The Shepherd's Tooth: A rarely-visited nubbin of open rock on the southern flank of Iroquois Peak, far off the path of most Vibram-soled visitors of the Adirondacks.
I first visited the tooth in the winter of 2009
, with Ewart and Jenn in tow. Hiking buddie Julie read the report and was intrigued, and had expressed an interest in visiting herself. We finally got around to doing just that on a recent August weekend.
We all met at around 7:30am at the busy Adirondack High Peaks visitor center parking lot. Julie had brought along a friend we'd not met before -Ty - an aspiring young hiker with just a few peaks under his belt.
The Shepherd's Tooth can be accessed in one of two ways: either via a descent from the summit of Iroquois, or via a bushwhack ascent from Cold Brook Pass (Cold Brook Pass is the low point of land separating Iroquois Peak from Mount Marshall).
Similarly to our 2009 ascent, we decided to approach from below, and make an ascent of the Tooth into a loop. Unlike my 2009 ascent, however, we chose this time to approach from the Indian Pass Trail. This trail runs along the valley of Indian Pass Brook - the major valley just to the north of the peaks of the MacIntyre Range (i.e. Iroquois, Algonquin, Wright, etc).
There's not too much to say about the hike up the Indian Pass trail. Apart from a brief but pretty view from the shore of Heart Lake, it is simply a fairly long, mostly flat walk through forest. Conditions were clearly quite dry, for all of the side brooks that we crossed were either dry or had barely a trickle in them.
We hiked fairly quickly, and by 9:30 a.m. we were at the junction with the side trail to Wallface Ponds, and by five minutes before 10 a.m., at the junction with the Cold Brook trail, were we stopped for a quick break.
Now, I've been up the Cold Brook trail several times before - but this was the first time I'd hiked it without snow cover, in the summer season. I was surprised at how rough it was. It was quite eroded in many spots, something I would not have expected for such a rarely-used trail.
90 minutes of hiking brought us from the Indian Pass Brook trail to the top of Cold Brook Pass. Here we took another break, to eat and to batten down the hatches for the challenge that was to come. Here, our following of maintained hiking trails ended for a while: this point was the beginning of the bushwhack up to the Shepherd's Tooth.