Lake George

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

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Rattlesnake ! - Black Mountain - 7/9/11

I didn't take too many pictures from this trip, but it sure was interesting.  I went with Leesa and my son Nick on a Saturday.  We parked at the parking lot on Pike Brook Road, just off Route 6 in Huletts Landing.  We decided to hike the 6.6 mile Black Mountain Loop counterclockwise.  The weather was great, low 70's, breezy, low humidity, therefore the bugs weren't too bad.

Elev. at Start:  1480'
Elev. at Summit:  2665'
Total Elev. Gain:  1185'
Hiking time to Summit: 1.5 hours
Return time via Lapland Pond:  2.5 hours
Total Hiking Time:  4.0 hours

There were already about 30 people in 7 groups ahead of us on the trail, and we saw most of them coming out as we went in.  We diidn't get started until about 1 PM.

We reached the summit and had a fantastic view looking north along Lake George.

In the center of this picture, along the far (western shore) is Steere Island where I camped on 6/26/11
Leesa, enjoying the view
Looking all the way up the northern half of Lake George
Continuing the loop by heading south proved to be much more difficult.  The trail had no markers and was quite overgrown and hard to follow at times.  There were a couple nice viewpoints, however, giving us a chance to see the Narrows Islands of the Glen Island group of Lake George.

Looking south towards the Narrows from the shoulder of Black Mountain
Once we connected with the trail from Black Mountain Point to Balck Mountain Ponds, the condition of the trail and the signage improved.  We looked for the Black Mountain leanto but did not find it.

Our route is highlighted in blue

As we approached Lapland Pond, we decided to take the short side trail to look for the leanto there.  Shortly after turning onto this trail, Nick, who was in the lead heard a sound.  He looked ahead on the trail, and there was an Eastern Timber Rattlesnake, probably 5 feet long and about 3" around.  This was the first rattlesnake any us of us had ever seen in the woods.  It had no interest in moving very far, and we just watched it for a little while and then turn around.  We had no further interest in seeing the leanto!  You probably have to click on the pciture and view it full size to see the snake.  I didn't have a camera with a zoom, so I don't have a good closeup picture.

Rattlesnake - moving from left to right.  His head by the trunk of the tree
Rangers have told us that rattlesnakes inhabit the Tongue Mountain area in particular, but can swim across Lake George, and have been found on the islands.  A ranger at the Narrow Island office told me last week that he has probably pulled 100 rattlesnakes off the islands in the last 20 years.  I didn't ask him what he does with them.  He said a male rattlesnake can swim up to 3 miles.  They generally try to stay away from people and only get provoked when threatened.  That's good, because I'd prefer not to see them, although this one safe experience was OK.

After the snake, we made it back uneventfully to the car.  The trip took us about 4 hours at our exploratory pace and was interesting, to say the least!

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