November 6. Our trip was really three hikes in one: Spy Rock, The Priest, and Crabtree Falls. Chris drove us to the trailhead at the Montebello Fish Hatchery, and we started hiking upward toward Spy Rock about 11:15. It was a cold day and I started with a couple of layers. I would be stripping and adding layers all day, until we settled at camp that night, at which point I put on everything I had. The first half mile of the hike was up a steep old woods road. There was very little fall color left, but I did see this firey maple early in the hike:
Here is Chris hoofing it up the woods road:
We reached the Appalachian Trail, and started heading towards Spy Rock, just over a mile away. Here I am, standing next to a tree that reminded me of a gigantic elephant's foot:
We started running into patches of snow, but we never encountered any real accumulation. It was certainly cold enough for snow, but by now, the exertion of hiking uphill had led me to strip down to one layer. As long as I kept moving, it was enough.
We reached the junction to Spy Rock, hiking through a park-like forest with beautiful potential campsites (but no water). When we got to the "rock," a huge granite dome of sorts, there was no obvious way up. So we scrambled up, taking a good 20 minutes and several false starts. With 360 degree views, it was well worth the exertion. There were many, many people on the rock, and we had encounterd lots of folks on the trail. The winds on the exposed rock were strong and cold, so it was time to put the fleece back on, as well as my hat and gloves. We found a protected spot and ate our lunch of sesame bagels with peanut butter and honey, fig newtons, and hot chocolate. We enjoyed the views for a while, talked to a number of people on the rock, then packed up and scrambled (with a little sliding involved) back down to the Appalachian Trail. Next stop: Priest Mountain!
Here are some pictures from Spy Rock.
View to the southwest:
Art on Spy Rock:
Ice chunks in a puddle:Chris on Spy Rock:
View towards the north, where we are heading for the night:
Panorama of part of the view from Spy Rock:
To be continued...