Lake George

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

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Shelving Rock Ramble - Lake George Wild Forest - 7/27/14

 After we had a rain deluge this morning, skies cleared and it became rather nice outside.  It was about 70 degrees, and was rather muggy, but that was OK.  It took the opportunity to drive over to the east side of Lake George and the Shelving Rock trailhead for an afternoon ramble.  There are lots of trails there; more so than anywhere else in the southern Adirondacks.  I haven't hiked them all so I keep picking away at the ones I haven't done.

Trailhead sign
This time I took a trail known as the Red Rock Bay Trail which runs mid-mountain and passes over one portion of a un-named ridge that has a viewpoint looking south.  The south side of this trail in the Shelving Rock area is used very little.  It is marked as a horse trail, but it was obvious that no horses have been on this trail in a long time.  The trail is close to being overgrown and looks more like an animal herd path.

Starting out on the Red Rock Bay trail from Shelving Rock
The trail hooks around the bottom of a south facing ledge and through some switchbacks before working its way to a viewpoint.  After the viewpoint, the trail continues to hook around the ridge and then it begins to work its way down the slope towards Lake George at Red Rock Bay.  

The best view of the day came from a viewpoint about a half mile before I reached Red Rock Bay.  There is a vista at an elevation of about 700' that looks out over the Narrows from a great perspective.  Most of the remaining pictures were taken from this point. 

Shelving Rock Mtn. (L), Tongue Range (R) and the islands of the Narrows 

The ledge that provides the vista 



Fork Island


Rev waiting for me to continue




After the fantastic vista, I continued down to Red Rock Bay and walked North past Paradise Bay a short distance before turning back to head south.  On the way back I wanted to find an un-named open rock vista point that I had been from the 1st viewpoint of the day.  I had determined on my map where that point was so on the way back  I began a bushwhack to reach that spot. 
It turned out to be a decent spot, with a great view, but most of the islands could not be seen from this spot.  Still, it was worth going to.  Bushwhacking in the Shelving Rock area is very easy.  The woods are open and the only difficulties encountered are occasional ledges that need to be worked around.  

The destination of my bushwhack

The view was great, but not many islands could be seen from this point
From this spot I worked my way over to the Shelving Rock Ridge Trail and back to the Shelving Rock Mountain Trail.  I didn't climb the .6 miles remaining to Shelving Rock Mountain since it was time to get home for dinner.  On the final descent I saw a couple heading up the mountain.  They were the only people I saw on the trail all day.  Not bad for a Sunday in July in Lake George.  People were out on their boats and not on the trail.
Hike Stats:
Hike Distance:  8.1 miles
Hike Time:  3 hours, 45 minutes
Total Vertical Gain:  ~ 1500'     
The route (done counter-clockwise) 

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Snowy Mountain 7/26/14

 Today my wife Leesa and I got the chance to hike with my oldest son Zack.  He was in the Old Forge area and we decided to meet in the middle at Indian Lake and hike Snowy Mountain.  My last trip to Snowy Mountain was on a snowy February day when Leesa and I hiked it with my youngest son Nick.  On that day we had zero visibility from the top.  Today was our chance to see what the view from the summit looks like.  Once again I had to take pictures with my cell phone as my battery on my camera was dead.

We got started on the trail just before 9:30.  Immediately after we started there was a tree down across the trail that we had to climb over.  It was the only obstruction during the day.  The trail was in fine shape.

This hike provides a nice gradual 2.5 mile climb followed by a steep 1 mile finish.   The gradual portion of the trail crosses over Beaver Brook multiple times while passing through hardwoods.  Our dog Rev led the way as we enjoyed the great bug free day.  We saw a dozen or so groups on the day.  Lots of friendly people.

Indian Lake from Snowy Mountain

Reaching the steep portion, I found it steep, but it didn't seem as steep as it did in the winter.  On this day the trail was dry and there was no sliding backwards.  Zack and I got a little ahead of Leesa on the steep portion and we waited for her at the clearing just shy of the summit.  I believe that this location was most likely the former site of the fire observers cabin.  

Zack and Rev at the clearing near the summit

Once Leesa was with us again, we hiked the final couple hundred feet to the summit.  It was great to have a view this time.  The breeze in the firetower quickly cooled us down.  Of course this was the spot to take all of our pictures.  I could see many of the humdred highest peaks that I have yet to climb in this area.  Indian Lake provided a great backdrop to the east.    

Zack in the cab

Leesa went halfway up

Mike, Zack and Rev at the pre-summit clearing 

The clearing

We noticed that there were lots of herd paths on the summit plateau leading to many different viewpoints.  When I had been there several winters ago, none of this was obvious and with the snow coming down we didn't explore beyond the firetower.

The hike down was an uneventful backtrack.  The time passed quickly as I got a chance to catch up with Zack about the last couple months since I had seen him.  It's always great to hike with any of my kids and it doesn't happen as often as I'd like.  We all enjoyed the day and went out for a great dinner afterwards in Long Lake.

Hike Stats:
Hike Distance:  7.5 miles
Hike Time:  4.5 hours
Total Vertical Gain:  ~ 2100'

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Green Mountain - Giant Mountain Wilderness Area - 7/20/14

Green Mountain, in the Giant Mountain Wilderness, has been near the top of my future hike list for quite a while.  I've looked at it every day on my way to work.  At 3980', it is the 2nd highest of the non-46er peaks.
This peak is trail-less, but there are short bushwhack options.  This past Sunday I decided to climb this peak by hiking the 6 miles from Route 9N to the Giant Leanto, then bushwhack north the .6 miles to the summit.  The trail portion of this hike is known to be wet at times, but with a long dry spell prior to this day, I wasn't too concerned.     
I hadn't been on this this trail before, so it was all new to me.  My dog, Rev, and I were hiking alone on this day.  As I signed in at the trailhead, I noticed only two cars in the lot.  One person was headed to Giant Mountain and back.  Two persons signed in the previous day for an overnight backpack.
Another proud adopter... the 46er's
As usual when I'm by my self, I move quickly on the trail.  Soon we encountered the 2 backpackers on their way out.  These were the only 2 people we saw all day.  We traveled the first 2.5 miles and 1000' vertical in 50 minutes.  This brought us to the junction with the Owl Head Lookout spur trail (a fine destination on it's own).  I decided to save a re-visit until on our way out.
A couple hundred yards past the junction, we stepped into a clearing that offered a fine view of Bald Mountain and Rocky Peak Ridge.

The first view from the trail -Bald Mtn (L), RPR (R) 
From here we followed rolling terrain through hard woods; travelling over some mostly dry mud holes.  At the 4.2 mile mark, we reached an area known as High Bank (which is really the SE base of Green Mountain.  At this location the trail takes a 90 degree turn to the right.  We stopped here and walked left out onto high bank.  It is an embankment of open loose sand and gravel.  Fine views are afforded of Giant Mountain from this location.  You can also see (and hear) Roaring Brook down below.    This was a great spot to stop for a break, and we did so.  

Giant Mountain from High Bank
Looking back towards the trail from High Bank
Roaring Brook below High Bank
Back on the trail, we continued 1.8 miles following a steady moderate incline to the Giant Leanto.   A short spur trail takes you a couple hundred yards off the main trail to the leanto.  I refilled my water bottles here.   It had taken us just over 2  hours to travel the 6 miles to the leanto.

Giant leanto
Directly across the main trail from the leanto spur, I began bushwhacking towards Green.  Someone had put up some illegal orange flagging.  This flagging continued all the way to the false SW summit of Green.  I removed the flagging as I went. 
I passed through alternating areas of moderate and thick growth as I climbed.  The summit is pretty nondescript and offers no views.  I believe there are some views from the eastern end of the ridge, but I didn't go over there.  

The summit of Green Mountain
I descended generally along the same bushwhack route that I had just climbed and returned to the trail at a point near the Giant leanto.  From here it was just a return along the trail.
When we reached High Bank, we descended down to Roaring Brook.  I took off my boots and let the cool water run over my feet.  Rev played in the water. 

Back to High Bank
Looking SE from High Bank

Open sand and gravel

Looking up High Bank from Roaring Brook
Roaring Brook



 Once watered, we reclimbed High Bank and travelled the 1.7 miles to the Owl Head Lookout spur.   This time we climbed to the lookout.  We had the summit to ourselves and there was a nice breeze.  The lookout offers fines views of Iron Mountain, Bald, RPR, Giant and Green.

Owl Head Lookout

A closer view

The view from Owl Head Lookout


From the lookout, we had a quick 45 minute walk to the car.  The highlight of this hike was not Green Mountain but rather High Bank, Owl Head Lookout and the nice quiet trail walk.
Hike Stats:
Hike Distance 13.4 miles
Hike Time:  7 hours
Totabl Vertical Gain:  ~ 3700'  
The route (click mage to enlarge)
National Geographic map of the approximate route