurricane Irene obliterated the low trail so now you start into the woods but take the high trail that goes up a private road. The landowners along the road permit hikers to walk up but cars are not allowed. Hikers are asked to stay on the road all the way to the sign indicating where the trail resumes.

The waterfall on Snow is an exciting waterfall that is easy to access. It is steep and flows down from high overhead before rounding a corner and dropping over a long cascade. The flow was coming down so fast last week that we were surrounded in a cool mist. The sound was far too loud to speak over without shouting. The water doesn’t stay long, tumbling over the next drop and on down to join the Ausable River.

As hoped, the waterfall inspired us all and we got back on the trail to head for the nearby summit. Following a very moderate grade, we got up to the saddle between Snow and Hedgehog Mountain then turned up the 0.4-mile spur to the summit. The saddle was saturated in water and the trail was more like a long, narrow pool in places. We tried our best to stay on the trail but in some places the water was deep enough to come over the tops of low boots.

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