Lake George

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

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Lyon Mountain - 5/26/12

Our pick for adventure on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend was Lyon Mountain.  Leesa had been wanting to do this for awhile for our ADK Firetower Challenge.  We also wanted to avoid some of the areas we expected to be crowded.

Lots of nice trail work went into the new red marker trail

As reported earlier, we stopped in the morning to climb Silver Lake Mountain. After lunch, we were ready for Lyon. The trail to the summit of Lyon has recently been rerouted. The old trail went pretty much in a straight line SW to the summit for a hike of about 2 miles. We ended up ascending this route since we missed the new trailhead on the left a couple hundred yards into the walk. Near the the top, the new trail crossed the old trail, so we hopped on it at that point.

Chazy Lake from the Lyon Mountain firetower summit cab

We arrived at the summit a few minutes later.  Lyon has a large summit with lots of open rock.  There is also a small path that starts out on boards in a damp area that leads to an alternate viewpoint at the far end of the summit ridge.

The firetower is in nice shape

Cairns come in all sizes and types


Our weather was great, even though the forecast called for 40% chance of showers.

The summit rock looks like lunar rock

An interesting tree along the small footpath to the alternate summit view

After eating on the summit we desended the new trail the entire way.  It is much nicer and it travels through varying forest with interesting features.  The trail is well built, but it is longer... 3.4 miles vs. 2.0 miles on the old trail.  As you can see on the GPS track at the bottom of this post, there are a lot of switchbacks on the new trail.  This helps keep the grade moderate, but lengthens the hike a bit.

Nice bridge work on the new red marker trail

This is the trail head we missed on the way up.  It was on the left a couple hundred yards from the parking lot

Sign out at Chazy Lake Road

Lyon Mountain has a nice firetower and nice summit with good views from the tower.  The new trail is a nice walk.  The old trail is steep, wet and rocky.  We preferred the new trail!

Hike Stats:
Hike Distance:  6.1 miles (for our loop of old and new trails)
Hike Time:  3.5 hours
Total Vertical Gain:  2100'

This map shows the old route highlighted in blue (click image to enlarge)

The new route is the zig-zag route. The route up is more or less straight line

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Silver Lake Mountain - 5/26/12

I think one of the next things I will work on is to compile my list of favorite Adirondack hikes and categorize them by length of hike, vertical gain, hike features etc.  There are all types of hikes out there to satisfy all criteria.

Case in point...Silver Lakes Mountain.  This mountain is north of Wilmington, NY (and Whiteface Mountain), and even north of Catamount Mountain.  As the trailhead sign indicates (see below), the trail is only .9 miles long, but a steep 900' vertical gain.  We were passing through on our way to Lyon Mountain, but had heard that this trail was worth the stop, so we did it.

On the summit ridge

The hike took us 1.5 hours.  The reward was a fabulous view to the SW of Silver Lake, Taylor Pond and Union Falls Pond.  I would guess that many 6 year old kids could climb this hike and enjoy it.  A nice reward without a half day of hiking.

Our route shown in blue (click image to enlarge)

There is no water available on the trail once you get started, so bring your own.  Bring your camera.  You will snap quite a few pictures.

The trailhead sign along County Route 17 (just south of Hawkeye)

Almost to the top

Lots of lakes to the SW
This hike is on my list of short superior hikes.

The summit

Hike Stats:
Hike Distance:  2 miles
Hike Time:  1.5 hours
Total Vertical Gain:  1030'
Views:  Priceless  

Mike and Rev along the summit ridge

Rev... alert on the summit

This trail looks like it would be mostly dry most of the time.  Leesa likes that.

A pair of dice

Monday, May 28, 2012

Mount Marshall - 5/27/12

What a pleasant surprise this weekend's weather turned out to be.  Scattered storms were forecast but we only saw nice weather.  Saturday Leesa and I hiked in the northern most section of the Adirondack Park (Lyon Mountain and Silver Lake mountain), but I'll report on those tomorrow.

On Sunday, we decided to climb another Adirondack High Peak - Mount Marshall.  We parked at Upper Works, off of Blue Ridge Road.  We didn't get to the trailhead until 9 AM, but there was still quite a bit of parking space available.  We were surprised, since it was a holiday weekend.  We chose this hike to purposely avoid the most popular hiking areas.

We headed north from the trailhead towards Indian Pass and after .4 miles, branched right on the Calamity Brook Trail.  The trail travels northeasterly along the brook for 4 miles to Flowed Lands.  The trail is a great backcountry ski trail in the winter.  This was my first time on the trail in summer, and it looked entirely different without the snow.  It's a nice gradual 1000' climb in the 4 mile route.  Once at Flowed lands, the trail skirts around the western shore.  We saw 3 or 4 tents in the Flowed land area.

Looking North from Flowed Lands towards Avalance Pass.  Mount Colden is on the right.

A Leanto at the junction of Calamity Brook Trail and Flowed Lands

Flowed Lands

New footbridge - a few paces south of the Herbert Brook herd path

At the NW end of Flowed Lands is the Beaver Point Lean-to and the beginning of the Herbert Brook herd path to Mount Marshall.  There is a rock cairn marking the start of the herd path.  

Cairn marking the start of the Herbert Brook herd path

We stopped for a few moments at the lean-to for a snack before starting up the herd path.  We knew from looking at the map that we would soon be climbing about 1500' over the course of the next 1.5 miles.

Herbert Brook Lean-to 

View south from Herbert Brook Point Lean-to

Another view of the Herbert Brook Lean-to

One of many inviting water pools beneath a waterfall on the Herbert Brook herd path 

The Herbert Brook herd path is not an easy one.  It climbs rather steeply and has lots of roots and mud and also crosses the brook many times.  That said, it is a pretty trail.  The brook has many waterfalls and water slides.  There are also many inviting pools to cool off in during the hot weather.

The herd path crosses the Herbert Brook many times along the route

Very long water slides on Herbert Brook

Leesa and Rev on the summit.  Rev of course is hungry

We reached the summit around 2:30 and sat down for a bit to enjoy our accomplishment.  While on the summit, we met "Rockbiter" whom we had seen before on another hike (can't remember which one).  He gave Rev 4 pieces of beef jerky and she loved it.  She wasn't too polite though.  She barked for more.

Summit disk

As had been reported by others, Marshall doesn't have much of a view.  There is a limited view of Iroquois to the north, and if you walk slightly south from the summit, there is a decent view.  

View of Iroquois from Marshall

After a bit, we retraced our track back to the car.  We made better time on the way out and were back at the car at 6:30 (about 4 hours to return).  We quite enjoyed the nice day.  The weather was unexpectedly nice and there were no bugs!

Zoom in of Iroquois

A viewpoint (looking south) a short distance from the summit

From the viewpoint, looking east.  Mount Marcy on the left.

Zoom in view Looking towards Mount Colden

Hike Stats:

Hike Distance:  14 miles
Hike Time:  9.75 hours
Total Vertical Gain:  3185'
Trailhead Elevation:  1765'
Summit Elevation:  4360'

Our route shown in blue (click to enlarge)

Our GPS route to Mount Marshall

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Macomb, South Dix, East Dix and Hough Mountains - 5/19/12

What a stretch of nice weather in the Northeastern US.  It was a perfect opportunity to do a long hike.  Last weekend was Dix Mountain, this Saturday was the lower Dix range, including 4 peaks:  Macomb, South Dix, East Dix and Hough mountains.  All 4 are Adirondack High Peaks and they could be done in a 12.5 mile trek which is what we chose to do.

Rev on the Macomb Slide

We started at the Elk Lake trailhead, same as last weekend. I knew we would have to be early to get a parking spot, due to the Victoria Day holiday weekend in Canada, and I was right. We arrived at the trailhead at about 7:15 AM and we grabbed the next to last parking spot. Hikers arriving later had to park 2 miles to the South at Clear Pond and walk the road (or catch a ride) to the trailhead. The car next to us had a nice NY license plate "50 PEAKS". I did see a lot of car with Canadian plates.

After crossing this footbridge, the rock cairn denotes the herd path beginning on the right

We followed the Dix path for an hour until just before the Slide Brook Leanto where there is a foot bridge with a handrail. Just after crossing that footbridge, there is a rock cairn ahead denoting where the Slide Brook herd path branches off to the right. We took that herd path which follows Slide Brook up to the Macomb Slide. We then climbed the slide which brought us up to 4000' and just 400 feet shy of the summit. At the top of the slide, the herd path resumed and we followed it to the top of Macomb Mountain. It took us about 2.5 hours to get to the top of Macomb from the car.

Painted Trillium

Elk Lake from Macomb Slide

Near the top of the slide looking back down

The top of Macomb Mountain

We left Macomb, following the herd path to South Dix.  In the col between Macomb and South Dix there is a fork with a rock cairn.  The left branches to the Lillian Brook Herd Path, the right branches to South Dix.  We turned right here and began the rocky ascent up South Dix, which I thought was the best part of the hike (along with Macomb Slide). 

Climbing South Dix


At the top of the rock you re-enter the trees.  The summit is in the trees.

A tree at the summit of South Dix with an X and the initials S.D.

We continued on to East Dix.  As we did so, we began to run into many groups of hikers.  We probably saw 10 different groups.  One group had 9 people.  Some of the groups we saw multiple times.  All of them were very nice.  We chatted with a nice man from Burlington, VT and a nice man named Jared from Syracuse. 

The summit of East Dix

 The summit of East Dix is an exposed rock ledge with great views in 3 directions.  From there we retraced our steps back to South Dix.  A couple of steps from the summit was a rock cairn marking the herd path to Hough.  We took it and went over a false summit before coming down to a col between the false summit and Hough.  Here was a camping spot with a fire ring.  Immediately behind it was a small rock cairn and the Lillian Brook herd path.  That would be a descent route, but first we had to go up Hough.

A ledge just before the summit of Hough

We reached the summit of Hough at 2:30 and had the top to ourselves for 10 minutes before one of the groups caught back up to us.  Hough and Macomb both have small rock openings on the summit which afford views.  We then retraced our steps back down Hough to the col and camp site and began our descent down the Lillian Brook herd path.  We were a little worried about it because 2 different groups told us troubling things about it.  One group said it was hard to distinguish and follow, the other group said it was a really treacherous route.  Neither turned out to be the case.  It was a pleasant route.  The herd path was easy to follow and after a little while it came to Lillian Brook, which it then followed down.  A little ways down we came to a rock cairn marking a fork that goes to the col between Macomb and South Dix.

Macomb and Elk Lake from Hough.  Clear Pond also visible in the center.

Leesa on the ledge just before the summit of Hough


Lillian Brook from the herd path
Once down the Lillian Brook herd path, we re-entered the Dix Trail and had about a 3.5 mile hike back to the car.  All-in-all a great day with great weather.

Edit:  9/10/12 - The brand new National Geographic High Peaks map shows the herd paths on the map.  This is new.  The previous version did not.

Hike Stats

Hike Distance:  12.5 miles
Hike Time:  10 hours
Total Vertical Gain:  4400'

Our route shown in blue