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Thread: Potash Mountain 4/27/2014

  1. #1
    Member hiker0200's Avatar
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    Potash Mountain 4/27/2014

    The backstory:

    Prior to today, I've attempted to summit Potash Mtn. three times, all with my Dad, and failed each time. On the first attempt (July 2009), we had to turn back due to thunderstorms; on the second attempt (July 2010), we thought we reached the top when we got to the first good ledge viewpoint, so we called it a day there; and on the third attempt (July 2013), we turned back at the Downes Brook crossing, which was difficult as usual.

    I didn't turn back today- after five years, I finally summited this thing! Not under the best weather and trail conditions, but I did it! I didn't hike it with my Dad, though; I flew solo for this one.

    Thinking back to my July 2013 attempt (difficult Downes Brook crossing), and realizing that the spring melting would only make it worse, I drove 0.6 mile west and parked at the start of FR 11, which I walked to the Mt. Potash Trail to avoid that crossing. The road had some big patches of snow down low, and most of the bare spots were very soft. To top it all off, it was raining. I thought to myself, "Screw it. I'm here, so I might as well hike something." After a little while, I turned right onto the Mt. Potash Trail.

    This trail, upon leaving the forest road, had some standing water, wet leaves, and mud. After the clearcut beside the forest road and below the trail went out of view, out came the monorails .Thankfully, they were mostly stable. I had spikes just in case, but I barebooted the whole thing because I didn't feel like taking them out and they wouldn't do much good on the slushy spring snow.

    Eventually I came to my old nemesis, the ledge viewpoint. I took in the cloudy view and then headed down the trail I didn't see before. It was on this section where I saw the first person I would see all day, and she said that it was snowing on the top: eek:. The other person I saw today, who I saw right below the top, said it was snowing too, but it stopped.

    From the ledge to the beginning of the wet, smooth near-summit ledges, the monorails were very prevalent and very mushy, although they were still somewhat stable. Once I got to the wet rock below the top, I knew I'd be in for a challenge, particularly going down. I was careful, and I soon made it to the 2,680 ft. summit, where there was a view, but not a good one (most of the visible mountains were socked-in, but Potash itself wasn't). I took a quick lunch/view appreciation break and then carefully headed down.

    Potash, despite the sloppy weather and trail conditions, was a neat little hike, and one I have to do when the trails are dry and it's sunny. Now I gotta bring my Dad here so he can see what he missed!

    Here's a video from the day, if you're interested:
    http://youtu.be/WkuevFzEkqY
    NH4K: 48/48 (Completed 10/4/2014)
    NE4K: 67/67 (Completed 7/25/2016)
    NEFF: 31/50
    NEHH: 75/100

  2. #2
    Senior Member WhiteMTHike's Avatar
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    Congrats on summiting. Potash has always been one of my favorite hikes in the entire WMNF. It may not be a 4k footer but the views are spectacular. I've always been lucky with the Downes Brook. Usually the water level is not that high. Although I did manage to fall in once. However it was a hot summer day so I didn't mind.

    BTW, that first good ledge viewpoint has actually been good enough for me a few times. The views are just as good as at the summit
    "The laborers day ends with the going down of the sun, and he is then free to
    devote himself to his chosen pursuit, independent of his labor and his
    employer". Henry David Thoreau

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