SWIMMING THROUGH TREES: Enjoying Flume Knob in the rain
It’s just one of those things. I needed to get out, and I took a chance on a small patch of blue sky, which just so happened to be hovering over the area I was near, so I made a last-minute decision to head up Flume Knob in the town of Wilmington.
Flume Knob is not a recent development, but you won’t find it on every map. The trail does show up on most local maps and is gaining attention year after year.
At the trailhead on state Route 86, my hike started out rather dry as I passed along a slightly soggy trail that penetrated the corridor of the mountain bike trail network. The farther I got in, the wetter it started to get and some standing water was covering the trail. The stepping stones and roots that have been uncovered or used to maintain the trail had become slippery and a little care was needed to not make a wrong move and jack my ankle up.
Once I got off the bike trails and onto the “foot traffic only” trail, the conditions spruced up, but they seemed to be washed out in areas due to heavy rains and the layout of the trail being along the natural fall line.
I visit this peak usually every year because it’s a perfect hike for a short day or to just get out and enjoy the fresh air. But every time I forget just how steep this little bugger is in spots. The lovely open forest and tall pines does take the mind off it, though.
Nearing the open rock ledge, I turned around to look behind me and there it was, a huge rainbow over Wilmington from the four corners to the Hungry Trout restaurant. I raced the remaining distance to the top so I could get the perfect picture, and I was rewarded with the opportunity of watching it fade slowly into history.
After I relaxed here, sipping on some hot tea, the clouds started to brighten and the weather looked to break, so I decided to go to the high point of Flume Knob. Less than a quarter mile away was the wooded summit of Flume Knob.
The trail doesn’t go over it, so I had a short bushwhack in front of me. The slope was quite steep, which was about par for the day, but the forest was open and pleasing.
From the top, there are slight views through the trees toward Marble and Lookout mountains and over toward the Sentinel Range, but there was nothing more pleasing than that rainbow.
The hike down wasn’t as dramatic as the summit, but it was slower due to the slippery conditions. No less than six times I sat and butt scootched down a small section to avoid any unexpected tailbone adjustments.
Once on the bike trails, it was gravy and all over but the crying, as they say.
(Spencer Morrissey is a licensed outdoor guide and author of a few Adirondack adventure books.)