Lake George

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

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Lake Lila and Mount Frederica - William C. Whitney Wilderness, NY - 9/28/14

Our goal for this weekend was to have a relaxed fall foliage weekend (with a little hiking of course) and we also wanted to camp out on Saturday night,   We were meeting my son for lunch in Long Lake on Saturday, so we planned the weekend around that.  We haven't explored too much in that area before, so there was lots of fair game.

We weren't meeting for lunch until 1:30, so we  had some morning time to explore.  We took County Route 10 (Sabattis Road) west until we got to the gate blocking an old jeep road that heads north to Round Lake.  The lake has a dozen or so designated campsites and sites 7-9 on the west side are accessible from the old jeep road (now unmarked "herd" path).  In the back of my head, I thought that if any of these sites were available, we could come back later to camp.

We sent to sites 9 and then 8 and both were available.  We thought 9 was nicer, and it was also closer.  It was only 1.5 miles from Sabattis Road.  The walk was easy except for one spot where beavers had built a dam and you had to walk on the beaver dam to cross and get back to the jeep road.   
Site 9 sits back from the lake 150', but has a nice view of the lake.  There is a fire ring, a bench and a nice grassy spot for a tent. 
Campsite # 9 on Round Lake
Leesa crossing the beaver dam

The beaver pond
Having found this spot, we knew we had a good option for a campsite.  We went back to the car and back to town for lunch.  After a nice lunch at the Adirondack Hotel in Long Lake, we went to check out my primary objective, Lake Lila.  I've always heard great things about Lake Lila, but had never been there.
I knew it would probably be too busy to camp at, but we got out there at 4 PM to check it out.  Lake Lila has an access road off of Sabattis Road that is a 6 mile gravel road.  The speed limit is 15 mph, and that's about the speed you can go on the road.  It's passable with a regular car.  We got to the parking lot at the end of the road and the lot was essentially full.  We managed to get a parking spot, but cars were starting to line the road near the parking lot.
Since the lot was full and it was getting late, we didn't even attempt to camp there.  We just walked the .3 mile canoe carry trail to the edge of the lake.  Both campsites near the carry trail were taken.  It was a beautiful night and the lake looked really pretty.  We decided to go back to Round Lake to camp, but come back to Lake Lila on Sunday to hike to Mount Frederica.
Once again we parked off the shoulder of Sabattis Road and hiked back into Round Lake.  Campsite 9 was still available, so we set up camp just before dark.  We had a nice campfire and were in the tent by 9 PM.
Round Lake at sunset
Round Lake
Sunday morning we woke up to heavy fog.  There was no morning sunshine at the lake.  It was pea soup, but fun none the less.  After a short morning fire, we packed out and headed back to Lake Lila.

Round Lake in the fog Sunday morning
We drove the access road back into Lake Lila and the parking lot was almost full once again.  The lake has 24 designated campsites and most were probably taken.  There were also a lot of people out on the lake fishing.  No motorboats are allowed on the lake. 


We had 4.5 miles to Mt, Frederica.
At 9 AM we were on the trail (jeep road) that goes along the north side of the lake.  The road would not be that exciting to hike on during most of the year, but now during the peak of leaf season, we didn't mind.

Campsites on Lake Lila


Beautiful fall foliage at Lake Lila


Nice beaches along the north shore of the lake




Mt. Frederica in the distance

After 1.5 miles the road got close to the lake so we could view the water.  Walking on the road was quick and in 1 hour we had hiked the 3 miles to where the road splits and we followed the right branch to head toward Mt. Frederica.  


The jeep road to Mt. Frederica hooks around the mountain to avoid the cliffs, then a trail branches off for a final push to the summit.  There is a view from the summit, but there is a terrific view on ledges that are easily reached just below the summit.  With the leafs at peak color, we were treated to an awesome sight.  The collection of pictures below will testify to that. 

Lake Lila from Mt. Frederica



Leesa and Rev on the ledge below the summit


Panorama of Lake Lila from Mt. Frederica





The summit of Mt. Frederica
From the summit, we could see the collapsed train depot structure below.  On the way down, when we reached the train track crossing, we followed the tracks north to reach the old structure.  

We followed these tracks north on the way out.  


Old train depot

Porch column at the old train depot 

From the depot, we followed the tracks a little farther north until we could see Lake Lila on our right.  We bushwhacked a couple hundred yards to get back on the trail.  Back on the trail, we completed our fall foliage hike by hiking back on the jeep road to the car.
We both agreed that we need to come back to Lake Lila sometime without our dog Rev in order to kayak on Lake Lila.  It is a beautiful lake.   We had a successful trip.  The leaves are at peak in the Long Lake/Blue Mountain Lake/Indian Lake area.  Our drive home was quite colorful and enjoyable. 
Hike Stats:
Hike Distance:  10.4 miles
Hike Time:  4 hours
Total Vertical Gain:  ~ 800' 


Friday, September 26, 2014

Humphreys Peak - Arizona High Point (12633') - 9/12/14

On our last full day of vacation, we chose to climb Humphreys Peak, the Arizona high point.  The summit lies at an elevation of 12633'.  Leesa was a little apprehensive about the hike because some trip reports that we read talked about the difficulty of the final push to the top.  They made it sound somewhat technical and she didn't want that.
We decided we would try it, and if it was more difficult than she was comfortable with, I would push on to the summit and meet her back down at the car.
The weather was perfect with temperatures in the mid 40's and a high expected temp of about 70.  Sunshine was predicted for the whole day.
We camped near the Arizona Snowbowl and were at the trailhead and on the trail at 6:30.  We were the 2nd group to sign in for the day.  It turns out that the first 2 guys that signed in started at 2 AM because they wanted to see sunrise from the summit.  Unfortunately, even though they reached the summit before daybreak, it was foggy at first light and they weren't treated to the sunrise display they were hoping for.  Plus the temps were around freezing on the summit at daybreak and they got quite chilled waiting for morning light.
As we had experienced with other trails in this area, the trail conditions were much better than we are used to in the Adirondack mountains of NY.  Footing was generally good, and the soil is much drier.  This hike is 9.6 miles roundtrip and reports said to allow a minimum of 6 hours to complete the hike.  There were also warnings that if there were indications of bad weather, be sure to head down ASAP.   
The trail we took starts at the Arizona Snowbowl (elev. 9300') and immediately crosses a ski trail and heads into the woods.   It is relatively straight for .6 miles before beginning a series of switchbacks, as can be seen in the map below.
the trailhead

An easy start to the trail
Once we got up to about 11,000', we were greeted with the sunshine and views from some boulder fields.  It took us 2 hours to climb up to the saddle on the ridge at just under 12,000'.  From the saddle to the true summit is under 1 mile long and there are continuous view from the open rocky ridgeline.  


From the saddle you get your first view up the ridgeline although false summits block the view of the true summit at this point.

a first view up the ridgeline from the saddle
Leaving the trees behind...
We found the ridgeline portion of the hike to be pleasant and not really difficult at all.  We were enjoying perfect weather and had no issues with the climb.


A rope cordoned off a section of rock for a trail re-route 
still easy footing generally

First view of the true summit

Leesa making her way up




You can barely make out the summit sign from this vantage point 
It took us an hour to climb the ridge, for a total time of 3 hours to the summit.  The weather was so perfect we stayed on top for about 45 minutes, which is much longer than we normally do.   I little while after we got there a man from South Carolina joined us at the top and a man from Flagstaff, who, although he lived nearby, he had never climbed the peak before.  He was enjoying the day, as we all were.   

The true summit!

the summit sign





Mike on the summit

Leesa made it!


Grand Canyon in the distance
While on top, I signed the summit book and we had some sandwiches.  It wasn't even 10 AM yet.


On the way down, we passed about 20 different groups heading up.  We had started so early that we had enjoyed a head start on everyone.  The way down was easy but getting warmer.  We were glad we climbed in the early morning and didn't have the warm sun on us while we climbed.
Leesa was glad we did this peak.  It wasn't nearly as difficult as she thought is was going to be.   Once we reached the bottom, it was time to head for Phoenix to wrap up our vacation and fly home.  It was 100 degrees in Phoenix at the time we flew out!  We had enjoyed an amazing 10 days touring and hiking through Colorado and Arizona.  A grand adventure.


an easy finish to the hike...

Hike Stats:
Hike Distance:  9.8 miles
Hike Time:  6 hours
Total Vertical Gain:  ~3100'