Hiked as an overnight backpacking trip with two friends. This was our first time bushwhacking and overall it went great! Conditions were perfect. After really being in the woods, the blazed trails felt so tame in comparison.

We went clockwise (opposite of AllTrails), filled our water bottles at the Slide spring (it was gushing) and made camp halfway between Slide and Cornell. We left our bags at the camp site and got Cornell and Wittenberg the first afternoon. This was a good strategy since it balanced out the mileage on the two days (about 10–12 miles each day) and let us get right to the bushwhacking on day 2.

We left the trail and entered the woods at 8:30 am on day 2. We started on a herd path but lost it within a few hundred feet. Not a good start! We used the AllTrails track to find our way back onto a path and were able to follow it all the way to Friday. One trick we quickly learned: look for fallen, rotting logs that have been stepped on in the middle. These were such a clear indication of a herd path that we started calling them “blazes.”

We took a meandering route from Friday to Balsam Cap, staying above the dashed line on the map (“the rim”) and keeping our elevation. There was a clear herd path that took us all the way to Balsam Cap. We lost the trail again near the col between Balsam Cap and Rocky, but once again, we were able to use the AllTrails track to recover a herd path.

All in all, we were on clear paths for probably 95% of the bushwhacking portion, which took us almost exactly six hours. None of the canisters were hard to find: they were all bright orange and either on a clear path or at a clear viewpoint (Friday).

One quibble with the AllTrails map: it shows the mileage from Balsam Cap to Rocky and Rocky to Lone as both being around two miles. In reality it’s half that. It took us about an hour to an hour and a half between each of the peaks.

The bushwhacking part of this trail is lovely: there are lots of cool rock formations and sudden changes in ecosystem as you go over them. You really feel like you’re in nature, not just walking through it. Five stars!

  • 9/28
    • 10:30 am depart
    • 1:00 pm slide viewpoint, lunch
    • 1:30 pm Slide summit
    • 3:00 pm Pitched tents
    • 4:00 pm summit cornell
    • 4:45 pm summit wittenberg
    • 7:00 pm roaring campfire (~7h hiking for the day)
  • 9/29
    • 8:15? am depart campsite
    • 8:37 am begin bushwhacking
    • 9:48 am Friday canister
    • 11:22 am Balsam Cap canister
    • 12:35 pm Rocky peak
    • 1:30 pm Lone canister
    • 2:36 pm back on the trail (6h total for bushwhacking)
    • 2:57 pm summit Peekamoose
    • 3:35 pm summit Table
    • 5:13 pm back at junction
    • 5:41 pm back at car (9h30m hiking for the day)