Lake George

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

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Gelina Basin and the Jay Mountain Ridge - 5/17/15

Leesa and I spent Thusday night through Saturday doing trail work in the Hoffman Notch Wilderness.  We accomplished a lot but it was tiring work.  Today we took to hiking.

Leesa missed my trip last weekend to Arnold Mountain and Gelina Basin in the Jay Mountain Wilderness and she wanted to see the waterfalls I had found in the Gelina Basin, so I planned a different route to the same destination.

I got permission from Ward Lumber Company to access the Jay Mountain Wilderness from their property, starting at the end of Nugent Road in the Town of Jay.  We drove to the gate at the eastern end of the road and parked the car there.

The woods road we followed on the Ward Lumber Company property was in great shape.  After 0.7 miles, we reached the State Land boundary.  We continued to follow the woods road, and at 1.0 miles, we came to a private in-holding with a small seasonal camp.  We skirted around the camp and soon reached the bottom of the Gelina Basin drainage.    

Leesa making her way up the lower end of the Gelina Basin drainage

Rev had no problem rock hopping in the basin

Looking back down the lower portion of the drainage

At 1.6 miles, we reached the lower of the 2 waterfalls.  We paused here for Leesa to admire the falls, then continued the short 0.2 miles to the 2nd falls.  Another stop and then we continued to climb the drainage.  It had seen some of this terrain last week, but soon we climbed into new territory.

A tempting viewpoint which we bypassed 

We followed the Gelina Basin drainage almost all the way to the the high point, then branched off to climb the wall of the basin to the open rock viewpoint that is the short spur off of the Jay Mountain Trail. 

The open rock just left of center is Arnold Mountain    

Leesa climbed slow and steady and we reached western viewpoint of the Jay Mountain Trail.  There were a half dozen people milling about.   

Another good look at Arnold Mountain (large exposed rock summit)
Rather than work our way down the ridge, we backtracked a little, then side-sloped to reach the lower tier of open rock.  We looked back up at the western Jay ridge viewpoint and could see a crowd of people watching us... probably wondering how we got where we were... and where we were going.

Lower rock ledge

Rev looking NE towards Arnold Mountain

Looking west, Whiteface Mountain in the distance

 We decided to head NW to drop down into Kelly Basin and take a look at that drainage.  The Kelly Basin drainage turned out to be nothing more that a small creek with no features of interest to us.  We cut back over to the waterfalls to soak our feet and enjoy some afternoon sun (Rev even took a nap).   There was even a his and hers lounge rock where we each stretched out for some sun.

Rev taking a well earned drink...
The mist on our faces from the waterfall was wonderful! 

5 minutes after we got to the falls, Rev was asleep

Let sleeping dogs lie...

Look in the lower left...!

An August watering hole? 

Leesa reluctantly putting her boots back on
I guess you can tell we liked this spot.  Eventually though, it was time to leave.  We spent so long at the waterfall, we almost forgot that we had hiked.  After an easy 1.6 miles back down the woods road we were back at the car. 

Hike Stats:
Hike Distance:  6 miles
Hike Time:  5 hours
Total Vertical Gain:  ~2100' 

The route (click image to enlarge)

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Arnold Mountain and Gelina Basin - Jay Mountain Wilderness - 5/9/15

Over the past 3 years, I've climbed Jay Mountain a half dozen times; 3 times on the old herd path, and 3 times on the new marked trail.  The Jay ridge is a wonderful place and it is one of my favorite hikes.

Each time I've climbed, I've looked North to smaller peak that had a huge monolith of rock at the summit.  I looked on my map and found that the peak was named Arnold Mountain and it rises to a respectable 2802'.  It is located near the northern end of the Jay Mountain Wilderness Area.

I looked at the area on Google Earth and I also noted a drainage that looked like it had been ripped wide open; perhaps by Hurricane Irene.  I was now intriqued by two features north of the Jay Mountain ridge.

Fast forward 3 years and I finally decided to get out and explore the area.  I parked at the trailhead for Jay Mountain and took the marked trail to the 1st viewpoint on the ridge.  It was now time to leave the trail and head north.  I followed an open ridge ridge that descended northward.  There were some cliff bands and challenges that had to be negotiated.  It was a little slower going than I had expected.

I head north at roughly a bearing of 350 degrees until the grade lessened; at which time I turned westward to get to the drainage in Gelina Basin.  In reaching the drainage, I was excited to find it was even more interesting than I had hoped.  It was pretty easy to negotiate and there were some exquisite waterfalls.  I don't know how much water flows later in the summer, but at this time there was a good volume of water.  

The fist waterfall I encountered in the Gelina Basin drainage

Rock hopping in the Gelina Basin drainage

It was good that I was following a water course.  It was about 85 degrees and my dog Rev enjoyed the water a little more than usual.  The drainage was a real unexpected treasure.  I was now heading SW towards an un-name sub summit between Arnold and Jay.  

Waterfall # 2

Looking down on Waterfall # 2
The un-named sub-summit offered a rocky viewpoint with views south to Jay and west to Whiteface.

A first viewpoint from some rock south of Arnold Mountain.  Whiteface Mountain is in the background.

Looking at the Jay Mountain ridge from open rock between Jay and Arnold.

Another angle from the un-named rock sub summit

The going got tougher once I started heading north towards Arnold along the ridge.  I just took my time in the heat of the day.

Looking north to Arnold Mountain 

Clawing my way towards Arnold
I wasn't sure that Rev and I would be able to scale the monolith of rock at the south face of Arnold Mountain, but it wasn't as steep as it looked from afar and we were able to climb right up it.

Arnold Mountain

Rev was first, as always
The black flies had been somewhat annoying thus far, but on the summit of Arnold, there was a good stiff breeze that was too strong for the black flies.  I enjoyed the breeze (and lack of bugs) and stayed on Arnold for quite a while.

Whiteface Mountain from Arnold Mountain 

The grand view westward...

Looking SE from Arnold

To head back, we continued north and then looped around to get back to the Gelina Basin from where we retraced our route.  

Our way down... Rev chose the route 
 I'll have to come back to the Gelina Basin drainage in the summer after some heavy rains.  There are some great swimming holes.

Still some ice and snow in spots

Rev didn't mind revisiting the water

Another waterfall!

Both Arnold Peak and the Gelina Basin drainage are outstanding destinations.  It was great to be able to see them both in the same day.  The Jay Mountain Wilderness is such a pretty area.  I'll be back to explore further.    

Hike Stats:
Hike Distance:  9.2 miles
Hike Time:  6.5 hours
Total Vertical Gain:  ~ 4000'

The approximate route (click image to enlarge)