Flat Top- State Game Lands 57

View from Flat Top

I returned to Flat Top to explore its eastern rim; I had already explored the western rim of the plateau.  The day began sunny as clouds drifted across the sky.

First was a hike up White Brook.  Although it takes more time, this is a small and very scenic creek as it dashes down a gorge with boulders and cascades over deep red bedrock.  The highlight is White Brook Falls, as it pours from a notch in a cliff as if coming from a pitcher.  A steep scramble followed out of the gorge to an old woods roads, the typical way to the top of the mountain.

The fall colors became more pronounced near the top, with the canopies colored with a variety of yellow, orange, and red.  The bushwack began promptly, as we followed the rim of cliffs and ledges.  It was tough going, as we battled through thick hemlock and spruce forests, and over moss-covered ledges.  At times, I felt as if I was mostly hiking bent over to avoid branches.

The fern meadows were lit up as if on fire, with bright yellow fronds.  There was deep green moss, and lichens in an assortment of colors.  We passed a few small streams draining the swamps on top of the mountain.  Although we did not find any views, the geology was impressive with countless crevices, caves, and overhangs.  In places, the bedrock was separated into a grid or a maze.  Bedrock boulders were upturned in thick spruce forests.  Moss draped over the conglomerate.  It was like a lost world.  One crevice was notable- a huge boulder had separated from the bedrock, creating a uniform, and deep, channel.  I called it “Tall Man’s Coffin”.  Ryan even went into a cave, but the darkness and narrow passage turned him back.  I had to battle through hemlock along the rim of one overhang, carefully watching my step on the soft, wet moss, twenty feet above the forest floor.

We finally reached where we hiked before, the west side of Flat Top with its cliffs and overlooks.  The colors on the top of the plateau were impressive.  But we didn’t have much time, a shower soon swept across the plateau and it rained for several minutes.  The shower moved on as mist began to rise in the valleys and gorges below.

Excellent fall colors

We battled through the wet trees and descended from the cliffs into a mature forest.  The sun shone through the mist, casting shafts of light through the forest.  It was an impressive sight.  This is one of the best pictures I have ever taken.

Heavenly forest

We checked out another falls on Big Deer Run and climbed to another rock bald surrounded by flaming fall colors and a darkening sky.

Hiking across a bald

I had hoped to also hike to the Bartlett Mountain Balds, but twilight was fast approaching as heavy cumulus clouds battled the fading sunlight at the horizon.

Twilight skies in the mountains

We descended the mountain as light continued to fade and reached my car in darkness.

More pictures.

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