Archive for the ‘Hiking’ Category

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.