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Old 09-10-2018, 03:55 PM   #1
Charlie
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Redfield & Cliff - #44,45

What a perfect two days to be in the mountains!

The Mountain Goat and I were heading down the road to Upper Works by 6:30 am on Friday, we passed the Allen Mt. trail head, and were surprised to see the lot completely empty. Found the Upper works lot about 3/4 full. Got on the trail by 7 am with a plan to make a decision on our camp for the evening along the way. The temps were in the low 50's with the promise of a bluebird day!

Reached flowed lands in under 2 hours, the lean-to and adjacent campsites, also empty. Our campsite decision was going to be based on how crowded it was to avoid any bear encounters and it was looking like it was not going to be crowded at all. We skirted around the Flowed lands and decided to check out the designated sites on the other side of the Opalescent past the Herbert Brook lean-to, which was occupied. We followed the ski trail for a short while, rock hopped the river and easily found the first (or last) site along the spur trails open. It looked too good to pass up so we set up quick and were on our way toward Redfield by 9:30 ish. Another population count along the way, all camps and the lean-to on this side of the river were empty.

The trail along the Opalescent is one of my favorites and although Brendan was keeping us at a good pace, I had to stop many times to enjoy the sites and sounds, I'll have many photos to share on my website within a couple of days. We checked out the deep pool at the bridge where the spur trail meets the Mt. Marcy trail and were pleased to see a sizable native brook trout chillin' in the depths.

The flume is something to behold and I wondered just how cold the water at the bottom of those pools was. One of our camp options was going to be a wilderness camp just above the flumes where the grade of the land is fairly flat on the east side of the trail . We did investigate this area and in a pinch I think it could be an option, especially if you had a hammock setup. We didn't see too many level flat spots of any size for a two man tent, but we also didn't venture too far back either so there may very well be some better options a little deeper in the woods, it's level for a good bit there.

We passed the trail junction near the Uphill LT and looked upon the muddy beginning of the trail to Cliff as we headed to Redfield. The trail is in good shape but if you've ever been you know that the entire trail from the flowed lands and up is full of large boulders so while the steep ascent doesn't start for a while, it's rugged enough to make you work. I did enjoy the trail to Redfield and even commented that it was fairly unique to me compared to all the others. We reached summit by 1:30 and were not to be disappointed with the views facing south from a lookout. It was also very warm on that rock compared to the north side of the mountain, makes sense. There is an awesome view toward the north just off the trail below the summit as well.

Knowing we had another mountain to conquer and a decent trek back to camp, we didn't stay very long. The descent off Redfield was making me feel the rugged miles a little by this time as well. Before long we were at the Cliff junction, we chatted with a group of 5 from New Jersey who were doing an annual adventure, staying multiple days and just climbing the mountains that appealed to them, no pressure. I like that.

Cliff starts off with attitude with it's mud and very quickly with it's very steep ascent and rock face scrambling, would that qualify as bouldering? I was grateful for the rope that was left at one of the taller rock faces. Of course I knew it by looking at the map but was still very annoyed at the false summit and trek over to the real summit. No views on Cliff either so I was happy to get number 45, but I am not a huge fan of Cliff, especially after having already done over 10 miles and Redfield. In fact I think it will be the mountain I list as my least favorite when I send in my 46er application. Don't get me wrong, I'd rather climb Cliff Mt. than go to work, mow my lawn, shovel snow or sit in traffic any day, but since the question is asked, I think it is my least enjoyable to date.

Back at camp by 5 or 5:30 I think, we really enjoyed our spot near the Opalescent, and I couldn't resist sitting on a boulder and letting my feet get healed by the cold running mountain stream. Man did that feel good! We cooked well away from camp, and enjoyed the river some more just relaxing until the sun was hiding behind the mountains. The weather was getting cooler as the sun went down and I was thinking it was going to be just right for sleeping. In the tent before dark and probably sleeping by 7:30 or 8, my body was feeling the effort. It did get chilly overnight, no sign of bears all night until about 6 am when I heard someone in a nearby camp letting Yogi know he was not welcome. They were probably 100 yards from us at most so I laid there waiting for a visitor, but we were never bothered. At breakfast we also noticed that our canister wasn't even touched so we must've done it right, kept a very clean site and cooking area.

Panorama from Redfield looking north
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Pano from Refield.jpg (58.9 KB, 73 views)
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Old 09-11-2018, 04:18 PM   #2
SpencerVT
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That Pano is awesome!

I wonder if there will ever be a re-route of the Cliff herd trail? When I did it I literally could have swam in the mud up the mountain. You know the herd trail is in rough shape when the better option is to bushwhack off it! I talked to a 46r who did it in the 70s and he said it was bad even 40+ years ago.
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Old 09-11-2018, 04:28 PM   #3
Charlie
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It looks like the 46er's (and others I am sure) have done a fair amount of work along a section of the muddy trail, there are literally hundreds of logs going across horizontally, looks like an old plank road. We would have been wading through that section if not for those logs, but there are still some nasty spots near the beginning and along the route at other places.
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Old 09-12-2018, 11:48 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charlie View Post
It looks like the 46er's (and others I am sure) have done a fair amount of work along a section of the muddy trail, there are literally hundreds of logs going across horizontally, looks like an old plank road. We would have been wading through that section if not for those logs, but there are still some nasty spots near the beginning and along the route at other places.
Sounds to me like some of the old corduroy, which I noticed both times I was up there - mostly in the first part before starting up the mt itself. I believe there was an old road through the pass there, and (?) maybe a trail for a while too. Personally I hate corduroy: slippery & tricky underfoot.
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