Certainly anyone that likes a good bang for the buck hiking workout can appreciate the hike up Noonmark Mountain in the Dix Mountain Wilderness. The "easy" way up is from the Ausable Club Road via the Henry L. Stimson trail. The trail is only 2.1 miles long, but the vertical gain is around 2300'. The other option is to come in from Round Pond which adds 1.2 miles to the one way distance. A still longer option is to do a loop hike with Round Mountain and Noonmark of come through the draw between the two and make a loop.
I was doing another after work hike, son once again I was hitting the trail at 4:30 PM. This doesn't give me any wiggle room in capturing the last of the daylight hours. I signed in at the register and set off at a brisk pace.
I was hoping to get the same fantastic skies that I had the previous night on Hurricane Mountain. It wasn't to be. Today, while there was a mix of blue sky and clouds, it wasn't as clear as yesterday and my camera couldn't work wonders again today.
It was even colder and windier than yesterday. It didn't feel like mid-March! The temperature was 20 degrees at the base and winds were strong.
Trail conditions were generally good, but there were a few small icy patches. I easily got around them.
The first views are those to the east. Giant Mountain dominates the view and Round Mountain is also visible.
|A look at Giant Mountain|
|Climbing ever higher|
Noonmark is a great test hike for someone who is thinking they'd like to try hiking some high peaks. If a hiker can climb Noonmark, they will most likely have the strength and endurance to do some longer hikes.
About halfway up, the rewards begin. The Great Range lies to the immediate west looks like a fortress that can guard against the fiercest enemy.
|What's not to like about a panoramz of the Great Range?|
There were some low clouds blowing through that shielded the ge from a clear view, but the didn't lesson the impressiveness of the mountains.
|Dix, Dial and Nippletop Mountains also make themselves known|
Once again I dropped my pack at treeline and put on my facemask. I stepped out on the rock above the trees and tried to take a video. The camera wouldn't do it in the cold and wind. It would take pictures, but the movie function kept shutting off.
I was getting buffeted around by the wind, which was every bit as strong as it had been on Hurricane Mountain the previous night. I reached the summit after an hour and 10 minutes of brisk hiking. The lenses on my glasses started to frost up, making it hard to see what I was taking pictures of.
|The view looking south|
|Bear Den, Dial, Nippletop on the left; a portion of the Great Range on the right|
|Looking at Giant Mountain from the summit of Noonmark|
With the sun going down, and the wind howling I didn't stay long. Going down was cerainly much easier than going up. This isn't one of my favorite trails, but there is nothing wrong with it. The summit is certainly one of the better ones; better on fact than many of the high peaks.
|A last look back|
I got back to the car at 7 PM; same time as last night. Neighboring Round Mountain also has a great summit view, but I didn't have time to do the loop.
Hike Distance: 4.6 miles (including Ausable Club Road)
Hike Time: 2 hours (at a quick sunset pace)!
Total Vertical Gain: ~ 2300'
|The Henry L. Stimson Trail (click image to enlarge)|
|The Nat Geo map|