FISHHEADDay 5 started sunny but cold. We got up at early, had breakfast, and packed up. From our campsite near Gill Brook, it was a short walk back to the trail leading to the Fish Hawk Cliffs. We reached the cliffs fairly early, well ahead of most of the dayhikers coming up from the Saint Huberts trailhead. When we arrived, we were greeted with a stunning view of Lower Ausable Lake and peak fall foliage adorning the slopes of The Sawteeth and Gothics. There was also an icy wind, which made it a little hard to relax.
It was a bright, sunny morning, which was not ideal for photography. The fall color was incredible, but it is somewhat muted in my photos due to the harsh conditions. The sun also created some harsh shadows along the east side of the lake. Mid-day may have been the optimal time there in those conditions, but we had too much planned to wait a couple of hours.
We eventually did find our way down to the lake shore. We found a nice sunny spot for lunch, and pulled out all of our wet gear (in other words, all of our gear) to dry. We ended up lounging there for far too long, but that spot was too nice to leave.
Originally I was hoping to make it to The Sawteeth that afternoon, but I didn’t have anywhere near enough time. I suggest to Larry that we just hike out to a couple of overlooks from cliffs above the west side of the lake. He decided to stay back and enjoy the lake, but encouraged me to do it. That worked out well, because I was able to leave most of my gear out to dry while I did the hike.
The next stretch of the Scenic Trail was easier, though I did lose the trail at one point. I regained the trail, and after a moderate climb I reached a spur trail to the first viewpoint. From there, it was just a short stretch to the second. Both offered nice views of the lake, the cliffs, and the fall foliage. Unfortunately the views were mostly to the south, towards the sun. Conditions were even worse for photos than they had been from Indian Head. I thought about continuing to the next viewpoint, but that one would’ve required a major climb. It was well into the afternoon at this point, and we still had a long way to go.
I backtracked, rejoined Larry, and repacked everything. At that point it was time to start the return journey to the car. First though, there were a few more sights to see in the Ausable River valley...
Full photo album: https://flic.kr/s/aHBqjAtBLd