October 20, 2021 at 4:32 pm #14224Karen PetersParticipant
There were only me and a non-club member on the hike. It was short notice plus I think my C3C rating might have discouraged potential participants. We had a zen day out there exploring. It was the second time that we tried for this objective. And we still didn’t make it all the way!
As it turned out the route we took was not the same as the lady on that link that I included in the posting. Ours started at a different spot and turned out to be longer. We chose to respect the “private road” and “cars will be towed” signs on Sasamat Lane so did not go there. Instead we parked legally on Indian River Road. From our cars on Indian River Road we headed north on Three Chop Trail then turned east on Old Elsay Trail and traversed around the bluffs that drop down into Indian Arm.
The distance might have been relatively short but almost all of it was navigating over roots and logs and boulders. It was slow going. We passed through several distinct microclimates each with its own distinct flora and landscapes. The creeks were numerous and the scale of some of the creek beds was impressive. However none of the crossings proved to be daunting even after all the recent rain.
The condition of the trails is great because not a lot of people us them. They are soft and bouncy like other north shore trails used to be before they got all eroded. Moss and ferns cover everything. Having said that there are parts that are pretty rugged. Some parts had ropes. Parts went along narrow slippery spots with steep drop offs and washouts. As our route was a loop we didn’t return the way we came and were kind of relieved that we didn’t have to do some of those sections twice in one day.
We eventually realized that we wouldn’t make it before night fall so decided to go off-route at around the halfway mark and struck out for an interesting-looking ridge. We had lunch basking in the sun at the top of the ridge overlooking Indian Arm and returned to our cars using the route the lady took. Her route was much easier than ours but it was boring. With bikes, or with a willingness to park illegally and risk towing, or with a charter boat, one could bike or drive or sail to a point a hundred metres below the trail junction and pretty well start the hike where we left off.
We are still determined to get to Mount Underhill and if the weather holds we will try for a third time. We likely won’t take the same approach we did yesterday. It is just too long. We will plan for some kind of transportation that will allow us to start the hike in the vicinity where we left off, making for a manageable hike of roughly 13 km and 750 m of ascent (and some scrambling) to the top. The stats for the route we did yesterday are: distance – 10 km; ascent – 811 m.
Postscript: some of the reviews on alltrails say this hike is a long slog with a low bang for the buck ratio. I thought it was a zen day of forest bathing taking in the energy of the forest ancients. Different strokes.
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