Lake George

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

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Mount Marshall (4360') - High Peaks Wilderness - 12/30/14

I was fortunate to get a day to hike with my oldest son today.  He was flexible on where to go, but he voted for a high peak.  I chose Mount Marshall from Upper Works via the Calamity Brook Trail and the Herbert Brook herd path.

We met in Newcomb and got started around 8 AM.  It was 6 degrees at the start and there was a group of folks from Pennsylvania camped right in the parking lot at Upper Works.  Only one other car was there.

I was pleasantly surprised the the moderate winds that were forecast never materialized.  Even on the summit the winds were almost calm.

We moved at a decent pace, but we were talking and not racing against the clock.  Our first stop was at the Henderson Monument, then Flowed Lands

I can't help but always take a picture from this spot (looking at Flowed Lands and Mount Colden)

A zoom view of  Mount Marshall from Flowed Lands
We opted not to test our luck crossing the ice on Flowed Lands.  We took the scenic route around the lake.  Once at the north end, we stopped at my adopted lean-to at Herbert Brook.  I place a new register there.

Next we walked down to the water's edge.  We had a fine view of Iroquois, Algonquin and Colden.  

I enjoy this location in the summertime

The Herbert Brook herd path was broken out and was good and solid.  We continued onward and upward with our microspikes.  The broken out path generally followed the summer herd path with only an occasional small meander.

Once we reached 3500', we began to see snow in the trees.  With the blue skies and white trees and sunshine, it couldn't be nicer.

Zack nearing the summit

Lake Placid ski jumps and Whiteface Mountain

Iroquois and Shepherd's Tooth

We paused at the summit for pictures then we wandered over to the southern edge of the summit to take a look at the Santanonis.  

Puff the Magic Dragon!  I guess it was cold... 

The viewpoint for the Santanonis was basking in sunshine and we took full advantage of it.  We were there for awhile; still surprised that the winds were so light,  Zack had an apple and I took more pictures (of course).  It was exactly noon.

Santanoni and Panther in the distance 

Mount Marcy

That cold apple tasted good!

We decided to return via the same route and stop back at the Herbert Brook lean-to for lunch.  WE had even more sunshine there on the 2nd visit.

On our way out, we came across the group that had been camped at Upper Works.  They were headed for Lake Colden as a base for a climb of Mount Marcy.  Back at Upper Works there were still only the same two cars parked there.  The parking lot was sheer ice.  We had parked in one small spot was not ice covered.  It was 3 PM and time to head out, but not after a nice day of hiking and conversation.

The Opalescent River
Hike Stats:
Hike Distance:  ~ 14 miles
Hike Time:  7 hours (including stops)
Total Vertical Gain:  ~ 2400' 

The route (click image to enlarge) 

Friday, December 26, 2014

Catamount Mountain (3173') - Taylor Pond Wild Forest - 12/26/14

Today my morning peak was Wilmington Peak.  That hike took me 3 hours and I was back at my car at noon.  I decided to pay Catamount Mountain a revisit, since it was only several miles away.  It had been 3 years since my previous visit.

My first observation was that there is now a trailhead sign and a new parking lot, along with a kiosk and trail register.  All these things are new.  The parking lot is large and can hold at least a dozen cars.  When I last visited, I had to park alongside the road and the only indication of a trail was an orange ribbon beside the road.  The trail itself is still unmarked.  I don't know if there are plans to mark it or not.  For the most part, it's not hard to follow.

There is a great view of Catamount from the road.  It was still cloudy at the start. 

I believe the elevation gain is 1,362', not 2,362'!  This may scare away some folks...

The new parking lot...

The trail is almost totally flat for the first .7 miles, gaining only 100 feet.  This is followed by an abrupt change and the trail is steep the rest of the way, gaining about 1250' in just over a mile.  At about the 1.25 mile mark is a rock chimney and a cleft in the rock that you have to squeeze through (although Rev had no problem).  I had to take my pack off to get through. 

Rev on top of the rock cleft... waiting for me!

I had worn snowshoes until the base of the chimney but the sun exposure had melted most of the snow at that point, so I switched to microspikes.  I stayed in them the rest of the way up.  I had Rev's flexi leash on my hip belt and I hookd her to me once we were above the chimney.  There was a lot of sloping rock the was still covered in ice.  I didn't want her to go into a slide on the ice.

I unhooked Rev again as we neared the top

Above the chimney is the only spot on the unmarked trail that I find to be somewhat hard to follow. If you stay far left as you climb there are small cairns marking the way (of course they'll often be snow covered in the winter    I had perfect timing.  About 5 minutes from the top, blue skies suddenly appeared and the gray clouds were mostly gone for the rest of the day.

One of several Geodetic Markers on the summit 

Most of the snow on the summit was gone in areas exposed to the sun.  The shady areas still had a foot or so. 

I stayed on the summit for about 30 minutes and took a whole bunch of pictures.  Catamount is one of my favorite smaller mountains and the view from the top is fantastic on a clear day.  I was lucky to have the skies change just while I was on top.

Below are some of the shots...

The summit

Looking into the sun...

The clouds were blowing away, being replaced by blue sky! 

Lots of lakes visible to the north

It was windy on top and Rev got impatient with me taking so many pictures.  Finally I gave in to her wimpering and we headed down.  I leashed her up again while on the ice.  Even though it was steep, we were able to get down in about an hour.  We still had some daylight, but it was time to head for home.

A last left at the chimney in the afternoon sun

A nice sunset on the drive home.

Hike Stats:
Hike Distance:  3.7 miles
Hike Time:  3 hours (including summit time)
Total Vertical Gain:  ~1370'

The route (click image to enlarge)

The two routes of the day

Wilmington Peak (3458') - Taylor Pond Wild Forest - 12/26/14

Four days ago, I did this hike but was stopped 0.3 miles from the summit due to the depth of the snow.  My dog Rev was having a difficult time climbing a 45 degree slope in 2 feet of powder.  That trip report is here.  With all the rain we received on Christmas Eve, I knew the conditions today would be ripe to reach the summit now.  I grabbed Rev and we paid another visit.

This time, the stream was actually visible in the slide.  The snow pack was now greatly reduced and it was also consolidated so the snowshoeing was easy.

Visible water in the slide today

The summit is in site

On the first trip here, we turned around at the bottom of the headwall of the slide.  This was .3 miles shy of the summit.  Today, it only took us 15 minutes to finish the hike.  We went right of the headwall and hugged the edge of a cliff band until we reached the summit ridge. 

We climbed along the edge of this rock face

This cloudy morning didn't give way until I was back near the bottom

The headwall of the slide

On the ridge we turned left and stayed on the right side as we climbed.  It was an easy walk in an open pine forest.  5 minutes and we were on the summit.  It was really a pretty spot, even though there were no far reaching views.  Some of the pines had hanging moss.  It felt very peaceful.  The weather probably contributed to that feeling.

Anorange ribbon marked the true summit

In these snow conditions, it was a fast walk downhill.  We went from top to bottom in about 50 minutes.  Since 4 days ago, A large birch tree has fallen across the trail, about 1.5 miles from the car. Unfortunately it is in a spot that is great for skiing.  I'm sure someone will cut it up in the near future.   

Note the open woods

Hike Stats:
Hike Distance:  5.3 miles
Hike Time:  3 hours
Total Vertical Gain:  ~ 1700'

The the image of the route to enlarge 

Wilmington Peak was the morning hike; Catamount Mountain was the afternoon hike.  See both here.