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Thread: W. Stoppel & Stoppel Point 04/27/14

  1. #1
    Senior Member Rob S's Avatar
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    W. Stoppel & Stoppel Point 04/27/14

    The morning started mostly cloudy and a bit chilly, 37F at the parking area near Colgate Lake. The summits of all three Blackheads were in the clouds, and yet small pieces of blue skies could be seen here and there. I had driven to the last PA on the left, near the big field. Based on the hunting decals on the windows, I think the pick-up trucks at the other PA’s belonged to turkey hunters, … so I stayed away.

    Crossed Colgate Rd and into the woods. A few minutes later at the stream, I took off my boots and socks to cross. Probably could have made it safely across without doing that, but the rocks were very slippery and I didn’t want to take any chances being alone. Surprisingly, the water was not as cold as I had expected.

    Climbing West Stoppel, the views to the north through the leafless trees were quite good. The clouds over the Blackheads slowly began to lift. I could see a fresh coating of snow above about 3300 feet. Continuing steeply upwards, a shiny mylar balloon on the ground caught my attention, so I packed it out.

    I ascended the ridge towards the small bump just west of W. Stoppel, and then to the col between the two. There is an old woods road in the col that seems to connect the valleys on either side, and it appears easy to follow. This might be fun to explore on a future trip.

    The summit of West Stoppel is broad and flat. No signs of man anywhere, but lots of deer. Continued across the summit and took a bearing for Stoppel Point. This section of the whack was the most fun and interesting part of the entire day. Heading down to the col, there are gorgeous stands of conifers, some areas got quite thick, and there were many rock shelves, alcoves, and a small grotto that gives you the feeling you were the first one ever there.

    Once in the col, I came across a small bog, or glacial tarn perhaps. In looking at the map, sure enough, there is a small “dot” of water shown at that location. Shortly after leaving the bog, I found yet another mylar balloon on the ground. This makes the 5th or 6th in the last year that I’ve found while bushwhacking. There must be hundreds, or thousands, of these things littering the woods.

    The climb up to Stoppel Point was not what I expected. I thought it would be extremely steep but the grade was never all that bad. I kept waiting for cliff bands, but the terrain was relatively gradual, …. much more so than the climb up W Stoppel’s north side. The thing that slowed me down was areas of very think conifers. But it was fun trying to negotiate the maze and attempting to find the “path of least resistance”. Often, I would come to a dead-end choked with blowdown, and would turn around to push my way through a different spot. Occasionally, it would open up a bit, and you could kind of see where to plot the next few dozen yards of progress. There was a ton of deer poop in these open areas, some of the biggest I had ever seen.

    The snow flurries began, but the air temp seemed to be around 40F. The petite flakes did not stick, and melted moments after landing. It actually snowed hard for about 30 seconds, and then a few minutes later, the sun was out again.

    Continuing upwards through the conifers, the forest suddenly turned deciduous, and the grade became even easier. Minutes later, I was on the Escarpment Trail, about 2 or 3 tenths of a mile north of the lookout at Stoppel Point. Made my way over to the viewpoint for a few photos, and then back north on the trail. Stopped briefly at the plane crash site, and then continued on to have lunch at Milt’s lookout, another nice viewpoint looking east.

    Continued on the Escarpment trail to Dutcher’s Notch, and then began descending the yellow trail back to the parking area. This trail is very cool near the notch itself, with towering walls of rock on either side of you. The lower section of trail is very wet in some areas, and constantly changing directions to avoid the areas of private property. The newer bridges are real nice, though. Great job to the trail crews!

    11 miles total, 4.25 miles off-trail, 6.75 mile on-trail.

    PHOTOS

  2. #2
    Moderator Peakbagr's Avatar
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    Great write up, Rob and gorgeous photos. I like all of them but there's one that really caught my attention....Thanks, buddy.
    "The fact that going off the deep end appears
    to be a requisite to doing anything of consequence
    in this life has not escaped me." Jim Harrison

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