Sometimes I don't know whether I am an decent adventurer or the stupidest person on the planet. Last summer when I was on Halfmoon Lookout I couldn't help but notice a long mountain ridge to the west. This long mountain turned out to be called Long Mountain. Upon doing some homework I learned there was no trail along the Long Mountain ridge. Thus, my mind started spinning. I had to find out what was up there. I spent some considerable time designing a backpack trip that would incorporate some exploration. I set my sights on March because I was assured that hunting season would be over and bushwhacking would be at its easiest. All I needed was a partner in crime because this little number was going to be dangerous. So I set out some emails to trap some unsuspecting recruits. I only found one taker, Keith. Here is a picture of the Long Mountain ridge looking back at it from Mill Mountain.
Keith met me at Wolf Gap, and looked around with a quizzacle expression. Look at all this snow? Are you sure about this? I told him the questionable trail conditions were all in his mind. I had to change plans at the last minute and add several miles to this hike since with the snow/ice/slush conditions it was going to be easiest to head up to Tibbet Knob and then around to Long Mountain on Route 691. Here is a nice picture off of the Knob looking north with Great North Mountain on the right, Long Mountain on the left and Halfmoon directly ahead.
Keith and I were able to find a route up on Long Mountain off the Long Mountain Trail. The first 2 miles of bushwhacking on the south side of the mountain were relatively easy and enjoyable. The views back to Wolf Gap were spectacular even though the day was slightly cloudy. However, once we got to this rock in the middle of the mountain we decided to stay on the ridge rather than travel below. There were spots were there had been a horrible frost or a gypsy moth infestation because there was absolutely no tree canopy. The bushwhacking was brutal, making the trip to Big Savage back in December look like a stay at a Hilton. There must have been a bad forest fire also in the area during the last year because there were several spots that were covered with char. Keith and I were covered with black soot very quickly. However, we did see something up there that I have never seen before in the MidAtlantic...a hoodoo! Who knew?
There was a fair amount if snow at the top that had started to melt. The snow came in handy because we were able to boil it as an unlimited source of drinking water. We camped at about the mid-point of the mountain ridge, setting up camp with a nice fire right before it began to rain. Once we went to sleep the temperature dropped into the 20s freezing everything back up. I calculated with performed 4.5 miles of bushwhack.
Sunday morning we lost an hour due to the time change so we decided to alight into Perry and travel 2 miles on the road. We stopped off at someone's alpaca farm to take pictures and then a neighbor, Rebecca, stopped by to chat. I gave her my blog address so hopefully she will see her pic. We headed north until we came to the Halfmoon Trail and then
started ascending the other side on the Great North Mountain. Things were going fine until we got 3/4 of the way up only to be hit be some treacherous conditions of snow/ice/slush. There was a brutal snow-covered climb on the Tuscarora Trail shortcut. I started to bitch, Keith put up with it.
We took the Mill Mountain Trail as fast as we could given the conditions and ever annoying full packs, which could have been left along the road somewhere but we were too stupid to think about it until after we got on top of the ridge. We didn't visit Halfmoon, we didn't visit Schloss, I bitched and complained a lot but we finally got to the summit near Wolf Gap only to be treated to another treacherous decent in deep slush. Keith took his own picture.
Here are the numbers calculated to the best of my abilities on DeLorme: 24.20 miles 5959 ft. elevation change. The mileage may be a little light.