The New York State Ski Blog

Blog: Backcountry

Hooper Garnet Mine, NY

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.

Hooper-Garnet-Mine

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.

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Vanderwhacker Mountain Fire Tower

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.

View-from-Vanderwacker-Mountain-Fire-Tower

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.

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Kettle Mountain, NY

I first heard of Kettle Mountain years ago when it was the only legal way for the public to see OK Slip Falls. Views of the falls from Kettle are distant, but still very good.

Casey-Summit

At that time it wasn’t exactly a no-brainer to hike it. Access required a long bushwack through swampland to the south of the Northwoods Club road.

If you wanted to access the peak by rafting, you’d have to plan an overnight or a very aggressive day trip itinerary, minding river levels as determined by the Lake Abanakee dam release.

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