If you go west on Route 8 out of Wevertown NY, about five miles past the Eleventh Mountain trailhead, you’ll find a parking area near the confluence of Shanty Brook and the East Branch of the Sacandaga River.
From there you can catch nice glimpse of Shanty Cliffs and begin hiking toward the outcrop that hovers 700 feet above the road. This past weekend I was with former DEC forest ranger Steve Ovitt, looking for a hike that would let us enjoy the peaking foliage.
We started by walking down to the river for some easy, beautiful views. Then we set off up the west side of Shanty Brook.
Garnet mining is an important part of the history of the Gore Mountain region. And, right in our neighborhood, is an old abandoned garnet mine; the Hooper Mine on Garnet Hill.
The garnet from this area was (and is) prized for the way it fractures, making it very valuable for abrasives like sandpaper. In 1878 the Barton family began mining on the backside of Gore Mountain.
Twenty years later Frank Hooper started his mining operation near Balm of Gilead Mountain. Hooper’s mine wasn’t as rich as Barton’s, but to some extent, he made up for it with ingenuity.
The name Vanderwhacker first came onto my radar when I realized that the state land crossed by the Raymond Brook Ski Trail was part of the Vanderwhacker Wild Forest.
The Vanderwhacker Wild Forest is a diverse and discontinuous DEC construct, the center piece of which is Vanderwhacker Mountain and the Fire Tower.
With 1700 feet of elevation gain in two and a half miles I figured my wife, our daughter and I could handle it, even with a late start.