Lake George

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

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Hoffman Notch Trail - Schroon, NY - 4/20/12

The Hoffman Notch Trail goes from Loch Muller in Schroon, NY to the Blue Ridge Road in North Hudson.  It is a 7.5 mile trail that follows a North-South notch.  Being in a notch, the trail often has its share of mud.  Since we had a pretty dry winter and a dry spring, I decided to take a trail run through the notch and back, hoping that it would be relatively dry.

The trail runs lies in the Hoffman Notch Wilderness area, but part of the northern end of the trail passes through private property (courtesy of the land owner).  Midway on the trail is Big Marsh, which is actually a pretty pond.  The trail doesn't get a lot of use since there is no major destination.  The nicer half of the trail is the northern half, where the trail gets into the notch and runs alongside the  pretty Hoffman Notch Brook.

Several stream crossings involve some rock hopping which can be difficult in times of high water.   The trail could use a few more trail markers, since the trail is not well worn.  The mud was still present, although it wasn't horrible.  Unfortunately my camera battery went dead after a couple pictures, so I don't have a lot of images to include here.

I didn't see any other people on the trail, but it was a Friday.  This trail is not the best trail for a trail run, but I made do.  I had to walk in some areas, and watch my step in other areas (so I wouldn't sink), but I made it.

Trail Run Stats:

Trail Distance:  14.7 (round trip)
Running Time:  4 hours, 20 minutes
Total Vertical Gain:  1720'

Trail sign at the southern trailhead

Footbridge near the southern trailhead

Approaching Big Marsh

My route shown in blue (click map to enlarge)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Whiteface & Esther Mountains - Wilmington, NY - 4/20/12

Whiteface and Esther Mountains in Wilmington, NY are both on the Adirondack High Peaks list, and are both often hiked together since close together.  There are several trail options to choose from.  On Saturday, Leesa and I chose to start at the Atmospheric Sciences Research Center and hike up Marble Mountain to Whiteface Mountain and then on the way back, take the herd path to Esther Mountain.  

Whiteface Mountain is the home of Whiteface Ski Area (Largest Vertical Drop East of the Rockies).  It also has an auto road which goes to within about 250 feet of the summit.  The actual summit has several buildings on it.  Since the summit is an open rock summit, there are fantastic views in all directions, provided the weather is good.

Esther's summit is pretty much in the trees.  There is a small opening looking back to Whiteface, otherwise the summit views are quite limited.

Are these emergency shelters?  It would be kind of neat to try out.

We started from the parking area at 10:15 AM.  There are no trail signs at this trailhead, but from the designated parking area, the trail isn't too hard to find.   It appears that perhaps there was once an incline railway going up to the summit of Marble Mountain.  Several old concrete piers remain and the trail is totally straight up a rocky path.  The summit of Marble Mountain is just a short .9 miles from the trailhead and we reached it in about 35 minutes.  There are some views at that location. 

There was quite a bit of blowdown from Hurricane Irene at a couple spots

From Marble, the path was no longer a straight rocky incline trail, but a normal trail winding its' way upward.
After 2.25 miles, we reached the junction with the Esther herd path, but we continued towards Whiteface.  Esther was our 2nd priority.  After another mile, the trail reached the auto road at about 4350'.  We chose to walk the auto road the remaining short distance to the summit.  The last little section of the trail was steep and somewhat icy and snowy.  The dog might have objected.  It was also starting to rain a little bit, but fortunately, that only lasted about 5 minutes.  

A second one a little ways before the junction with the Esther herd path

Leesa and Rev on the final 200 feet of stone steps to the summit

The clouds were interesting and threatening, but held off

The summit structures

When we got to the summit, we had it all to ourselves.  There were no other hikers and the auto road doesn't open up until close to Memorial Day.  Nice to have a commercialized summit to ourselves.

Rev -  just observing Lake Placid down below

We stayed on the summit for a half an hour and had some lunch and enjoyed the views.

The top!

Mike - obviously not getting Rev to sit still

There we go!

But not for long

A view of the summit

A new deck on top

The way back to summit parking

Nice stonework
After enjoying our time on Whiteface we walked the mile back to the Esther Mountain herd path and followed that to the summit of Esther.  Even though the path is supposedly not maintained, there was a nice foot bridge at one point over a swampy area.  There were no trail markers, but the path was easy to follow.

Esther Mountain
Esther Mountain summit plaque
View of Whiteface from Esther

We enjoyed the day.  The ice line was at about 3500'.  At that point, put on our micro spikes until we got to the auto road.  There was a little snow left in the shaded areas up high.  There were still no bugs on the trail, so that was great.  We are starting to see the black flies in some areas down low.  A sucessful day and trip!

Hike Stats:

Hike Distance:  10.0 miles
Hike Time:  7 hours 15 minutes
Total Vertical Gain:  3975'

Trailhead Elevation:  1950'
Marble Mountain Elevation:  2733'
Whiteface Mountain Elevation:  4865'
Lookout Mountain Elevation:  4075'
Esther Mountain Elevation:  4240'
Our route shown in blue

A Google Earth look at our route

Monday, April 16, 2012

Dix Mountain (Attempt) - Keene, NY 4/14/12

I'm starting to sound like a broken record.  This past weekend was another failed attempt to climb an Adirondack High Peak - Dix Mountain.  It was not for lack of trying.  I knew the hike was 6.8 miles, one way, and I knew there was a foot of fresh snow to contend with up high.  What I didn't know, was that my dog would decide it had had enough once it got to the steep section at around 3600 feet.

I parked at the trailhead for Round Pond on Route 73 in Keene.  We started on the trail at 8:30 and reached Round Pond in 15 minutes.  We made good progress traveling the 4.2 miles to the Boquet Leanto in 2 hours.  We crossed the river at that point, following the trail.

Parking Lot sign

Arriving at Round Pond

Rev surveying the pond

Trail junction for Noonmark, Round and Dix Mountains

A group of 5 had settled into the Boquet Leanto


The snow line was at 2800 feet.  We continued on, crossing the slide on the north slope of Dix.  About 30 minutes later we reached a steep incline where the push to the summit began in earnest.  The snow was about a foot deep at that point and Rev began to object to continuing our journey.  After a couple more minutes, she made her intentions known by sitting down in the snow facing back down the hill.   She refused to budge in an uphill direction.  We were at 3600 feet.  There wasn't much distance left to cover, but it was another 1200 feet to ascend.

Lots of fresh snow, but a tough path for the dog

With no cooperation from Rev, we turned around.  She was more than eager to retrace our path back down the mountain.  We passed another man climbing with a small dog and I wished him luck.  I was thankful for the nice weather and the nice day in the woods, but I really want to start grabbing some of these peaks!

She was not bashful about heading back down

Hike Stats:
(from my shortened trip)

Hike Distance:  11.8 miles
Hike Time:  6 hours
Total Vertical Gain:  2440 feet
Trailhead Elevation:  1620 feet
Turn Around Elevation:  3600 feet

EveryTrail - Find the best Hiking in New York

The blue line on Google Earth shows my path (and turnaround point) 

Sunday, April 1, 2012

TableTop Mountain - Keene, NY - 3/31/12

The weather forecast for Saturday in the Adirondack High Peaks was questionable with scattered rain, but we were ready to get into the woods. Our choice was TableTop Mountain in Keene, NY.  Leesa and I had not climbed it before.

We parked our car on the Adirondack Loj Road at the intersection with the South Meadow Road.  In the summer months, you can drive the South Meadow Road to the Marcy Dam Truck Trail and save yourself  an extra mile or so of walking.

There was a fresh inch on snow on the ground, but it was expected to get into the mid 40's F.   

Remains of Marcy Dam

The trip to Marcy Dam relatively flat and quick.  The foot bridge at the dam was washed out on 8/28/11 in Hurricane Irene and has not been rebuilt.

The remains of the foot bridge are roped off

Still a great view, but little water

Bear are becoming more common in the High Peaks

I like this shot, looking back at the dam

We left the dam and climbed the Van Hoevenburg trail towards Mount Marcy and past the Phelps trail.
You eventually see the sign (pictured below) which denotes the start of the herd path to Table Top.  Although it is a herd path, it is quite easy to follow.  The entire hike is actually relatively easy, with no extremely difficult sections.

Beginning of the Herd Path from the Van Hoevenburg Trail

On the Table Top summit plateau
As we started to get near the summit plateau, it began to look like winter.  There was a little snow and rime ice in the trees.  We wore micro spikes for traction.  No snowshoes or crampons were necessary.

Still a little bit like winter

Leesa and Rev on the summit next to the sign

Mike and Rev

It looks colder than it felt



You can see a little of the blue sky and sun trying to break through



Table Top Mountain at EveryTrail

Our GPX route

We enjoyed the hike.   There are limited views from Table Top, but as you can see in the above pictures it's still nice.  I felt like this was one of the easier high peaks to climb since there were no sections of the trail that posed any great difficulty.  

Trip Stats:

Hike Distance:  13 miles round trip
Hike Time:  7 hours
Total Vertical Gain:  2550'
Trailhead Elevation:  2050'
Summit Elevation:  4427'

Our route shown in blue