Lake George

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

Sunday, February 26, 2012

One Dog Day - 2/25/12

Talk about an emotionally draining weekend...

I was hoping to write a post tonight entitled "Dog Days Ahead", but unfortunately my plans went awry.  It all began early in the week when I talked Leesa into the idea of adopting a dog from a shelter.  On Wednesday, 2/22, I went and looked at "Dawson", a collie/hound mix.  He was quite a nervous frightened looking dog, but he was beautiful.

Thursday night I decided he was the one, so I went with my two sons and picked him up at the shelter at noon on Friday.  Yes... he was nervous.  The shelter worker had to place him in my car.  About 10 minutes later he peed on the sheet I had put on the back seat.  We made it home OK otherwise.  He was nervous entering the house, but he went in.  He walked around and wouldn't sit on the dog bed I bought him, but he liked sitting on the rugs.

Dawson in the Dining Room

In the early evening, he did step into the dog bed and lay down.  He was still quite nervous and didn't know what to make of us all.  He was housebroken, and knew the commands "sit", "come" and "lie down".  He also walked well on a leash.  He was not rambunctious, but hopefully was an energetic 2-1/2 year old young dog. 

Zack with Dawson

We all slept without issue.  I heard him go up and down the stairs at 4:30 in the morning and I went outside with him in case he needed to to his business.  I then went back to sleep until 6:30. 

Dawson in the Living Room

The shelter told me he might not eat for a day or two, but I put out some food for him.  He didn't eat or drink.  A little bit later in the morning we decided to go for a short hike with him to see how he would do.

We selected Baxter Mountain, in Keene, NY for our hike.  It would be a short 1.1 mile hike from Route 9N, with 770 vertical.  We started up the trail about 10:30 in the morning.  Leesa was in front, followed by my two sons, then myself with Dawson on the leash.  When we were about 50 yards from the summit, Dawson backed away and pulled him head out of the collar.  He quickly ran off heading back down the trail.

The Trailhead sign

A second sign at the Trailhead

We quickly followed him, but his tracks veered off the trail.  I told my son to head for the car and that I would follow his tracks for awhile.  It was obvious that he was running, and he quickly headed through some thick brush that I would not be able to follow him through.

The one trail junction along this route

Discouraged, we all met back at the car.  We drove up and down Route 9N for awhile looking for him and did not see him.  We took a break and went for lunch at the Noonmark Diner in Keene.  We then went back to the trailhead and started walking back in.  Within a minute, we saw him again, but to our dismay, he bolted again and ran across Route 9N to the north side.  He then turned and ran east.  I followed his tracks for a mile or so and didn't see him again.

Discouraged once again, we headed for home as darkness approached.  I had to work at Gore Mountain today, but Leesa went back to the location today to look for him again.  She ran into the Animal Control Officer, who had seen him twice today on Route 9N (a little closer to Keene), but he ran off both times.   

Leesa left some lost dog notices in town and now there are multiple people watching for him.  Hopefully he can be reclaimed.  We're all worried about his safety in the cold, and without food.  He no longer has his collar on, but he was microchipped, so if he ends up at a shelter, we should be notified.  We'll just have to sit tight and wait.  It really stinks.  We had our dog for 24 hours.  We're still hoping he'll be found, but I don't know what the chances are. 
Our short hike route in blue

Monday, February 20, 2012

Peaked Mountain & Sawyer Mountain - 2/20/12

Today took several twists that changed my hiking plans twice.  I had planned to climb an Adirondack High Peak today, but that plan actually first fell apart last night.  I had spent the weekend skiing at Gore Mountain on Saturday and Sunday.  Sunday was Gore's telemark festival, and it gave me a chance to demo some new equipment.

At the end of the day, the five of us who went carted our gear over to the car pickup area.  I went down and brought the car back up.  We loaded all the gear and went home with no issue.   As I unloaded everything at home, I noticed my ski boots weren't in the car.   We determined that they had been left at the loading area.  I was really bummed, but decided to head back to Gore this morning in hopes that the parking lot attendants saw the boots and brought them over to the lost and found.

Since I had to be at Gore this morning, I decided I might as well hike something in the area.  Leesa suggested Wakely Mountain since it was close by and is another mountain with a firetower on the ADK Firetower Challenge.  It sounded like a plan.  Leesa and I were at Gore this morning at 7:15 and fortunately the boots were sitting right outside the Lost and Found door.  We didn't even have to wait for Lost and Found to open up for the morning.  So far so good!  I was greatly relived to get the boots back.

Next we headed off to Indian Lake and down the Cedar River Road to towards the Wakely Mountain trailhead.  I knew it was 12 miles down the road, with the last 4 miles being "unimproved".  What I didn't know, was that the last 4 miles are actually a snowmobile trail in winter.  It didn't look driveable, and Leesa and I didn't want to walk 4 miles each way on the snowmobile path just to get in and out from the trailhead.

We pulled out the map and pondered what to do.  Plan C - We decided to take the quick hike up nearby Sawyer Mountain (trailhead on Route 28N, just west of Indian Lake) and then go back to North River and Thirteenth Lake and hike Peaked Mountain.

Sawyer Mountain was a short 1 mile hike each way with a vertical gain of 680'.  Leesa wore her micro spikes and I wore my snowshoes just because I wanted to.  The weather was great, low 30's F and blue sky.  We did the Sawyer hike in about an hour.  A nice warm up hike.

Summit of Sawyer Mountain

View west from Sawyer Mountain
Mike at viewpoint, just west of summit
Trailhead sign at parking area on Route 28N

Our Sawyer Mountain route shown in blue

After Sawyer, we drove back through Indian Lake to North River and over to the trailhead at Thirteenth Lake for the Thirteenth Lake/Peaked Mountain trailhead.  For this hike we anticipated a relatively gentle grade until the final half mile, and that is how it turned out.

We followed the trail along the north shore of Thirteenth Lake SW for .7 miles before the trail  turned NW along the Peaked Mountain brook.  Following the brook, the trail rises moderately for .5 miles before becoming a gentle grade for 1.5 miles as the trail goes past 3 beaver ponds.  Finally at 2.7 miles from the trailhead, the trail rises steeply about 650' in the last .4 miles.  This section was a little tricky, even with micro spikes.  In some spots we had to climb on frozen ice with a inch of loose snow on top.  We made good use of tree branches and saplings to pull ourselves up.  The grade in the steep section is about 55 degrees.

At the top we were rewarded with great views from the rock outcroppings.  We were sheltered from the wind and the sun was strong.  It felt great to stop, have a snack, and enjoy the views. 
Split in trail towards Happy Pond... we continued towards Peaked Mountain
A first look at Peaked Mountain

A zoomed in view

Big boulders near one of the beaver ponds
Leesa on the summit

Peaked Mountain Pond from the summit
View looking back down at the beaver ponds and a tiny piece of Thirteenth Lake in the distance.

Another look at the summit

We left the summit at 2 PM and retraced our path back to the car.  The return trip took exactly 2 hours.  Although the summit is just under 3000', there are great views, and the push to the top, although short, makes the mountain seem higher.  We enjoyed the day.  Our plans changed twice, but we were able to grab 2 peaks anyways.

Our Peaked Mountain route shown in blue

Hike Stats:

Sawyer Mountain

Hike Distance:  2 miles
Hike Time:  1 hour
Total Vertical Gain:  680'
Summit Elevation:  2415'
Trailhead Elevation:  1965'

Peaked Mountain

Hike Distance:  6.2 miles
Hike Time:  4 hours 30 minutes
Total Vertical Gain:  1480'
Summit Elevation:  2894'
Trailhead Elevation:  1680'

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Snowy Mountain, Indian Lake NY - 2/11/12

I had climbed six Adirondack High Peaks in the last week, so it was time to do something on a different list.  We chose to climb Snowy Mountain in Indian Lake, NY on Saturday.  Snowy Mountain is part of the ADK Firetower Challenge, and is the highest mountain in the southern Adirondacks at 3899'.

Leesa, Nick and I went on this hike.  We knew it would not be a good day for visibility and we had several periods of light snow, but we had a good hike anyways.  The trailhead is a designated parking area on Route 30, a couple miles south of the town of Indian Lake.  A group of 4 guys were starting up the trail when we arrived.  No one else was there.

We chose to ascend in snowshoes, although micro spikes would have been fine.  The trail starts very gradually, and only climbs about 600 feet in the 1st 2.4 miles.  Don't be fooled though!  In the last mile the trail climbs about 1500 feet.  In the packed snow, the climb wasn't so bad as it might be in other conditions.  We were able to make the ascent in our snowshoes.

In the steep stretch, we passed the 4 other hikers.  A couple of them were barebooting and a couple were wearing tubular snowshoes that were not designed for steep ascents.  They did manage to make it up, they just couldn't go at the pace we were climbing. 

We reached the summit after about 2.5 hours from the trailhead. 

Icy steps on the firetower

No view on this day from the tower

Nick and Leesa at the firetower on the summit

The firetower is open to climb, but the cab was not accessible. 

Mike and Leesa

After a quick lunch and about 30 minutes on the  summit and then began our descent.  We switched to micro spikes for the steep pitch and kept them on for the entire descent.

We could faintly see Indian Lake in the distance from the clearing just below the summit.

Nick at the clearing just below the summit

The beginning of the steep descent

Once we got down through the steep section at the top, we made good time going down and we were back down to the car after about 2 hours.    Nick enjoyed seeing a couple feet of snow on the summit.  He hadn't seen much snow yet this winter prior to this hike.

Hike Stats:

Hike Distance:  6.8 miles
Hike Time:  4 hours, 40 minutes, including 30 minutes on the summit
Trailhead Elevation:  1810'
Summit Elevation:  3899'
Total Vertical Gain:  2340'
Maximum Slope:  57 %

Our trail shown in blue

P.S.  Below is a picture of the summit a week later, when visibility was better...

A zoomed in view of Snowy Mountain from Route 30 on a clear day

Street and Nye Mountains - 2/10/12

Street and Nye Mountains are both on the Adirondack High Peaks list, although Nye stands at 3895'.  Street Mountain is a little higher at 4166'.  Leesa and I had attempted to climb these two peaks on 12/26/11, but we were unable to cross Indian Pass Brook on that day so a revisit was necessary.

Parking for this hike is at Adirondac Loj near Lake Placid, NY.  Parking is $5 for Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK) members and $10 for non-members.

The day was quite nice with temps in the low 30's, no wind, and a mix of sun and clouds.  There is no official trail to these mountains, but the herd path is quite obvious in winter.   We packed our snowshoes, but did not use them, as micro spikes were sufficient. 

We got kind of a late start and were not on the trail until a little after 9 AM.   We also had to be back out by 3 PM since Leesa had a business conference call at 3:30, so we were moving quickly on this hike. 

We got to the col between Street and Nye about 11:10 and decided to climb Street first.  For some reason, I was thinking it would take an hour or more after the split to reach the summit, but we were there in 20 minutes or so.  We were back to the col at noon and on the summit of Nye at 12:10.

We wished we had brought our plastic "butt sliders" to use on the way down.  The trail would have been perfect.  It slope wasn't quite steep enough to slide down in our winter pants, but the "butt sliders" would have been perfect.  Instead we bounced down the trail in our micro spikes and were back to the car at 2.

View from the summit of Street Mountain

Street Mountain has some views from a small clearing.

Leesa on the summit of Street Mountain

Looking towards Nye while coming down off Street

Leesa on the summit of Nye

Nye mountain is a forested peak and has very limited filtered views. 

This one will be going soon!

The stream crossing is not totally frozen over, but rock hopping is possible 
Leesa making her way back across the stream
We didn't see any other hikers on this day, perhaps because it was a Friday and not the weekend.  Usually on a weekend you will see someone climbing to reach any of the high peaks unless the weather is poor.  It was a pleasant day and with hiking on packed snow.  There was about 2 feet of snow on the summits and only about 2 inches of snow at the trailhead.

Hike Stats:
Hike Distance:  7.8 miles
Hike Time:  4 hours, 50 minutes
Trailhead Elevation:  2195'
Summit of Nye:  3895'
Summit of Street:  4160'
Total Vertical Gain:  2805'
Our route shown in blue

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Mount Colvin and Blake Peak - 2/5/12

Saturday was such a nice day in the mountains, I went back for more on Sunday.  Saturday was Nippletop and Dial Mountains, today was Colvin and Blake.  All are reached from the Lake Road at the Ausable Club in Saint Huberts, NY.
It was chilly at the start today, 2 degrees fahrenheit.  The forecast called for a low of 14, but at least it was expected to warm to the mid 20's. 
I was once again on the trail at 7:15.  I followed the lake road to the Gill Brook cutoff, then went towards Elk Pass until the fork at 3200' where the trail splits, left to Elk Pass and Nippletop (Saturday's hike) and right to Colvin and Blake (this hike).  I was moving quick to stay warm.  I went to the split (5 miles and 2000 vertical gain) in 1 hour and 45 minutes.  At 9:45 I was on top of Colvin.
At the summit I ran into a man dismantling a tent.  He had camped on the summit of Colvin.  Although camping isn't allowed above 3500' in the High Peaks, people seem to do it anyway. 
Lower Ausable Lake from Colvin
Upper Ausable Lake from Colvin
I pushed on towards Blake and was on the summit there at 11.  The drop to the col between the 2 peaks is a steep drop from both mountains.

Blake from Colvin
A ladder on Colvin leading into the col between Colvin and Blake
The ridge on Colvin
Looks like a Christmas ornament

Sign on the summit of Blake
Although the summit of Blake is wooded, there are several viewpoints offering fine views.  I wasn't disappointed by the summit.  I hadn't heard much good about it, but I didn't mind the hike to check it out. 
Colvin from Blake
The summit of Colvin

At 12:15, I was back at the summit of Colvin.  It is a pretty neat summit and almost feels like an eagle's nest, with quite a drop from the summit viewpoint. 
Lower Ausable Lake from Colvin

Lower Ausable Lake from Colvin
At 2:30 I was back at the car after a pretty easy descent from Colvin.  I wore microspikes the entire hike.  The path was hardpack and I didn't post hole at all.  

A great finish to full weekend of hiking.  I hiked 27 miles and 8800 vertical feet with 4 Adirondack high peaks in 2 days.  Beautiful weather both days made the trips very enjoyable.
Giant from the Ausable Club
Hike Stats:

Hike Distance:  13.8 miles
Hike Time:  7 hrs, 15 minutes
Total Vertical Gain:  4310'
Colvin Summit Elevation:  4057'
Blake Summit Elevation:  3960'
Trailhead Elevation:  1270'
My route shown in blue

Colvin and Blake on Google Earth