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

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Black Mountain, Middle Mountain and Fox Hill - Hudson Gorge Primitive Area - 11/13/16

Today I was an accomplice to Spencer as he continues his trek to climb every named peak in the Adirondack Park.  Six of us set out on a traverse in the Hudson River Gorge Primitive Area to hike Black Mountain, Middle Mountain and Fox Hill before crossing the old railroad trestle over the Hudson River and finishing our hike on the Northwoods Club Road.

It was a beautiful day to be out and we took full advantage of the day.  The route turned out to be a good one.  We found several viewpoints on Black Mountain and a fine one at the end of the day on Fox Hill.  Middle Mountain didn't turn up any views for us, but it counted as a peak.  

The southern ridge on Black Mountain

Always first...

The prize view of the day... the mighty Hudson River from Fox Hill.

Rev's eyes are closing as we soak up the sun and view on Fox Hill.

Quick nap...

The group didn't want to leave this spot.

The Hudson River Crossing

She's heading home
Hike Stats:
Hike Distance:  7.1 miles
Total Vertical Gain:  ~1300'
Hike Time:  6 hours, 45 minutes, including multiple stops

Today's route... south to north

Bald (Rondaxe), Rocky & Black Bear Mountains - Inlet - 11/6/16

I spent the first weekend in November doing some exploring in the Inlet area.  It's an area that I haven't spent much time so I spent the weekend climbing some of the popular routes:  Bald (Rondaxe), Rocky and Black Bear Mountains. 

These are all short trails, but after checking them out, I would say that they shouldn't be missed.  Bald (Rondaxe) has a nice rock spine, and of course great views from the firetower.  Rocky Mountain offers an incredible back for the buck with great views after a 0.5 mile walk.  Black Bear offers several loop options and an expansive rock summit with distant views to some of the high peaks. 

Fourth Lake from Rocky Mountain

Fourth Lake form Rocky Mountain

Bald (Rondaxe) firetower

It's a shame people vandalize things like this.

View from the firetower.

The summit of Black Bear Mountain

Looking north from Black Bear Mountain.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Knob Lock Mountain - Giant Mountain Wilderness - 10/9/16

This year, as always on Columbus Day, we headed for the hills.  The quiet hills were what we were after.  All the high peaks and all the popular trails would be crawling with people.  We were hoping for a sunny day and a chance to catch the peak of the fall life season in the north country on a quiet peak with views.  Knob Lock Mountain came to my mind.

Knob Lock (also known as Elizabethtown #1) is  a fine peak with a fantastic rock summit and it is relatively unknown.  There is no trail or even well defined herd path to the summit.  I had visited this place on 2/1/14 on a cloudy day with snow squalls.  I had done that trip alone with my dog Rev.

This time, Leesa and Rev were both going with me and we parked at the Owl Head Lookout/Giant Mountain parking lot and only one other car was there at 8:15 in the morning.

An early look back to Owl Head Lookout 

We took off on the trail towards Owl Head Lookout (a wonderful destination on it's own) but after a half mile or so we veered off the trail to the right to locate the eastern spine of Knob Lock.  It's not hard to locate.  We were climbing the ridge after 0.4 miles from leaving the trail.

I brought Leesa on this bushwhack because my recollection was that the woods were not that dense. It turned out to be a little thicker than she would have liked.  I thought the bushwhack was through  moderately dense growth at the worst, but she thought it was thick.  I told her that if it was too thick for her taste, we would turn back.  She pressed on.  It did alternate between moderately thick and open rock.  That probably helped her.

We had an early view of Owl Head Lookout and soon we could see the Elizabethtown valley down below.      

Views starting to open up as we gained the ridge

I forgot my camera so the pictures here are from my cell phone.  It was a bit overcast and the phone didn't pick up the color too well.  The colors were more impressive than the pictures indicate. 

The summit is in sight

Looking towards Elizabethtown.  Route 9N is down below.

Leesa appreciated the views that appeared often as we climbed higher.   The best part of all was the open summit we had to ourselves!  I expected as much, but it's always nice to find.  We looked across the valley to Hurricane Mountain and we could see at least 30 cars parked on the north side of the road at the trailhead.  There were probably more parked on the south side.  Who knows; there may have been a hundred people on Hurricane.  We had a summit almost as nice to ourselves.   It was an extremely busy holiday hiking weekend, but our plan paid off.  I will take a bushwhack over a trail any day for the solitude that is awarded and for the exploration that a bushwhack provides. 

Looking south to Green Mountain from the summit of Knob Lock

Rev - On the summit

It was a little windy and chilly on the summit so we didn't stay quite as long as we might have otherwise.  We did enjoy a lunch in a sheltered spot out of the wind before heading back.  We swung a little further northward to avoid a dense area in the col prior to the summit.  We were successful, but then we reclimbed to the ridge to enjoy the views again on the way down.

Looking NW

Part of the nice rocky summit.

Hurricane Mountain in the distance with Route 9N down below.

When we regained the trail, we saw 3 groups of hikers just in the short distance back to the car.  Upon reaching the parking lot, we found an overflowing lot with cars parked out on the shoulder of Route 9N.  Most the these hikers were probably hiking to Owl Head Lookout, with a view others headed to High Bank or Giant Mountain.  Driving home on Route 73 we were amazed the the overflowing parking lots everywhere.  It just confirmed for us that we made the right hiking decision on this day. We were content!


Hike Stats:
Hike Distance:  6.2 miles
Hike Time:  5 hours
Total Vertical Gain:  ~ 2100'

The approximate route

The route on the NG topo map