Lake George

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

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Jones Hill - Hoffman Notch Wilderness Area - 5/7/13

Time to play a little catch up on my blog posts.  Between Mother's Day weekend, and my daughter's graduation weekend, things slipped a little. 
Back on Tuesday May 7th, I went exploring in the Hoffman Notch Wilderness of the Adirondack Park.  The area is relatively trail free with only a handful of trails in almost 40,000 acres.  My goal was to climb Jones Hill, located just northeast of North Pond. 
The first sign, located near the trail register

I started at the unmarked trailhead on Hoffman Road, approximately 2.5 miles east of Schroon Lake.  There is a gravel pulloff with space for about 4 cars.   The trail is obvious, but there are no markings until you walk in a couple hundred feet to the trail register, where there is also a sign.
 I've been on this trail many times while hiking to Big Pond or North Pond, but I had never gone around North Pond to climb Jones Hill.  This was the day.  It was cool in the morning (about 40 degrees) but it warmed up quickly.
 At the bridge at the first water crossing, .5 miles in, I turned right to begin a bushwhack.  I reached Jones Pond in a few minutes and began a clockwise loop around the pond.  I pretty much kept the pond in sight, and then the little pond north of it, until it was time to begin climbing.
 It was easy to follow the defined spine right up the ridge.  It was a pretty ridge with lots of rock and some pine.  The south side of the ridge was all hardwoods. 

A first opening as I reached the first false summit

There were several viewpoints on my approach to the summit.  The first offered a few tempting views to the south, the second offered the same plus a nice grassy plateau.  Just beyond this was another clearing with nice views of Hoffman Mountain and Hoffman Ridge.
A fine reward

Nice grassy knowl on the false summit

I believe this is Nippletop and Niagara in the Dix Mountain Wilderness Area

Hoffman Ridge and Hoffman Mountain

Looking back and the false summit

As I left the false summit, the woods opened up into all hardwoods on the way to the true summit.  After 5 minutes of walking I was there.  Both the false summit and the true summit offered fine views and didn't disappoint.

Hoffman Ridge again
On my return trip, I went back down the southwest spine of Jones Hill and then continued my clockwise loop around North Pond until I regained the Big Pond Trail.  From there it was an easy 3/4 mile walk back to the car.

As it warmed up I was chased by black flies (mostly as I was coming down the spine).  After that they weren't too bad.

Still some snow in the distance

On my next trip into this area, I'll explore the valley to the north of Jones Hill where a proposed trail is expected to be constucted from the Big Pond Trail northeast to Dirgylot Hill and Route 9.
If you're inclined to bushwhack in the Hoffman Notch Wilderness, be sure to visit Jones Hill.  It's definitely worth while.
Beaver Dam at the unnamed drainage below Big Pond
My route for the day (Click image to enlarge)
Hike Stats:
Hike Distance:  7.7 miles
Hike Time:  4 hours
Total Vertical Gain:  ~ 1600 feet

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