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Old 06-10-2013, 06:46 PM   #7
Bill I.
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 1,587
I did a bit more digging and found this digitized text of Appalachia from the 1880s. Scrolling down to about p 228 there is a description of a hike to Mt. Colvin. The page isn't very navigation friendly, so I copied the relevant section here (note that the typos are probably a result of the text being scanned and not read correctly):







Boston: 9 Pabk Stbbbt



This mountain, named for the engineer who has done and
is doing more than any other man to explore and accurately
map the Adirondack country, is the northeasterly termination
of the Boreas Range. It rises to the height of 4,142 feet, and
is conspicuous from Hopkins, Oiant, and Noonmark as forming
the left wall of the Ausable Notch. At its base, and so close
that the mountain cannot be climbed on that side, lie the
Ausable Ponds, the most remarkable in the Adirondacks for
their combination of beauty and grandeur. They are 1,960
feet above sea-level, each 2 miles long and connected by a
winding stream and footpath of 1 mile. The whole basin of
the ponds with the greater part of the surrounding mountains
is the property of the Adirondack Mountain Reserve. This
company a year ago built a most excellent road S^ miles long
through the hard-wood forest from the highway at Beede's to
the lower pond. A stage makes two trips a day from the
village to the pond, 6J miles.

About \ mile east of the pond, at the highest point of the
road, we leave the stage and enter on the left a small bight of
the old road, cut off by the new. We find the footpath a few
rods in, generally marked by white and yellow cautionary
placards of the company. The path ascends by a moderate
slope around the left side of Indian Face and Colvin. Diverg-
ing paths are marked by sign-boards. A few minutes after
leaving the road, the trail crosses a brook by a bridge of logs
just in front of a back shelter built against an overhanging
rock. In 80 minutes we reach the path to the Wizard's Wash-
5 minutes to the left. In 30 minutes more we leave on
the left the path to High Falls, 6 minutes away. The trail to
Fairy Ladder Falls and Nippletop diverges also to the left 5
minutes farther on. Ascending 35 minutes beyond this fork,
we skirt a high white cliff on our right, then climb up a steep
rock about 10 feet high, directly in the path; just beyond,
under the rocks at our right and within 2 feet of the trail, is
a small but very good spring, — the last, so far as I know, near
the path. In 20 minutes from this spring, after passing
through a short hollow, we reach the summit, which consists
of a mass of rock so steep that two rude ladders have been
built to facilitate the ascent.

The top is cleared. To the south lies Elk Lake and Clear
Pond, with the shapely Blue Mountain beyond. Close at hand
on the east, separated from us by Elk Pass, are the shaggy sides
of Nippletop, 4,684 feet high, which by its nearness hides the
whole of Dix. Noonmark, Bald (a misnomer), Giant, Hop-
kins, Hurricane, and Baxter appear in this order, through the
valley of the Ausable.

But it is the view to the north which makes the charm and
grandeur of this outlook. Directly below us, so close that its
nearer shores are hidden by the trees and cliffs of our observa-
tory, lies the lower Ausable Pond, its deep, dark waters having
a gloomy and forbidding look from this height. To the left
of it, a mile away, lies the upper Ausable Pond, the farther
end of which shows a yellowish green by reason of its cover-
ing of lily pads and flowers. Directly over these ponds,
sweeping up from the forest-covered basin, rise the highest
and wildest peaks of the Adirondacks. On the right are the
triple peaks of Wolf jaws, over 4,000 feet high. Next the heavy
crest and detached peaks of the Gothics, with their nearer
face almost entirely clear of vegetation, so smooth and steep
is the light-gray rock. Between us and the Gothics is Saw-
teeth, covered with woods ; but as its spine is directly toward
us, we lose its distinctive outline.

Lifting our eyes again to the Gothics, we see at its left the
ridge of Saddleback, somewhat foreshortened. Next comes
Basin with three rough summits, the highest of 4,902 feet.
The dark, bare, serrated crest of Haystack, 5,006 feet high,
comes next on the left, having on its right shoulder a sharp
notch prolonged into a deep and long ravine. Just beyond
Haystack rises the cone of Marcy, 5,402 feet high, to which
many would like to restore the Indian name " Tahawus," —
" cleaver of the clouds." To the left of Haystack and just
beyond it lies the bare dome of Skylight, 4,977 feet. Of the
more distant mountains seen from Golvin, Whiteface shows
its clean peak just at the right of Wolfjaws.

My companion on the Giant was with me on this mountain.
Our ascent required 2 hours from the road where we left the
stage ; our descent, after deducting the time spent in detours,
occupied 1 hour 10 minutes.
So I guess it might help to understand where the trail to Colvin was in the 1880s, whether they were going up Gill Brook like we do today.
Bill I. is offline   Reply With Quote