Lake George

Lake George
Lake George - from Tongue Mtn Range - 11/11/2011

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Kayak Paddle - Fort Ann Beach (Pilot Knob Road) to Phelps Island - 6/24/15

Our plan for Part 2 of the days adventure had to be curtailed a little bit.  We finished our hike of Bald Peak at 2:30.  We stopped at Sticks & Stones in Schroon Lake for a late lunch/ early dinner and it was now 4 PM.  By the time we stopped by the house, loaded the kayaks and drove out Pilot Knob Road to Fort Ann Beach, it was 5:45 PM.  The parking lot is small and can only hold 6-8 cars.  If the lot is full, you can always drop the boat and head south om Pilot Knob Road about a half mile to the Buck Mountain trailhead parking and leave your car there.

An afternoon breeze was starting to pick up, making it a little choppy on the lake.  We didn't care too much.  We had no goal about trying to cover a certain amount of distance.  We just launched and took our time, bobbing about in the waves.

We headed north around Point Comfort  and continued north towards Phelps Island.  We stayed close to the shore because of the choppiness.

Phelps Island straight ahead

Dome Island just left of center

Looking into the sun provides some interesting pictures

Lindsay, heading toward Phelps Island  

Phelps Island is a state owned island and it has 7 campsites on the island, but none of them were occupied.  It would have been a great night for camping.  I was wishing I was staying the night.

Phelps Island
We decided not to continue paddling to past Watch Point to Refuge Island, but rather loop around Phelps Island and enjoy a leisure paddle back.

Lindsay paddling around the north side of Phelps Island.

Dome Island - Left center

Either the wind was dying down, or we had the wind at our backs, but it felt calmer on the way back so we cut across the bay and mad a more direct line for Fort Ann Beach.

This whole trip was only 2.2 miles and took 50 minutes, but it still felt wonderful.  It doesn't take long out on the water to feel like you've gotten away from it all.  I'm feeling the need to do some more kayaking in the near future.  I'll probably choose the water on those hot buggy days when the bugs drive you insane in the woods.

Paddle Stats:
Paddle Distance:  2.2 miles
Paddle Time:  50 minutes

Our short paddle route 

Bald Peak (3060') - Giant Mountain Wilderness - 6/24/15

Bald Peak is a great half day hike from Route 9 in New Russia.  It's a good workout with 2500' of vertical gain over the course of 7.8 miles.  

I was spending the day with my lovely daughter Lindsay and we opted for a half day hike and a half day paddle.  I threw out a few suggestions for the hike portion of the day and described the features of each hike.  She chose Bald Peak.

We started on the trail at 9:30.  It was a beautiful day and that is partly why we got together on this day.  We had a nice breeze and the bugs were non-existent all day. 

The first thing I noticed as we started hiking was all the flowing water.  In my mind I had it that this trail was quite dry, but after the rains we've had, there was water most of the way up.  That was great for my dog Rev.  It gave her a chance to drink almost whenever she wanted.    

Blueberry Cobbles 
After 45 minutes we arrived at the 1st viewpoint.  We stopped here for a drink before continuing on.  Soon we passed over Blueberry Cobbles.

Flowers on Blueberry Cobble

From Blueberry Cobbles the trail drops several hundred feet to a col and then resumes the climb. There is another small bump with a ledge that provides a good view of Bald.

A good look at Bald Peak
There is another small drop then the steep portion of the climb begins.  Open rock soon appears and you can spend time looking at the scenery while you climb.

Let the steep climb begin...

Views offset the steep climb

Near the summit of Bald Peak.  Rock Peak Ridge in the distance and Giant Mountain on the right in the background.

As we approached the summit, we passed a group of rock cairns of various shapes and sizes.  Someone has been practicing their cairn building technique.

A unique cairn

A large rockpile just below the summit 

Rev is posing

Lindsay is soaking up some sun.  Rev doesn't see the point.

Rev has told Lindsay that it is time to continue walking
If you do this hike, don't stop at the summit of Bald Peak; take the time to walk along the subsequent ridge, past a large glacial erratic to another viewpoint at the far end of the ridge.  This ridge walk reminds me of the Jay Mountain Ridge and it's worth the extra short walk.

At the far end of the ridge, the trail drops steeply into a col before climbing steeping towards Rocky Peak Ridge.  This is a good place to turn around if you are only looking for a half day hike.

A zoom view of Iron Mountain to the north.... a great bushwhack destination.

A zoom view of Owl Head Lookout

This is the view from the viewpoint at the west end of the Bald Peak ridge.

Looking east back at Bald Peak

A birch tree fighting the harsh climate

Lincoln Pond 

Lindsay tried to move glacial erratic

Still trying...

A stone lined path...
On our way back, we took the shortcut trail to bypass Blueberry Cobbles.  Once at the car, we headed towards Lake George to get our afternoon kayak paddle underway.

We didn't see anyone all day until the last mile when we saw a couple heading in.  This trail doesn't get much use; mostly just through hikers doing the Rocky Peak Ridge traverse.

Hike Stats:
Hike Distance:  8.2 miles
Hike Time:  5.5 hours
Total Vertical Gain:  ~ 2500'

Our route (click image to enlarge)

The route as shown on the NG topo