Lake George

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

Monday, June 27, 2016

Ampersand Mountain - High Peaks Wilderness - 6/27/16

I had plans to hike the Sewards with my son Zack today.  We met at 9 AM at the Seward trailhead and it was raining.  We talked for a minute and decided we didn't want to take a chance on hiking a full day in the rain.  The forecast had predicted cloudy until 4 PM and then the possibility of a thunderstorm.  The forecast was obviously wrong and we considered what to do.  We decided to climb Ampersand Mountain, even though we had both climbed it before.  It was nearby, less than 3 miles each way, and it's a fantastic mountain.  Perhaps we'd see some interesting weather skies.

The rain stopped as soon as we were underway.  The rain shells came off immediately and things looked promising.  I thought the bugs would come out, but they did not.  Ampersand gets continually steeper as you climb and stone steps have been placed on most of the upper half of the trail to prevent the steep trail from eroding away.

I got loaded my pack with lots of liquid, in anticipation of climbing the Sewards, and I forgot to unload it prior to Ampersand, so I was carrying lots of unnecessary weight.  In any case, Zack forged ahead of me and I did my best to keep up.

Just before the summit, a guy passed us doing a trail run.  Also at that time it began to rain again.  We put our rainshells back on and left our packs under the trees at the treeline.  It was quite windy and the rain was blowing sideways.  There was still some visibility which was fortunate.  We bounded around the summit with our dogs and reminded ourselves how good this summit is. 

You can't really tell in the pictures below, but it continued to rain the whole time we were on the summit.    


Rain clouds blowing through.

Zack hanging onto his hat.  The trail runner is heading back down. 

Rev is getting a drink in a summit pool.

More threatening clouds.

Rev was not a fan of the wind.

A summit memorial to Walter Channing Rice.

After leaving the summit, the rain of course stopped and we took off our rainshells for the descent.  We saw quite few people; perhaps 10 or 12 people climbing while we made our way down.

Back at the car we took the 0.6 mile walk to Middle Saranac Lake.  Lulu splashed in the water while Rev stayed on the beach, except for wading in to get a drink.

Thanks Zack for meeting me in Saranac Lake for a hike.  I hope we can get out together again soon.

Hike Stats:
Hike Distance:  5.2 miles
HIke Time:  2 hours, 45 minutes
Vertical Gain:  ~1820'

+ 1.2 miles to Middle Saranac Lake and back

The route

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Boreas Ponds via Gulf Brook Road - 6/22/16

I received an invite to join BogHollow (Tom) on an adventure to Boreas Ponds today and I accepted without second thoughts.  I had seen reports of this area and I didn't want to waste any more time in seeing it for myself.

We got started a little later than planned after we had to backtrack to my house to get my rain jacket. With a 10 AM start, we still had to start out on Gulf Brook Road with moderately heavy rain coming down.  Gulf Brook Road is a rather dull walk of 5.8 miles to the bridge crossing the Boreas River.   The view looking up the river piqued my interest though.  Another mile to the Boreas Pond outlet (First Pond) continued the dullness of the road.  Road walking is never my cup of tea.

The 1st viewpoint at the Boreas River.

The bridge at the Boreas River.

At one point on Gulf Brook Road, the road was flooded with about 4" of water in the road.  We opted to take off our shoes and wade though the flooded section.

Barefoot was best.

Looking downstream on the Boreas River

A first look at Boreas Ponds (First Pond).  Haystack, Basin, Saddleback and Gothics in the background.

After 2 hours of walking, we reached the spillway at Boreas Pond (First Pond).  I took some pictures and we watched the clouds rapidly passing over the mountains of the Great Range in the distance. After that, we continued on the gravel road for 5 minutes until we began a bushwhack to the large peninsula on the southeast shore of First Pond  

Tom inspecting the shore along the peninsula.

The peninsula was loaded with ferns and was quite pretty.  I was surprised that the ferns were somewhat dry, considering the fact that it had just rained.  We really didn't get wet bushwhacking the peninsula.  We didn't discover any outstanding shoreline features, but it was easy to negotiate the terrain.  

Zoom view of Mount Marcy

Zoom view of Haystack

Skylight, Marcy and Haystack 

Marcy and Haystack


As we got further out on the peninsula, I found an old metal can with a wire handle and a glass jar. We turned slightly inward from the shore and we next discovered the old shoe and can that had been reported by Justin and Bill in their trip report.    

Quite an old shoe...

Artifacts discovered by Justin and Bill in their earlier trek to this area.

A fire ring by the old shoe.

We hooked one last time to the northern shore of the peninsula, when headed south along the high point of the peninsula ridge.  We saw remnants of an old woods road in spots along with some herd paths or game trails. 

Gothics and Sawteeth in the distance.

Zoom view of Gothics

Gothics and Sawteeth

The ferns on the peninsula.

Back at Gulf Brook Road we marched the 6.8 miles back to Boreas Road (Blue Ridge Road).  The hike wasn't noteworthy, but it was nice to lay lies on Boreas Ponds and to realize that it would indeed be a nice place to spend some quality time paddling in a boat.  Thanks Tom for the invitation to join you on this trip. 

No confusion here.

Hike Stats:
Hike Distance:  15.5 miles
Hike Time:  6 hours, 10 minutes
Total Vertical Gain:  ~1450' 

Gulf Brook Road and the peninsula bushwhack

The route on the NG topo


Monday, June 20, 2016

The 5 Dixes from Route 73 - Dix Wilderness - 6/20/16

The Dix Range is probably my favorite range in the Adirondacks.  I've climbed it numerous times from different routes.  On this summer soltice, I chose to do the five from Route 73 at the Boquet River; finishing at the Round Pond trailhead on Route 73. 

I knew it would be extremely hot, so I did my best to get an early start and I was on the Boquet herd path at 6:30.  I used the crossing at the 1/2 mile point today to put the river on my left.  The herd path was dry and in great condition.

The first 3.4 miles to the designated campsite went by in just over an hour.  There is a wonderful swimming hole just upstream from the campsite.

Large campsite at approximately 3.4 miles on the herd path.

Great waterhole.

I chose not to climb Grace via the slide today, although it was very dry.  I had my dog Rev with me and I wasn't sure how well she would do at the top of the slide.

The Great Slide on Grace.

I took the herd path all the way up to the col just west of Grace.  Temps were still reasonable and I was able to move quickly up to the summit.  I was on the summit of Grace in 2 hours and 20 minutes from Route 73.

Looking and South Dix and Macomb from Grace.

Macomb from Grace

While I love Grace Peak, and I had it to myself, I didn't linger.  I was hoping to get over to Dix before all the heat of the day arrived.  I passed over South Dix and on to Macomb where I took a short break for a drink for myself and Rev.  I was now 10 AM and I was pleased with my progress.

While I was on the summit, another hiker appeared from the Elk Lake herd path.  It was BogHollow from the ADK High Peaks forum.  It turned out he was also doing all 5 Dix peaks, but his start and finish was at Elk Lake.  We hiked together over to South Dix and parted ways; I was heading to Hough and he had to go to Grace Peak first. 

The rock outcrop west of South Dix

There are so many great viewpoints of Elk Lake from the Dix Range.

The toughest part of the hike was now ahead of me:  Pough, Hough, the Beckhorn and Dix.  I was now getting hot.  The summits were breezy and refreshing, but it was now getting hot in the woods.
I had brought quite a bit of water, but between Rev and I we were now consuming it rather quickly.

Classic view of the Beckhorn from Hough.

We summited Hough at 11 AM.  Hough was the peak where I finished the winter 46, and it holds a special place for me.  I was now down to 32 ounces of water and I knew the dog would need some of that.

Getting closer to the Beckhorn.

I had to slow down the pace since I now had to ration my water and I didn't want the dog or I to overheat.  We stopped 4 or 5 times on the way up the Beckhorn for a cool down break.

Looking back to the south.

I had to boost Rev just before the Beckhorn at the large split rock with the crack inbetween.  When we popped out on top of the Beckhorn, I kept us moving on over to Dix.  I was now 1:05PM.  I wanted to get us down to the slide as soon as possible to refill our water bottles.  We moved as best we could down the steep Dix Trail.

Dix from the Beckhorn.

The Great Range from Dix.

Now down the steep Dix Trail to the Round Pond Trailhead.

I finished off the last of our water just before we reached the slide and was glad that I could refill my water bottles at this point.  Rev heaed straight for a pool of water.  With the water worry behind us it was easy to power back up to full speed to finish the route.

Water at the slide!

Rev was grateful!

My wife Leesa was kind enough to pick up Rev and I at the Round Pond trrailhead so we wouldn't have a road walk on Route 73.

Another summer soltice hike complete.

Hike Stats:
Hike Distance:  16 miles
Hike Time:  9 hours, 30 minutes
Total Vertical Gain:  ~5300'  

The route

The route on NG topo