Archive for September, 2012

Current Weather Forecast

Friday, September 28th, 2012

The weather forecast for this weekend in the Lake George, Saratoga Springs area, in a word is crappy. We’ll be lucky to fly at all this weekend, or before next Tuesday. Too bad, the foliage is just now getting decent. Our fall foliage is usually at peak around the 10th of October. Hopefully the weather will give us some good extended flying conditions when we are at/near peak color.

This is what the fall foliage should be looking like about now out in our flying area in rural Washington County.

Adirondack Hiking Adventures

Friday, September 28th, 2012

Wifey and I have recently taken up hiking in this huge playground that we live-in, the Adirondack Mountains. First, I want to tell you that the definitive source/resource for hiking the Adirondacks is the ADK (Adirondack Mountain Club). They have information centers where you can get advice on hikes, purchase maps, guide books and gear, both at Lake George Exit 19 (just a little to the south (L) on 9N off the exit ramp), and at their ADK High Peaks Info Center at the end of Adirondack Loj Road off Route 73, just before Lake Placid.

The High Peaks Information Center at the end of ADK Loj Road. From here, you have access to the Mt Jo trails, and, numerous trails of varying difficulty through the High Peaks Wilderness, including 2 of the State’s highest peaks, Mt. Marcy and Algonquin.

I strongly recommend their guide books and maps for help in navigating the trails. All the hikes are not difficult or require special skills, just some common sense preparation and proper gear.

This past summer, we took the short hike on the Mt. Jo trail from the ADK High Peaks Info Center, that offered us a fantastic reward at the end.

Signing-in at the Mt. Jo trail head.

Navigating the rocky ledge near the top.

The peak of Mt. Jo offers a fantastic view of Mount Marcy, the highest peak in the Adirondacks, the Macintyre Mountains, the slides on Mt Colden and the High Peaks Wilderness.

On Labor Day, we tried to hike the Tongue Mt. section, from the Clay Meadow Trailhead, just off Rt. 9N north of Bolton Landing, to what’s billed as a spectacular overlook of Lake George at the Fifth Peak Lean-to. Unfortunately, we hadn’t taken the time to study the old guide book that we had, and ended up turning back short of our destination, tired and unsure of just how far we had gone, or how close we were to our destination, the 5th Peak Lean-to. Turns out, that after we got back to the car and studied the guide book, we were probably with-in .5 mile of the lean-to. What did I say earlier about preparation? Oh well, another day? We now have updated guide books, maps, compass and a MapMyHike App for the I-phone.

Signing-in at the Clay Meadow trailhead.

This is a flat part on the trail to the 5th Peak Lean-to. This hike becomes a rather strenuous, steep hike at times, that is around 5.4 mi. R/T.

A recent hike was Thomas Mt, in the Cat and Thomas Mountains Preserve that was opened to the public in 2004 by the Lake George Land Conservancy. The trailhead is easily accessible from Exit 24 of I-87. From Exit 24, head east on Cty. Rt. 11 for 2 mi, turn R on Valley Woods Rd. The preserve parking lot is almost immediately on the R, w/kiosk and register at the trailhead.

The Cat and Thomas Mountains kiosk sign-in.

I would recommend using the newly opened in 2012, Thomas Mountain Blue Trail, designated 59A, rather than the logging road trail, designated 59. We went up 59A to the cabin overlook, and back down to the car on the 59 logging road trail, which we found an uninteresting, rubble strewn  uncomfortable trail to hike.

Taking a brake on the Blue Trail assent of Thomas Mt.

The view from a look-out off a spur trail at the mountain summit ridge.

Another view from the summit ridge spur trail, looking west toward Crane Mt.

The view towards Lake George from the Cabin lookout, the hike destination.

Time to update the Hiking Adventures blog with some fall hikes. Last Friday afternoon, wifey and I headed up to the Keene Valley area to hike Baxter Mountain and if we had time, hike part of the Blueberry, Porter Mountain Trail. Baxter is a nice easy hike of 1.3 mile to the summit, up an elevation of 770 ft. You can access the Baxter Mountain trail  from either Rt 73, Keene Valley and the Upham Trail at Beede Farm, or as we did, from Rt 9N. We got there by heading up the Northway (I-87) to Exit 31 and headed west through Elizabethtown. The trailhead is easily missed (we had to turn around). Make sure you look for Hurricane Rd, about 2 miles east of Jct of 73 and 9N, trailhead is just east and across 9N.

Trailhead for Baxter Mt, about 2 mile east of Jct of Rt 73 & 9N.

The beginning of the trail is mostly flat, then a moderate climb to the summit.

Lots of leaves are falling along the trail.

The moderate climb up the trail.

After about a mile, you come to the Jct of Beede Farm Trail and Baxter Summit trail. Hang a right up the summit trail for about .3 mile to fantastic summit views.

Even tho we got a late start, we wanted to do a quick hike with good views, because the high peak region was at peak foliage color.

View northeast toward the Hurricane Mountain Wilderness.

The view south toward the Giant Mountain Wilderness.

It’s a great time of year to be out in the woods.

We wanted to give a hike up Blueberry Mountain a try, even tho we were running very late in the day. We found this hike much slower due to trail condition and pitch, so we gave up after about 40 minutes due to time to sunset. Another time!

A 11/4/12 Northwest Bay Trail hike update from the Clay Meadow trail-head on Tongue Mt. Wifey and I wanted to revisit our hike attempt on Tongue Mountain, of the Fifth Peak Lean-to from the Clay Meadow Trail-head back on Labor Day Weekend, but this time, hike the Northwest Bay Trail toward Point of Tongue, which is billed as a “moderate hike” on a “pleasant trail” by the Adirondack Mountain Club’s newest (4th Edition) Eastern Trails Book. This trail was originally built by the CCC back in the 1930’s as a horse trail, but that plan was later abandoned when rattlesnakes were discovered (not to get political while hiking, but…here’s an early example of Government money -taxpayer money- going to a boondoggle project, a horse trail, that nobody took the time to research, and I guarantee wasn’t built for use by the then middle class, who I very much doubt lived along, or rode horses along, Lake George). Wifey is just getting over a procedure on her leg and we wanted to attempt something moderate, so we planned only to hike about half-way to around Bear Point where there is a nice view of Northwest Bay and down Lake George.

A long plank bridge over a stream @ .2 mile from the trail-head.

The trail prior to the Northwest Bay Trail junction.

At about 1.8 mile, the trail goes along this fantastic mossy cliff under large Hemlocks. I love the smell of the Hemlocks.

Shortly after the moss covered cliffs, you come to this interesting archway.

At 2 mile, you come to a spur trail that goes 200 ft. to Bear Point, where you get this nice view of Northwest Bay, down toward Bolton Landing. In the warm months, this spot offers a good place to swim in the lake, put-in a kayak, and a well-put-together fire ring to cook and have a picnic.

At around 2.1 mile, you come to this campsite w/lean-to and fire ring along the trail.

The trail makes it’s way back down to the lake.

Trail maintenance from a previous blow-down.

Don’t forget to sing in and out when using any trail, it’s for your own safety. The sign in/out system alerts Park Rangers to possible lost hikers.

We actually hiked about 3.2 mile in to another open view from some rocks of Lake George, according to our “map my hike” app on wifey’s phone, for a 6.2 mile round trip. Poor wifey’s knees were hurting after that one.

New York Post Article

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012

Recently, I flew the New York Post’s theater columnist/critic, Michael Riedel, and a Post photographer, Alexander Michael. Michael was doing an article on fall things to do that appeared this past Saturday in the Post’s Pulse section. Click the link to read Michael’s article that featured his hot air balloon ride with us. It was a fun experience working with Michael and Alex. Here are some of the photos from the morning flight with Michael Riedel and Alexander Michael.

Alex’s pic of the Post’s Michael Riedel holding the test balloon that will show us our direction of travel for our morning flight. Michael has a funny take on this in the article.

Alex and Michael

Getting ready for lift-off

Taking notes

Here is a selection of photos taken by Alex during the flight.

Weather Update for Balloon Festival Weekend

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

The weather forecast for the Lake George, Saratoga Springs area for the balance of this week and the coming Adirondack Balloon Festival weekend, while not set in stone at this time, doesn’t look very good. The flying weather looks good for today, Thursday for the  opening ceremony (except for direction of travel from opening ceremony at Crandall Park), and at least early Friday before we start to be influenced by an approaching cold front that looks to pass overnight on Saturday. There is a possibility of flyable conditions on Friday evening and maybe Saturday morning (wind direction for flying remains a problem for balloon festival location), but after that, it doesn’t look very good at this time. Rain is forecast for Saturday afternoon, through the overnight into early Sunday, probably followed by windy conditions and some instability showers. There is a chance for a dry slot to move through on Sunday, cutting off showers, but not sure about the wind. Early next week looks dry and windy for Monday. Forecasts are forecasts, not the actual weather, just an educated guess by the National Weather Service with the help of their computer modeling. The Albany NWS forecast discussion tells the story.

A photo taken from my balloon by NY Post photographer Alexander Michael. A few weeks back, I flew Alex and reporter Michael Riedel for an upcoming story for the Post.

Another view of the flying area by photographer Alexander Michael.

Recent Balloon Rides and Weather Forecast

Tuesday, September 18th, 2012

The weather over the past weekend was pretty good for getting some early fall foliage flights in. We didn’t fly on Saturday due to the overnight rain and wind was a factor in cancelling the PM flight Saturday. On Sunday and early Monday, the balloon ride flying weather was perfect.

On Sunday morning, I flew a Private Flight for Rick and Patty from Glenville. It was Patty’s birthday present from Rick.

On Sunday evening, I flew Don and Carol from Highland NY and their grandson Jared.

On my Monday morning flight, I flew two couples, Gracielle and Manuel from Yonkers, and Steven and Jennifer from Troy.

Now for the weather forecast portion of this post, brings heavy rain and wind today, Tuesday. Right now as I write this post, it’s already pouring outside my window. The weather should begin to improve later on Wednesday as a high pressure system moves east. Looking toward the upcoming 40th Anniversary Adirondack Balloon Festival weather forecast for it’s opening ceremony on Thursday, it looks good for the balloons to fly from Crandall Park in Glens Falls that evening. The weather is currently forecast to hold thru early Saturday, with a front and an upper level low to affect the flying conditions for later on Saturday, and into Sunday and possibly Monday. I will post a weather update when we get closer to the weekend to fine-tune the outlook for doing our balloon rides into early next week.

Recent Balloon Rides and Weather Update

Friday, September 14th, 2012

This has been a real nice week weather wise for doing anything outdoors, including hot air ballooning. After doing our annual tether on Tuesday morning for the Argyle CSD Elementary kiddies, I flew on a beautiful Wednesday morning some folks who were visiting the Lake George – Saratoga Springs area from Nyack NY.

Bert and Marester, who are Americade attendees, returned to  Lake George to do a balloon ride with us in our early fall balloon flying season.

Lauren and Peter from Loudonville NY, flew with me on Friday morning to celebrate Lauren’s birthday. Happy Birthday Lauren!

The hot air balloon ride flying weather forecast looks good for Sunday and Monday, before we get what is being advertised as a good soaking rain event, starting late Monday evening and most of Tuesday, before things clear-out late Wednesday, with a nice Thursday and Friday. Here’s hoping the weather cooperates this year balloon festival weekend, which is 22nd and 23rd.

Argyle Balloon Demo Day

Tuesday, September 11th, 2012

This morning was beautiful for our annual balloon demo day for the Argyle CS Elementary kiddies. Baker and I travel to a few of the rural schools every year and bring our hot air balloon for a complementary tether for the Elementary schools in the fall, close to the big Adirondack Balloon Festival. Many of these kids never get a chance to get up close to a hot air balloon, so we bring the balloon to them.

Inflating the balloon for the Argyle Elementary School kids.

Elementary reading teacher, Noelle Waite on the morning tether at Argyle Central.

Our other passenger for the morning tether, Argyle CSD kindergarten teacher, Jennifer Bailey.

The flying weather is great this week, so if you want to fly, give me a call @ 518-793-6342.

Weather Forecast for the Week

Sunday, September 9th, 2012

The weather forecast for the Lake George, Saratoga Springs region this week looks real good for getting some balloon flights in, after the miserable flying weather we’ve had for the past week, after the Labor Day holiday weekend. Monday probably will be a bit on the windy side for flying, but after that, conditions look good right thru the week, and I have space available on a number of my flights. So if you want to fly, this is a good week to call to schedule a hot air balloon ride with me. Call 518-793-6342 or contact me through my web site,

The Fall flying season is rapidly approaching. It’s time to make a reservation before the 2012 flying season comes to an end October 22.

Labor Day Weekend Flights and Weather Forecast for the Week

Monday, September 3rd, 2012

The flying weather for doing our hot air balloon rides was real good for the Labor Day Holiday Weekend, lots of flying. First up is

On Saturday evening, I flew Joanna, Jeff and Hunter from Selkirk.

On Sunday morning, I flew Mark and Chris from Schoharie, and Doug and Gene from Poestenkill.

On Sunday evening, I flew Alyssa, Christopher, Mark and Pang, all from Niskayuna.

On Labor Day Monday morning, I flew Dan from Rensselaer, and Maureen and Heather from Clifton Park.

The weather forecast for the Lake George, Saratoga Springs area for this week is not good if you want to go on a balloon ride, but is good if you are looking for your lawn to be watered. It’s basically wet all week right into the coming weekend, except maybe Friday. Well, it has been dry, but it would be nice if the weather wasn’t extreme, either hot and dry, or cold and wet. Oh well, it is, what it is.