Posts Tagged ‘Adirondack Mountain Club’

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.

Things to do in the Lake George – Saratoga Springs Region

Sunday, July 15th, 2012

I’ve been wanting to organize a blog on some of the things to do in the area from a locals perspective, not the chamber of commerce. You can get a great overview by noodling around  my web site’s Regional Info page –  just click the hi-lighted link to the left. Our region is rich in natural and man-made attractions for you to enjoy.

A late fall view of a quiet Lake George

Lake George Village features it’s tour boats, historical sites, para sailing, mini golf, hotels/motels, restaurants and tourists shops. Further up Lake George is quieter than the Village, with locations like Bolton Landing, and Hague . You will find many white water rafting and tubing operations in the area, horse back riding, golf, amusement parks like The Great Escape. There are many biking, hiking and climbing options around, check-out the Adirondack Mountain Club for details/maps on area hikes/climbing options.

The view from on top of Mt. Jo, that you access from Adk Loj.

Other communities to to check-out while visiting, just to the north of Lake George off I-87 exit #23 (Adirondack Northway), there is Warrensburg for lots of antique shops and beautiful Victorian B&Bs. From Warrensburg, head north on Rt 28 to North Creek/Gore Mountain for rafting on the upper Hudson River, hiking/biking, gondola rides on Gore Mountain, and train rides on the Saratoga/North Creek Railway . Next up on Rt 28 north, is the Adirondack mountain community of Indian Lake. Further up Rt. 28 is beautiful Blue Mountain Lake. One of our absolute favorite places to go for a quick get-a-way in the mountains is, The Hedges on Blue Mountain Lake.

The Hedges was built in the Adirondack Arts & Crafts style of the Adirondack Great Camp

Hedges provides opportunities to get out on the water.


Enjoy a quiet morning.


Take-in a beautiful Adirondack Mountain sunset.

The Arts & Crafts style of one of the lodge buildings at the Hedges

Blue is also home to the renown, Adirondack Museum, worth the drive from anywhere. From there, you can either head north on Rt. 30 thru Long Lake (for a special treat, stop at the Long Lake beach and take a seaplane ride with Helms Aero) and on to Tupper Lake (home of The Wild Center Museum of the Adirondack’s), or circle back east on Rt. 28N toward Newcomb (Newcomb has great views of the High Peaks from it’s town park, or you can take the Tahawus Rd to access trailheads and views of the high peak region), Minerva, Olmstedville, Pottersville and Exit 26, I-87. If you chose the Tupper Lake route, after Tupper, take Rt. 3 toward  Saranac Lake, near-by is the Visitors Interpretive Center at Paul Smith’s. From there, Rt. 86 heads toward the Village of Lake Placid, home of the 1980 and 1932 Winter Olympics and current U.S.Olympic Training site for winter sport athletes.

Lake Placid, is a beautiful, alpine Adirondack Mountain Village

Lake Placid features 4 seasons of fun things to do. Near-by, you have the various Olympic venues that offer both visitor participation and spectator viewing of athlete training & competitions, plus Whiteface Mountain and the Veterans Memorial Highway Drive.

You can drive most of the way to the top of Whiteface, (make sure your vehicle has good brakes for the ride down before going) and either climb the last 200 feet or take the elevator to the top.

There is a variety of lodging options, and decent dining in Lake Placid Village.

Alfresco dining at the Adirondack Steak & Seafood, which is also a brewery.

The Brown Dog Cafe & Wine Bar is our favorite eatery in Lake Placid.


Lake Placid Pub & Brewery is a good choice. Their Ubu Ale is a tasty, hi-octain brew.

From Placid, head south/east on Rt. 73 toward I-87, and back to Lake George. You will pass many hiking options along the way.

The view along the Adirondack Loj Road, looking toward the High Peaks Wilderness Region. Lots of good hiking from the High Peaks Information Center maintained by Adk Mt Club at the end of Loj Road.

On the way to I-87, you pass thru the hamlet of Keene Valley and the Noon Mark Diner, famous for their pies.

To the East of Lake George, you can travel to Vermont either thru beautiful, rural Washington County, aka our balloon flying area, or you can take various car ferries across Lake Champlain from the New York side to Vermont.

The Lake Champlain car ferry at Fort Ti.

Washington County, NY is a great place to check out if you are in the mood for a drive in the country. It borders Vermont, and scenery wise, is much like what you expect to find in Vermont, with many small Towns, Villages and Hamlets, and historically an agrarian economy. One notable county resident who lived in Eagle Bridge, Anna Mary Robertson (better known as Grandma Moses), painted country scenes typical of where she lived. Her grandson, Will Moses, continues the family tradition, painting in Eagle Bridge at his Mt. Nebo Gallery (it’s worth the visit). Another famous resident was, Susan B. Anthony, who as a child, lived in the tiny Hamlet of Battenville along the Battenkill River (a prominent trout fishing stream).
Many small communities dot the county landscape, such as Granville, home of the Slate Valley Museum; Salem, where you will find a number of old covered bridges, Steininger’s, worth the drive from anywhere for lunch and fine hand-made chocolates, the Gardenworks Farm, which features farm fresh foods, and country craft, art and gift items; The Villages of Cambridge and Greenwich feature interesting shopping and dining options, unique communities such as New Skete, and beautiful side drives just to appreciate the rural country landscapes.

Fall is a great time to get out and drive the back-country roads of rural Washington County, to appreciate spectacular scenery and views.

Next, we head south from Lake George on either I-87 or Rt 9 to the City of Glens Falls, home to the Hyde Collection Museum, the World Awareness Children’s Museum, The Chapman local history museum, a number of arts centers, and some tasty eateries such as 132 Glen Street Bistro, Bistro Tallulah – a fav, Raul’s Mexican Grill and Rene’s – also favs, plus the Davidson Bros.and Coopers Cave Brew Pubs and Restaurants.

The Saturday morning Glens Falls Farmers Market, is a great place to pick up locally sourced goods.

Further south on either Rt 9 or I-87, we have Saratoga Springs, another destination location like Lake George, but a much different style. While Lake George can be very touristy (not that there is anything wrong with that), Saratoga is more of an upscale type of venue, noted for it’s horse’s and horse racing, spas and mineral springs, entertainment venues such as SPAC, a multitude of dining options, and an active nightlife scene that is popular with locals and vacationers alike.

SPAC is a fantastic open air concert venue.

For the history buff, our area played a major part in early American history with many historical sites to visit. We were the great battleground for 2 centuries of battle with The French and Indian Wars, the War of 1812, and the American Revolution. The book, “Conquered into Liberty” by Eliot A. Cohen, tells the history of war along “The Great Warpath”, which prominently features how Lake George, Lake Champlain and especially Fort Ticonderoga played a major part in us becoming American, not British or French. You can tour forts recreated on the remains of actual fort sites in Lake George Village with Fort William Henry, and up north on Lake Champlain you have Fort Ticonderoga, plus the Crown Point State Historic Site, which features actual ruins of the French Fort, St. Frederic, and the largest Fort built by the British in North America, His Majesty’s Fort of Crown Point. To the south down along the Hudson River, we have the Saratoga National Historical Park, which played a prominent part in turning the Revolutionary War against the British, in favor of the American Rebels. In Fort Edward on the Hudson River, there is a small museum/visitors center at the Rogers Island Visitors Center that showcases artifacts and the story of Captain Robert Rogers, who wrote his “Rogers Rules of Ranging” in 1757 for his British Irregular Forces on the Island, and this handbook is still currently taught in training and used by the US Army Rangers and Special Operations Forces fighting around the world.