Lake George

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

Monday, February 29, 2016

Bloody Mountain and Hail Mountain - Hammond Pond Wild Forest - 2/28/16

My list of places to hike isn't getting any shorter, but Bloody and Hail mountains had been on my list for awhile, so when I saw Spencer was heading that way for a nice Saturday outing, I signed on.  Leesa & Rev were game as well, so we joined Spencer (and dog Abby), Jim and Cordell for an 8 AM start.  Since winter was still non-existent, we didn't even pack our snowshoes.  

We all met at the former Frontier Town and everyone was on time so we scurried right over to the trailhead Ensign Pond Road (off of Route 9) in North Hudson.  As expected, the trail was icy and we all put on our microspikes right at the start.

Rev set the pace and off we went.  We quickly passed Hammond Pond and reached a location where the trail crosses Black Brook.  Unfortunately, there was no foot bridge and the water was too high to rock hop so we had to search out an alternate location to ford the brook.       

Our brook crossing bridge 

We didn't have to create a bridge, but used some downed trees to make our way across.  One minor mishap and we continued on our way.  Next we had to find the supposed trail to Bloody Pond.  I had been on is a few years back, and it had resembled a herd path at that time.  The key is that the trail follows the east side of the Bloody Pond outlet.  With a little snow on the ground, it was not apparent, but we knew where to look and we were able to follow it with little difficulty.  There are some faint yellow blazes on the trees at times.

Still overcast when we arrived at Bloody Pond.
At Bloody Pond we could see our 1first objective, Bloody Mountain looming behind the pond.  We were ready.  We skirted around the pond on the east side and began climbing in earnest.  Leesa and I kept pulling our microspikes on and off as we crossed areas of ice and bare ground.  Going up the south face of Bloody Mountain we were treated to the unusual circumstance of bare ground in February.  This winter hasn't been pleasing to most people doing outdoor activities, but it's been great for bushwhacking; not being encumbered by three feet of snow on the ground. 

It wasn't long in the climb before open rock began to appear combined with views of the surroundings and even high peaks to the NW.   I can't count how many times we stopped to look around and take pictures.

These views were encountered minutes into the bushwhack.

This wasn't even the summit; just one of the first of many fine points on the Bloody Mountain climb.

Bloody Pond foreground, Hammond Pond background (and lots of mountains)!
Jim, Spencer and Abby on the shoulder of Bloody Mountain

Moose Mountain background center.

This is how open the climb was for a good portion of the way up Bloody Mountain.

At the summit of Bloody Mountain, we were wondering what Hail Mountain could do for an encore.  We joked that the Hail Ridge would have to be comparable to the Jay Ridge. 

Leaving Bloody Mountain and heading for Hail. 

In the col between Bloody and Hail

Spencer must have food...

Inspecting the crystal clear ice under the overhang.

Leesa and Jim moving onward and upward.

Looking at Hail Mountain.  Could it be... was it going to be like the Jay Ridge?

As we began to get views of the true summit of Hail, it was obvious early on that the summit was open and it was indeed raising comparisons to Jay.  Our whole group was really enjoying this hike. We counted seven false summits, but there was no discouragement because each was impressive.

Finally we reached the true summit around 2 PM.  We wandered, stood in awe, wandered and just couldn't believe our good fortune.  Additionally the sun had come out, it was in the 40's and there was very little wind.  We would have liked to explore on this large summit and it's various ridgelines but at 2:30 we pushed ourselves away, knowing that we had around 5 miles left in our hike.   Below are a few more pictures from the summit area. 

The summit of Hail!  Lake Champlain in the background. 

Spencer looking at Lake Champlain and Vermont.

This summit was most likely burned by fire years ago.

Looking NE to Bald Mountain with Lake Champlain in the background.

Rev taking a last look

A memorial near the true summit.

Leesa and Rev

Time to go...

It's good that we left when we did.  As soon as we started down, Cordell stared having leg cramps. Our consensus was that he was dehydrated.  We now made sure that he was continuing to drink liquids, but we knew it would take some time to recover.  He took some Advil as well and we encouraged him to continue to move.

Spencer in the ice jail.  I liked it in there.

We moved slowly.  Cordell was wincing in obvious pain.  We started down a trough until we hit a lower ridge that offered some easier walking. 

Looking back up where we started our descent.

Spencer leading the way down.

Coming down a lower ridge.

As we reached the bottom of the descent near Black Brook Ponds, Cordell was feeling better, but it was now getting dark.

The last sunlight.

We got across Black Brook, but there was no trail yet on the south side of Black Brook Pond.  We bushwhacked with headlamps until we got back to the trail.  This was about 7 PM.  The remaining walk back on the trail was no problem except for a cautious recross of the logs we used to get across the first crossing of Black Brook.

We signed out at 7:40, thankful Cordell was feeling better and thankful for the glorious day we had in the mountains.  I think Hail Mountain might now be my favorite sub-3000' Adirondack Peak.

Hike Stats:
Hike Distance:  10.5 miles
Hike Time:  11 hours (including stops)
Total Vertical Gain:  ~2500'    

The Route.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Good Luck Cliffs Mountain and Kane Mountain 2/27/16

Our first stop on this surprisingly blue sky day was Good Luck Cliff Mountain.  This is a great short 2 mile hike to some impressive cliffs.  At the base of the cliffs are lots of little talus caves to explore and other nooks and crannies.

This area lies in the large Ferris Lake Wild Forest.  We haven't done much down in this direction (which means future trips in this area will be forthcoming).  We parked at the designated parking area on Route 10 and headed into the woods at the late hour of 10:45.  It turned out to be a really pleasant day.  We had been braced for much worse after reading the forecast so we were in for a pleasant surprise.

The only unfortunate event was I accidently deleted all the pictures off my camera when I got home so all I have is the pictures I took on my cell phone.  The trail is a snowmobile route until the turnoff for the cliffs.  This made for a hard and firm surface upon which we made quick progress traveling the 1.4 miles to the junction with the foot trail.  We lingered at a campsite one mile in form Route 10.  Someone had left a nice pile of cut. stacked wood.  Perhaps they intend to return in the near future.

Once on the foot trail, it is a short moderately steep climb in which the trail wraps around the cliffs then goes up the mountain from the north.   We enjoyed nosing around the base of the cliffs on the way up.  

Large boulders near the base of the cliff.

Looking up one section of the cliff. 

We arrived at the summit and were hit with a pretty good wind from the west that quickly cooled us down.

Spectacle Lake from Good Luck Cliff.

Rev waiting to continue.

From the cliff, we went over to the eastern summit of Good Luck Mountain.  The mountain has a double summit.  The western summit is visible from the cliff.  There was no real open view from the summit, but filtered views through the trees weren't bad with the leaves down.

On the way down, we were treated to bluebird skies behind the cliffs, making for nice pictures of the cliffs.  These cliffs are about 500 feet high and are quite impressive.

Good Luck Cliffs

Back at the snowmobile trail, we followed it around to the SE shore of Good Luck Lake before returning to the car.  

Our next stop along Route 10 was Kane Mountain.  We parked on road alongside Green Pond and took the steeper East Trail 0.6 miles to the summit.  Skies were still partly sunny and the wind wasn't too bad up on the summit.  I don't have any pictures of the tower or the fire observer's cabin, as they were all on the camera.  I only have cell phone pictures from the tower.

The tower is in very good condition.  the foot treads, railings and wire fencing are all in place and secure.  Additionally the cab is open where you can see (in addition to West Canada Lake) Pine Lake and other lakes.  We didn't see anyone on the Kane Mountain trails until we got back to the car.  


Looking south to West Canada Lake form the tower. 

Looking SW.

Pine Lake from the firetower.

Prose inside the firetower.

We took the north trail down to create a loop hike with a total distance of about 2 miles.

Hike Stats:

Good Luck Cliffs
Hike Distance:  4.7 miles
Hike Time:  2.5 hours
Total Vertical Gain:  ~ 975'

Kane Mountain
Hike Distance:  ~2 miles
Hike Time:  1.5 hours
Total Vertical Gain:  ~ 560' 

The route to Good Luck Cliffs

The Kane Mountain route

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Jabe Pond and Surrounding Hills - Lake George Wild Forest - 2/21/16

It was a cloudy 40 degree day, but no reason to stay indoors.  Leesa and I ventured to Jabe Pond to do a little exploration of the small mountains surrounding the pond.  We tried to approach Jabe Pond from Battle Hill Road, but that is a seasonal road, so we took Split Rock Road from Route 9N to get to the Jabe Pond access road.

The access road gate was closed, but we had planned to walk it anyways.  An easy mile later we were at the boat launch at the north end of the pond.  The ice was still safe to walk on (although some surface water and slush existed) so we walked out onto the ice and ventured out to the islands.  One of the islands in the middle boasts a large stone chimney; a reminder to life before this parcel becamse a part of the Lake George Wild Forest.    

Nice Map at Jabe Pond

Rev tested the ice for us.  Catamount Mountain (back left).

Designated campsite on the east point.

Island chimney.

Middle Mountain (back left)

After looking at the islands we went over to the east shore and climbed Number 108 Mountain (~1668').  How do these mountains get numbered as such?  This mountain boasted a lot of oak trees.  There were filtered views of Catamount Mountain and Jabe Pond. 

Coming back down Number 108 Mountain, looking at Catamount Mountain (L), Middle Mountain (R)  and Jabe Pond. 

Catamount (L), Middle Mountain (R)
When crossing the ice again we noticed there was even more staning water on top of the ice.  Perhaps our dismal winter is coming to an end.  We passed by the islands again and made our way over to the west shore to climb Middle Mountain (~1858').  Catamount Mountain was in constant view to the south, but we didn't venture that direction.  I've been on Catamount before, but it was a nasty day.  it was winter time with snow on the ground, but it was raining and foggy and I had zero visibility.  I'll go back there on a nice day.

Ice flows on the way to Middle Mountain.

Middle Mountain is an easy climb from the east and the forest is open hardwoods.  From the true summit you can see Jabe Pond and Lake George (when the leaves are down).  I dropped off the true summit to explore the SW corner of the ridgetop.  I thought this offered the nicest views.  There were sweeping views west and south. 

Zoom view of Lake George from the summit of Middle Mountain.

Leesa climbing Middle Mountain with Jabe Pond down below.

Catamount Mountain from Middle Mountain

Views from the SW corner of Middle Mountain 

Looking SW from the SW corner of Middle Mountain

Rev atop Middle Mountain

Summit of Middle Mountain 

From Middle Mountain we headed NE to Little Jabe Pond then climbed the small bump known as Indian Mountain (~1672').  Once again we could see Lake George and Jabe Pond (only visible with leaves down),

Summit of Indian Mountain

Zoom view of Lake George from Indian Mountain.

While we'd rather be out XC skiing or snowshoeing in some nice powder, the lack of snow has been making for easy bushwhacking and the 40 degree temperatures are easy to handle. 

Hike Stats:
Hike Distance:  7.3 miles
Hike Time:   5 hours
Total Vertical Gain:  ~2000' 

The route (click image to enlarge)