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SWIMMING THROUGH TREES: Copperas Cobble: A Short adventure in the Sentinel Range Wilderness

Enjoying the views from Copperas Cobble (Photo provided)

I read somewhere that nature is a natural antidote for the broken soul. Maybe a “broken soul” is too dramatic, but maybe it would be more fitting for the detoxing of a work week.

For me, it’s more of a release from whatever might be the ailment. For instance, on this day, it was a hike before the daily grind that started at 3 p.m., rather than a full day’s shenanigans for a week’s worth of being an adult.

I met up with another hiking friend for this little jaunt to an unnamed land feature we called Copperas Cobble, which is simply no more than a small knob above Copperas Pond. Chrissy was game for a little exploring.

Arriving at the trailhead for Copperas Pond on state Route 86 in the town of Wilmington, we opted not to stretch on our microspikes and save them from getting worn down on the open rock that this January hike gave us. However, it was icy and hardpacked, making us choose our steps properly. It was clear we would need them for the descent.

The climb was steep, steady and, of course, rocky. We arrived at Copperas Pond quickly and full of energy and optimism of a stellar view. The lean-to came next, and we passed this without a blink, jumping right on a herd path along the shore. The path didn’t last long, so we opted for the direct approach to the summit ridge and just started climbing over and through the rock jumbles and into the trees. The forest was not that bad until we hit the ridge. Once there, it was all relative. I didn’t think it was too dense and demanding, but I can see how others not used to being kicked around by spruce might feel violated by nature.

We worked slowly along the ridge and found an amazing glacial erratic on an open stamp of rock. We had to scramble to its top and take in the views. I mean, wouldn’t you? It wasn’t far from there that the summit presented itself in a welcoming fashion overlooking Copperas Pond. Chrissy explored a little beyond the summit and found us a whopper of a view.

My hope was to find a view off the opposite side of the mountain, looking more toward Whiteface Mountain, so we ventured a bit along the ridge, hugging those steep slopes. I think there was something over there, but we didn’t drop far enough to the face to stand upon it. The forest was just not having it. The deadfall along the ridge was trying. It wasn’t the worst I had seen, but it was just enough to push us back to the pond to complete the day with a snack at the lean-to.

On the way out, we tried to get a taste the cliffs of Notch Mountain, but they ended up being too slippery. And honestly, our four-legged hiking partner Abby was having nothing of it. But at the end of the day, the adventure was fun and safe, and we got home in one piece, and that’s all that really matters.

(Spencer Morrissey is a licensed outdoor guide and author of a few Adirondack adventure books.)