Lake George

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

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

"Palmer Pond Mountain" - Hoffman Notch Wilderness - 12/28/16

Today's hike was a new slant on an old peak.  This is an unnamed peak immediately south of Palmer Pond at Exit 29 of I87.  It should be called Palmer Pond Peak.  It makes sense.  Even more so now. DEC has just completed their project to build a bridge over the Palmer Pond outlet known as "the Branch".  Now you can park at Palmer Pond, cross the bridge, and hike to Palmer Pond Mountain.

Quite a sturdy bridge!

Looking upstream to the dam from the bridge.

"BigR" Bridge 

Looking back at the bridge from the west side of Palmer Pond.

After crossing the bridge, the jeep trail turns right and goes to the SW corner of Palmer Pond (just above the dam)

The mountain has a double peak.  I've climbed the southern peak several times previously by fording the Schroon River and using the walking culvert under I87 to get on the west side of the interstate.

Today I took the new bridge and headed for the northern peak.  There was about 8 inches of snow on the ground with a layer of crust on top from the recent rain.  Rev forged ahead of me (no surprise there), but she did opt to follow in my snowshoe tracks for almost half the climb.  

Immediately on the west side of the pond, it's easy to notice orange paint and pink ribbons on trees.  I followed it for a little ways, but it just seemed to be going up the west side of the pond.  

A buck sack hanging from a tree along the blaze path.

I turned south to gain the ridge leading to the summit.  The forest was a mix of hemlock and hardwoods and was quite enjoyable, there were no obstacles to contend with.

This boulder graced the ridge at the location where I topped out.

Once up on the ridgeline, I turn west to follow the ridge to the peak.

Palmer Pond and I87 down below.  

Rev's back in front.  The southern peak is in the distance.

This really cool petite birds nest hung precariously from a similarly petite branch.

We stayed on the south side of the ridgeline for most of the climb.  Schroon Lake can be seen in the distance.

The northern summit doesn't offer much for views, but the southern summit is spectacular and is just a half mile away.  The col between the two embraces a drop of perhaps 200' and is not bad to traverse.  Rev and I continued on to the south peak to revisit the fine vista found there.

Rev arriving at the southern summit.

Schroon Lake could still be seen to the south through the flurries. 

We had started late so we arrived at the south summit at 2 PM.  In the flurries of the day, it felt like a remote place, even though the interstate and Blue Ridge Road could both be seen.  This summit ranks high on my list of bushwhack peaks, and now the access from Palmer Pond provides a more manageable way to reach the peak.  It is also a little shorter than crossing the Schroon River.  This route was 4.25 miles roundtrip verses the 4.9 mile route I had used previously.

The view from the southern summit 

The Adirondack Buffalo Farm (on  Blue Ridge Road) is in the clearing in the distance.

I87 and Schroon Lake to the south.

More of the summit can be seen here; again the Buffalo farm is in the distance.

To ease our return trip, we retraced our snowshoe track.  The return trip was done in less than 90 minutes.  The combination of heading downhill, and not breaking trail, made for a much faster return. This is a location I will return to again.  Maybe a camping trip is in order...

Hike Stats:

Hike Distance:  4.25 miles roundtrip
Hike Time: 4 hours, including stops
Total Vertical Gain; ~1600'

The route