Lake George

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

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Vanderwhacker Pond and Boreas Tract Exploration - 5/15/16

Today we switched plansand went with a last minute Plan B.  We arrived at Upper Works about 9 AM this morning fully intending to hike to Flowed Lands to check on our adopted lean-to at Herbert Brook.  It was alternating between snow, sleet and rain and showed no signs of stopping.  We didn't have adequate gear to be out in a cold rain for hours on end, so I came up with an alternate plan.

We parked on Blue Ridge Road (Boreas Road) at a lone parking spot directly south of Vanderwhacker Pond.  I had been to the pond before, but Leesa had not.  When I was there, it was winter, so I didn't get to see what the pond looked like.  We also wanted to climb the un-named hill to the NW of Vanderwhacker Pond.  This hill is part of the newly acquired Boreas Pond Tract.

We followed the herd path that fisherman use to get to the pond.  It is easy to follow for the most part.  It crosses the outlet brook 3 times in the one mile walk to the pond.  We approached the pond from the west side, where there is a two tiered beaver pond with two dams. 


The lower beaver dam

Once at the edge of the pond, we could see 3 loons out on the pond.  To our surprise, they swam towards us to get a look at us.  There was no nest nearby that we could see.  They serenaded us for a couple minutes and then we moved on.


Vanderwhacker Pond


Loons!








Upper beaver dam.


Upper beaver pond.


Beaver lodge at the upper pond.

We left Vanderwhacker POnd and sets our sites on the un-named hill to the NW.  When we reached the Boreas Pond Track property line we found yellow diamond shaped discs.


Boreas Pond Tract Property Line.

We noted Trilliums in bloom everywhere as we climbed.  The hillside had obviously been logged many years ago as most the the trees on the hillside were tiny.  The hill was almost exclusively hardwoods and there was a delightful ridge at the top connecting the true summit with several lessor summits.




As we gained the ridge, it was snowing again and windy.  It felt like November, not mid-May.
 

Not a tough bushwhack at all.

First we went to the triple bumps at the north end of the ridge, then we went south along the ridge to the true summit.  There may have been some visibility on a clear day, but the snow squalls killed any views that might have been.  There were still no leaves on the trees, but once they leaf out, that will eliminate any views as well.






Vanderwhacker Pond down below.

From the true summit, we continued south and found a descent route that took us back towards the south end of the pond where we took the herd path back to the car.

Hike Stats:
Hike Distance:  4.3 miles
Hike Time 3 hours
Total Vertical Gain:  ~1000'  


The route (click image to enlarge)

The route on the Nat Geo map.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Eddy and Thomas Mountains - Lake George Wild Forest - 5/14/16

On this day I chose to climb another pair of peaks that would be new to me:  Eddy Mountain and Thomas Mountain.  This pair lie in the Hudson River Special Management Area of the Lake George Wild Forest.  They are near the Town of Lake Luzerne.  Don't confuse this Thomas Mountain with the one in Bolton.

I chose River Road as my access route and I parked at the first large parking lot (where road maintenance ends).  From there I continued north along the river on the unmaintained road to the next small pulloff.  There is a sign there indicating a foot path to campsite #6.  The same footpath also continues past Bear Slide waterslide on Buttermilk Brook and on to the Gay Pond Road. 

I turned on this trail and almost immediately I saw the charred remains of a forest fire.  It realized that this fire was probably the fire that occurred on 4/23/16.  On that day, I was just to the north climbing Number 7 Mountain and I saw extensive smoke nearby to the south.

This fire occurred near campsite number 6 and went most of the way up the south side of Morton Mountain.  I don't know if the fire started from a spark from a campfire at site 6, or if it was from some other fire ring or cigarette butt.  I do remember that on 4/23, the ground was very dry and that a ground fire would spread quickly.     


Looking at the charred ground from campsite number 6.

The fire damage ended right at the Bear Slide Falls.  This water slide is perhaps 300 feet long and is well worth a visit if you haven't seen it.  It is only 0.8 miles from the parking lot where I parked; even less from the parking spot for campsite #6.   

I was on the trail early so the Bear Slide wasn't in the best light for photographs.  I was out in advance of the black flies, but they caught up with me about 9 AM on top of Eddy Mountain.   


Buttermilk Brook

Above the Bear Slide water slide, I crossed Buttermilk Brook and climbed Eddy Mountain.  There is no real view from the summit, but a few viewpoints are nearby. 


A viewpoint near Eddy Mountain.


This spiderweb looks like a CD.

 At the best viewpoint, south of the true summit, I found a memorial to someone who passed away in 2014.  There was a large flag and some objects fastened to a tree.  


A memorial was found at this viewpoint south of Eddy Mountain.


Looking NW from the viewpoint.


The memorial objects on the tree below the flag.





After the memorial, I headed for the ridge containing Thomas Mountain.  I crossed an old woods road along the way.  I headed to the south end of the ridge and then proceeded north.


A cairn on a ledge at the south end of the Thomas Mountain ridge.


This looked like an old car headlamp, but I didn't see anything else around.

I found the state land boundary running right along the top of the ridge and I saw several boundary markers along the way, in addition to the yellow blazes.


A state land boundary marker on Thomas Mountain. 

Thomas Mountain did not offer any spectacular viewpoints either, but the woods were open and inviting.  I did put on a bug headnet after leaving the summit of Eddy Mountain and it remained on my head most of the rest of the way (the price of hiking in May during the black fly season).

I thought the nicest part of the ridge was the north end; just due to the lush green grass in contrast to the trees where the leaves were just beginning to open.  I've included a few pictures from this area below.   














A viewpoint north of Thomas Mountain 




 From the north end of the Thomas Mountain ridge, I dropped off the ridge heading NE until I came to the Gay Pond Road.  From there, I went back to the Bear Slide trail and back to the car.


More charred forest floor.

Hike Stats:
Hike Distance:  8.7 miles
Hike Time:  5 hours
Total Vertical Gain:  ~2350'



The route (traveled counter-clockwise)


The route as shown on the Nat Geo map.