Lake George

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

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Thomas Mountain - Bolton, NY - 3/30/14

Where to go on a rainy day, that was the question.  Leesa and I wanted to get out just to take Rev for a walk.  It's hard to keep a hound dog indoors all day!  The former Cat and Thomas Preserve, in Bolton, NY is probably the place we have gone most often on a rainy day, and, in fact, we went there again today.
This area became State land in 2013.  The Lake George Land Conservancy is no longer the owner, but they maintain the trail network under an agreement with the State. 
We got to the trailhead about 2 PM.  It was lightly raining.  Once again, snowshoes were necessary to prevent post-holing in the rotten snow.
New State sign at the parking area
From the trailhead, hikers can choose a 1.4 mile hike to Thomas Mountain or a 3 mile hike to Cat mountain.  Today we chose Thomas Mountain.  We were just out trying to wear the dog out a little. 
It took us a little over 30 minutes to climb the trail (old jeep road) to the Thomas Mountain cabin. The cabin is now available similar to lean-tos on state land.  The cabin is to be shared by any and all that arrive.  We have stayed there several times and have not had anyone else arrive looking to stay on any of the nights we've been there.  You can also now have an outdoor fire there which previously was not allowed.
We were glad to see the cabin is still in good repair.  In fact, someone has repainted the front of the cabin.  It is a bright medium blue color.  The previous coating had faded to a light blue gray.
The view of the Lake George was almost obscured by clouds when we arrived

A rather bright blue now decorates the front 

Cat Mountain in the distance
The faded blue can be seen on the left side

The blue trail leaving the cabin
As often happens on rainy days, the clouds dropped down to shroud Lake George.  As we were at the cabin having a snack, we watched the clouds blowing to the south and beginning to lift.  Some of the pictures below show some of the different cloud patterns.

Clouds beginning to lift off the lake
The inside of the cabin

Another view of the lake


Rev enjoying the snow






It was one of those days where we could have just sat and watched the cloud changes on the lake, but we had gotten rather wet from the rain so we didn't linger as long as we would have liked.
It would have been fun to ski down the wet snow on the old jeep road trail, but the snowshoes worked well on the post-holed soft wet snow on the trail.

Thomas Mountain old jeep road trail

The blue trail to Thomas Mountain

Flood waters flowing over still frozen ice
Hike Statistics
Hike Distance:  2.8 miles
HIke Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
Total Vertical Gain:  ~ 700'

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Prospect Mountain - Lake George Wild Forest - 3/29/14

Prospect Mountain is a popular tourist attraction in the summertime. The Prospect Mountain Veterans Memorial Highway provides tourists with a 5.9 mile automobile road to the summit (elevation 2030').  There is a fee to drive the auto road.
For hikers, there is the Prospect Mountain Trail, which starts in the Village of Lake George and crosses I-87 on a pedestrian bridge.  Once across the bridge, the trail heads directly towards the summit, climbing steeply most of the way.  The trail is quite rocky in the summer.  Lots of small, round "roller" rocks make for tricky footing.  In the winter, travel is much easier if these rocks are covered by a blanket of snow.

Stairs leading to the I-87 Pedestrian Bridge 
I don't think I've climbed Prospect before in the winter, but I did so today.  I had expected rain today, but it was quite sunny.  I changed my plans from doing some projects around the house to getting out for a few hours with my dog Rev.
It was 40 degrees, warming to 45, but there was still a lot of snow on the ground.  I brought my snowshoes, knowing that the snow would be soft and "rotten".  During the day, I saw 3 couples all "bare booting" the hike.  They were all post-holing, slipping and sliding.  I easily passed all of  them and they all probably wished they had snowshoes.       

One of the few bends in the trail
It took me an hour to climb the 1.6 miles to the top.  I didn't climb too fast since I wasn't used to the warm weather and I didn't want to get all hot and sweaty, besides, I wasn't in any hurry.  The trail climbs 1500' in that 1.6 miles.

The upper parking lot
The trail crosses the Prospect Highway twice.  Once down low by Rattlesnake Cobble, and then again just before the summit.  Near the summit were lots of snowmobiles using the unplowed auto road to get in some late season snowmobiling.

Remains of the old incline railway
The view from the summit is spectacular.  Lake George is easily seen.  The Green Mountains of Vermont can be seen in the distance. 

Lake George from the summit of Prospect Mountain
At the top are also some remains of the old incline railway that operated on the mountain in the late 1800's and early 1900's.  It's nice to visit the summit in winter.  It gets very crowded here in the summer.  Much quieter today, even with the snowmobilers and the 3 couples I saw.

This is one big gear!
A zoom view of Lake George

Lake George Village
I circled the summit once I got to the top.  Looking to the west, I could see Black Spruce Mountain, which was recently acquired by the State.  I'll be checking that out soon, but not yet.  It's tough bushwhacking right now in 2 feet of rotten snow.

Black Spruce Mtn in the distance.  This mountain was recently acquired by the State.
A pavilion on the summit
The trip down was an easy 30 minutes in snowshoes on the soft snow.  It definitely would have been tough going down without them.

Rev out on the highway...
It was great to get in a short hike on the day when I had expected to watching the rain from indoors.
Hike Stats:
Hike Distance:  3.3 miles
Hike Time:  1 hour, 45 minutes
Total Vertical Gain:  ~ 1500'

The Prospect Mountain Trail (click image to enlarge)

Sunday, March 23, 2014

XC Siamese Ponds Wilderness - Barton Mines Road to Hour Pond - 3/23/14

What a blessing to have such a fantastic stretch of great weather for early spring cross country skiing.  Knowing that day would probably be my last day out for the season, I went to an all-time favorite spot to ski my heart out.  The network of trails surrounding the Botheration Loop in North River are just a fantastic collection of ski trails.

I parked at the Barton Mines Road trailhead off Route 28.  From there I skied 1.4 miles to the NE corner of the Botherathon Loop.  I skied the loop clockwise, but when I got halfway around, at the Old Farm Road, I headed west on a different trail to Hour Pond.  This was a trail I had not skied before.  Conditions were perfect.  The Hour Pond Trail provided some nice hills to get a few nice downhill runs.

I only saw 6 skiers all day.  I'm sad that this will probably be my last ski day of the season, but I got in quite a few trips this winter, especially the last half of the season when we had a pretty good snow pack.  With a couple 50 degree days on the horizon, the powder conditions will be over.

I'll let a pictures below tell the story of how pretty it was in the woods today.
Sign at Baron Mines Road parking area


Blue skies all day!


Great bridges with some decorative twig railings









Hour Pond



XC Ski Stats
Trip Distance:  16.3 miles
Trip Time:  5 hours, 45 minutes
Total Vertical Gain:  ~ 1800'

The route (Click image to enlarge)