|Nov. 2, 2003 (Sun.)
|Elevation: 4340 feet; Order of Height: 26
|Participants: Andrew Lavigne, Ewart Tempest, Caroline Doucet, Markus Wandel
Allen mountain was a peak that I had been avoiding for a while. From the descriptions I'd heard of it, it was a long and relatively uninteresting hike, and a peak without an interesting summit. And trailless to boot. I knew I had to do it at some point, though. Anyway, what finally pushed us over the edge was the fact that at this point, Allen was the last peak left for Ewart in order for him to complete his second complete ascent of all 46 peaks. Quite a milestone.
The weather, however, did not co-operate with us. Although it initially looked like the weather was going to be ok, the day of our hike arrived and the weather consisted of low, leaden clouds with an occasional drizzle. By the time we arrived at the trailhead near Upper Works, it was lightly raining.
Off we went, soon crossing the hudson on a sturdy suspension bridge. Not long after that was a neat causeway-bridge crossing an arm of Jimmy Lake. After this the trail soon started to follow old and newer roads, some of which looked like they belonged to the nearby mine. We passed by two derelict shacks (I think they are called the 'observers huts') and turned sharp right. From there it was a hike on rough gravel roads, mostly on the flat. It was raining lightly most of the time and not all that cold. When the route went over old roads or trails, it was extremely wet and muddy.
Eventually the trail joins up and follows a fairly recent road on the north banks of the lower Opalescent river. At this point it began to rain more consistently and more heavily. Great! We stopped to don our Goretex, and then soldiered on. After some time along this road, we came to yet another bridge, this time a very nice wooden suspension bridge crossing the Opalescent. From there there was a bit of forest walking, and then we emerged into an area of messy clearcut (large chunks of this hike cross private property). Combined with the rainy and wet weather, this area was a depressing soggy mess. I imagine that on a clear day there might be good views of surrounding peaks, but today we saw nothing.
After a long time trudging through this mess, we came across an unmistakable set of signs, large and crudely drawn. One pointed left to the trail going up to Flowed Lands (and said 'Marcy'), and the other pointed right and said 'Allen'. From here the route is officially trailless, but at this point is still well-marked. It proceeds for a bit until hitting another maintained road, at which point you turn left and walk for just a couple of hundred feet before turning right into a gravel pit (and here there is another 'Allen' sign). At the far side of the gravel pit the route continues, open and well-marked, through what was for us miles of muddy wet trails. Eventually the route passes through a small pass and then heads back down towards Skylight brook. At this point all of the informal trail markers stop and one must pay more attention to follow the route. The route winds its way down, crossing one smallish brook before reaching Skylight brook, then crosses it. We stopped here and had a good lunch break. Rain continued on and on.
Soon after Skylight brook the trail turns sharply left and follows the brook upstream (although somewhat away from it) until Allen brook is intersected. At this point, the trail follows the brook uphill, at times very steeply, and at times on either side (mostly on the right-hand side, though). There are occasional open areas on the brook that can be climbed as well. We encounter cloud at about 3000 feet and we are in it all the way up. Near the top, the trail crosses the brook to the east and follows a very distinct path up to the summit ridge of Allen. A short walk along this summit ridge and we are at the top, where we encounter the plain brown 'Allen' sign on a tree. No views whatsoever. I've brought along a couple of Heineken (sp) beer and a specially made double-46er hat, which I give to Ewart in celebration of his acheivement. We are all soggy messes, but we've conquered this peak!
We are all getting a bit chilly from being damp... especially Ewart in his shorts. So, after a bit of heat rub on his legs, we all head down somewhere around 2pm, knowing we have a long, rough and wet walk out. Not looking forward to this! The way down goes relatively well, and no one injures anything. We want to be back on the road portion of the trail before dark arrives (being November, we have until 5pm-ish only). With brisk walking and few stops, we manage to cross the wooden suspension bridge back onto the road just in time. Shortly thereafter we haul out the headlamps and trudge back, through the rainy night, to the car. Really looking forward to changing clothes and blasting the heater in the car! We get back not too late (6:30-7:00-ish) and carefully peel off our wet stuff and climb into the warm cocoon of the vehicle, glad to be finished this one. Nearly 30 kilometres of soggy trail and no views. Ugh.
Trip Reports, Image Galleries or Other References:
Image Gallery: Allen 2003 Mountain Hike