Lake George

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

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Gothics, Pyramid & Sawteeth - 8/24/12

These are some great peaks, but let me tell you why I planned the trip this way.  1) I wanted to revisit Sawteeth.  It's the only high peak I haven't been on in the last three years, and in fact I can't count how many years it's been, 2) I had never been on the Ore Bed trail and I'd heard that Hurricane Irene had really ripped through there, 3) I was bringing my dog Rev, and therefore couldn't approach from the Adirondack Mountain Reserve (no dogs allowed), 4) I also wanted to revisit Gothics and Pyramid.  These factors pretty much dictated my route.  I would park at the Garden in Keene Valley and take the Phelps trail to Johns Brook Lodge (JBL), then take the Woodsfall trail to the Ore Bed trail.  The Ore Bed leads up to the ADK Range trail which I would take to Gothics.  From Gothics, I would shoot over the 1.5 miles to get to Pyramid and Sawteeth.  Then I would just return the way I came in.

Quite an impressive new set of steps on the left of the slide

Leesa was away on the business trip, but her brother Rob came with me.  We started from the Garden at 6:30 on Friday.  The parking lot was about half full.  The walk to JBL is an easy walk and takes just over an hour.  The crew was just serving breakfast when we walked past, and it smelled good!  I have to remember in the future to not pass by there between 7:30 and 8:00!

Looking down the slide.  Big Slide Mountain in the distance.

Once we passed JBL, the Woodsfall trail was just a short connector for us to get to the Ore Bed trail.  At the Ore Bed, the trail began to climb at a moderate rate past the Ore Bed lean-to until it reaches the slide area.  Trail crews have just recently put in a bunch of steps along the left side of the slide where the trail breaks out onto the slide for a short distance.  From this location you can really see the damage the Hurricane Irene did in this area.  It is fascinating.

More new steps!

Once out on the slide, it easy to walk on the slide if it is dry.  The steps will definitely by helpful when the rock is wet.  Once past the slide, we quickly reached the Range trail at the Gothics-Saddleback col.  From the col, it is .8 miles to the summit of Gothics.  You first go up the cable route to the false summit, then over to the true summit.  The cables are not necessary on dry rock, but I'm sure they are quite helpful under slick conditions.

Looking back at Saddleback, Basin and Haystack from the Gothics cables

Beginning at the Gothics cables, you get an impressive views to the SW of the Range trail and to the west of Big Slide Mountain.

Rev reaching the false summit of Gothics 

We reached the summit of Gothics at around 9:30 and nobody was there.  In fact, we hadn't seen a single hiker all morning.  We enjoyed our first morning snacks (yes... Rev too) and admired the views.  Then it was time to head for Pyramid and Sawteeth.  

The real summit

Since it had been so long since I had visited Pyramid and Sawteeth, I didn't remember how impressive the view from Pyramid was.  Or the fact that it is pretty rugged between Pyramid and Sawteeth.  You have to drop 1000' from Pyramid before climbing 600' to Sawteeth.

Looking SW along the Great Range from Gothics

We had Pyramid to ourselves also and we didn't mind.  From Pyramid, you get a fantastic view of  some of the impressive slides on Saddleback and Basin.

The view from Pyramid

After we left Pyramid, we began to see a couple hikers as we made our way to Sawteeth and when we got to the summit of Sawteeth, their was a couple there having a snack on the summit.

Looking at Pyramid from the trail from Gothics

The trip back to Pyramid was steep and Rob told me to go ahead of him and just wait at Pyramid, so that is what I did.  I didn't mind sitting on Pyramid again, and Rev fell asleep!

A close up of Basin from Pyramid

She'll pull me up and down mountains, but once I stopped she stopped to!  She was really out for about 10-15 minutes on the summit.  She quickly came back to life when it was time to continue.

Rev decided to take a nap on Pyramid while I took pictures

She was really out!

We made it back to Gothic about 12:30 and just made our way back down to the Ore Bed trail.  We didn't see anybody on the Ore Bed and I was quite surprised.  There had been a person in the lean-to on Thursday night, and he was eating breakfast as we passed him on the way up.  The lean-to was empty on our way down.

Going back down the slide

We got back to JBL and refilled our water bottles and talked to 2 women for awhile and then a man sitting on the deck.  It was hot there in the afternoon sun.  Rev took another nap, this time on the deck.  The women took her picture.

The trail enters the slide for a short distance

Rob was quite tired by this point.  This was the longest hike he had been on.  He was enjoying it, but his legs were tired.  Gothics and Sawteeth were high peaks 6 and 7 for him.

The Ore Bed Lean-to

We made our way back to the Garden on the Phelps trail, and that is when we began to see people.  We probably saw 50 hikers coming in as we were exiting.  Almost all of them were backpacking in, either to JBL or a tent site.  We stopped to talk briefly with quite a few of them.  We arrived by at the Garden at 5:30.

Our route shown in blue (click to enlarge)

It had been a great day.  No bugs, no humidity and great weather.  Only saw 10 people all day until we were  headed out from JBL.

Hike Stats:
Hike Distance:  16.8 miles
Hike Time:  11 hours (including stops)
Total Vertical Gain:  ~ 5000'

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Kayaking the Schroon River - 8/19/12

This was a revisit of a paddle I did here on March 18, 2012!  Some of you may recall that we had some 70+ degree weather in March that caused me to take the kayak out.

The Schroon River, shortly after our launch 

Today I went back to see how this section of the Schroon River looks in the summer. If you look at a map, the Schroon River has a large meandering section of moving water just north of Warrensburg, NY. This meandering provides not only endlessly changing views, but also some nice sandbars and beach areas (not in March, but now).  


I won't include my maps on this post, you can see them on my March post.

Today the river was quiet.  We only saw two other boats during our 7 mile paddle.

Midway through our trip, we pulled ashore at an enticing beach area and took a swim.  It was really nice.  Lots of great spots for a little beach picnic.

We didn't see any herons or egrets today, but lots of turtles, ducks and a few geese.  

One of the beach areas along the way

Fall colors are starting already on a couple trees

Once again, I had left a bicycle at the takeout and peddled the 4 miles back to the car.  We enjoyed this spot once again and will undoubtedly return!

Our takeout was just past the County Home Road bridge on paddler's left

Mount Abraham, VT - 8/18/12

The Long Trail in Vermont certainly boasts many fine miles of trails and we took Saturday to climb from Lincoln Gap to the summit of Mount Abraham (4006').   Another option is  to climb from the Battell Trail to the west, but we chose to start from the gap.

Trailhead sign

Starting at gap saves almost 1000' since the Battell trail starts at around 1500' and the Lincoln Gap trail starts at 2424'.  We arrived at the trailhead at about 9:45 and were on the trail by 10.  The trail is relatively flat for awhile before beginning a slow climb to the Battell Shelter.  The shelter is at 3250'.  There is a caretaker at an adjacent tent platform who collects $5/person from those wishing to stay at the lean-to overnight.  There is water available from a nearby stream and there is an outhouse.

Glacial erratics along the way

The Battell shelter

We stopped at the shelter to have a snack, then continued on.  Shortly after the lean-to the real climbing begins as the trail climbs 750' in the last .8 miles.

Approaching the summit

We reached the summit just before noon.  The Battell Shelter caretaker was on the summit providing information to those with questions.  He also had a counter, and was counting the numbers of people reaching the summit.  I was number 28 for the day.  There was a group of young people lounging on the summit enjoying the nice day.

View to the west from the summit

The view from the summit was pretty good.  Early morning clouds had lifted above summit height.  We looked around for a bit, then continued northward to look at the plane that had crashed near  the summit in 1973.  Miraculously, none of the 3 persons in the plane suffered any severe injuries.

Looking north to Mount Ellen

Looking SW

1973 Plane wreck on Mount Abraham

The plane is located just north several minutes from the summit.  There is a small rock cairn on the left marking a short heard path to the wreckage.  The plane doesn't look like it has been sitting there almost 40 years.

Looking back to Mount Abraham from the north

We journeyed on 1 mile further north to Lincoln Peak where there is a summit platform just above the top of the ski lift.

Lincoln Peak

The clearing provided by the ski trails opens up the views to the east and west.

Rev really thinks she is going to catch that chipmunk

The deck on the summit of Lincoln Peak

From Lincoln Peak, we traveled another .5 miles north to Nancy Hanks peak.  There is no view from this summit, but just a 100 yards to the north is a rock ledge affording views to the east.

The summit of Nancy Hanks Peak

Looking down on Sugarbush ski area

The viewpoint just north of Nancy Hanks peak

From Nancy Hanks peak, we returned the way we had come.  We didn't see anyone on the ridge north of Mount Abraham, but there were plenty of people climbing to Abraham from Lincoln Gap and the parking area was full.  

Mike , Leesa & Rev, back on Abraham

We arrived back at the trailhead at 2:30.  It had been a nice afternoon.  The weather had been somewhat cooler than weeks past, with temps in the 70's , but no humidity and a good breeze.  Some of the leaves on the birch trees are beginning to turn yellow and even a couple red maple leafs were found.  Fall is coming!  

Heading north off the summit of Mount Abraham

Mount Abraham from the road

Hike Stats:
Hike Distance:  7 miles
Our Hike time:  5 hours, 30 minutes
Total Vertical Gain:  2850'

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Mount Van Hoevenberg & the Mr. Van Ski Trail - 8/12/12

Last night I was looking at my Adirondack High Peaks map to see what trails I haven't done yet, and noticed that I had not yet done on of the more accesible hikes... Mount Van Hoevenberg.  I also had not been on the Mr. Van Ski trail.  Winter is coming, so I decided we should scout the ski trail and grab the mountain as well.

No water shown on the map here, but we passed this shortly after the trailhead

We started from the South Meadow Road, off of Adirondacl Loj Road just before 10 AM.  The 2.2 mile hike to the summit of Mt. Van Hoevenberg is quite easy.  There is only 770 vertical feet of gain.  From the summit ridge ledges, you can get a good view south and around to the NW. 

A fine view of Algonquin, Colden and Wallface

Looking towards Lake Placid.  The ski jumps are visible in the distance

Same view w/o the zoom
I'm hangin on... well maybe not...

Rev is checking up on me

Rev is surveying the valley

There was a nice breeze on top and the humidity was relatively low and the bugs weren't bad.  It was a nice day to be on a summit.  Continuing on, we descended the  north side of the mountain and quickly came trails from the 1932 and 1980 Olympic games.  We followed the 1932 track down until we came out at the top of the Olympic Bobsled and Luge Run.

We soon saw a tour shuttle operator who told us to walk down the bobsled track to the base, then walk the road towards Route 73 until the Equestrian center on the right (XC Cross Country Stadium in the winter).  From there, we would be able to pick up the Mr. Van Ski Trail.

It was rather strange having our hike turn into a walk inside a bobsled track.  It was interesting though.  Once at the bottom we made our way over to the Olympic XC Ski center.  I took a picture of a sign with the ski trail map.  It was a good thing, because that was the only way we could figure out how to get to the Mr. Van Ski trail.  It was quite tricky but we got there without any wrong detours.

Looking down the track

Leesa wanted to represent the Italians.  Rev wasn't so sure!

The Olympic start of the Bobsled & Skeleton!

We're getting ready to walk down

The 1st curve

We found the Mr. Van Ski Trail in the maze of trails (Thanks to taking a picture of the trail map sign)

After finding the Mr. Van Ski trail in the Olympic trail network, we were on the network until the trail branched off to leave the network and head towards the Mr. Van lean-to.  The lean-to is 2.3 miles from the Olympic trail network and 2.3 miles from the South Meadow Road.  It looks like it would be a good ski trail in the winter.  I'm ready to try it!

Here the Mr. Van Ski trail trail departs the Olympic trail network

This trail feels rather remote in the summer time.  Although the map warns that this trail may be muddy and impassable at times, it wasn't bad today.

This trail is not used much in the summer

the Mr. Van leanto is near the nice South Meadow  brook

We stopped at the lean-to for a snack and to cool our feet in South Meadow brook.  A new pedestrian bridge is under construction there.

South Meadow brook near the Mr. Van lean-to

It was an easy walk out from the lean-to.  There was one more missing bridge, but makeshift planks in place did the trick.

Signage near the South Meadow Road on the way out

Another stream crossing upgrade is in the works!  Not quite there yet.

I'll be back to try out the Mr. Van Ski trail in winter, along with the Klondike trail, but for today, we were done.

Hike Stats
Hike Distance:  9.95 miles
Our Hike Time:  5 hours, 15 minutes including stops
Total Vertical Gain:  2100' 

Our approximate route shown in blue (click image to enlarge)