Lake George

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

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Number 8 Hill - Pharaoh Lake Wilderness - 12/17/17

We had about 10 inches of snow on Tuesday the 12th.  Of course that made me anxious to get out on my cross country skis.  I spent some time on Saturday at the Lake George Rec Trails.  I skied most of the trails there, then followed the old jeep road up towards Prospect Mountain before dropping down to the Prospect Mountain Auto Road and a nice glide out.

Today I wanted a combo ski and hike.  I decided to repeat a trek I've made several times before.  Number 8 Hill in the Pharoah Lake Wilderness would be my goal.  I drove to the hamlet of Adirondac and parked at the trailhead for the Sucker Brook trail on the East side of Schroon Lake.  As I passed Schroon Lake, it looked quite magical with water vapor coming off the warm water and freezing in the cold air before crystallizing on the trees on the shoreline.  I didn't get any pictures that quite captured it, but it was a beautiful site.

A beautiful morning at Schroon Lake

The Sucker Brook trail is an old jeep road and is now marked as a horse trail, but it gets little use; in fact there were no tracks in the snow when I got there, and no cars parked.   I opened the hatch of the car and Rev leaped out, ready for adventure.

The sign at the parking area.

For my combo adventure, I was going to ski approximately 3.5 miles to the southern base of Number 8 Hill, then ditch the skis and climb the short distance to the summit from the south approach.  This is a lovely route, it I believe today was my fourth time.

The old horse trail discs.  I've never seen evidence of any horses here...   

It was quite cold today; 2 degrees at the start but winds were calm and the skies were blue.  I attached my snowshoes to my pack, put my skis on, and set off to get warm.  The old jeep road is smooth in the beginning, so 10 inches of snow was adequate.  About 2 miles in the road gets rougher, with exposed rock.  Although the rock was covered  in snow, I twice hit rocks that didn't move... so I did.  It wasn't pleasant having these abrupt visits to the ground, but it's the price to pay for early season skiing in the woods.  I also came to a few small drainages that I couldn't cross on skis so I had to take them off and carry them across.

By the time I got to the location where I wanted to jump off the trail, I was glad to take the skis off.  It was a short 0.9 mile climb up the southern ridge.  Most of my pictures were taken on the southern ridgeline or on the summit.

The open southern approach (this pic and the next five!)

Add caption

Rev on the summit, with Pharaoh Mountain in the background.

A better look at Pharaoh Mountain. 

You can't tell from my pictures, but there is a nice view of Hoffman Mountain in Schroon Lake and also the Great Range in the horizon.

Rev awaiting treats... then wanting to get moving again.  

A memorial of sorts... for a Grant MacDonald 

Brant Lake
I enjoyed a thermos of hot chocolate on the summit and patted myself on the back for remembering to bring it!  It hit the spot.  It was definitely worth coming back to Number 8 Hill a forth time.  The views are awesome and the bushwhacking is easy and enjoyable. 

Rev and I returned to the trail so I could get my skis.  The return trip trip was slightly downhill and I now had my previous track to glide in, making the trip out a little bit faster.  It felt great to be back on skis again, although as I type this blog post, I can tell I used some different muscle groups that haven't been used recently!

Another nice day out.  Rev and I didn't see another person all day.

Trip Stats:
Ski Distance:  7.2 miles
Hike Distance:  2 miles
Total Vertical Gain:  1200'
Trip Time:  5 hours (including stops)

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Project 100 - A Highly Impressive and Admirable Fundraiser

Why Fundraise?
How many of you have participated in an organized sporting event to raise money for your favorite cause?  Perhaps a walk or a run?  Maybe even a cycling or kayaking event?   Not only do you get exercise, you gain friends and raise money for something that matters to you.

Often you can support many of these types of activities with very little preparation. Sure, a full marathon requires an advance training regimen, but the majority of the "support a cause" events can be done with very little forethought...just sign up, show up, and have fun!!

Then there's Herculean Efforts and Passion
You know what I mean: those endeavors where you have to plan the entire event and train, train and train until you can train no more... and then go back and accomplish the entire set of obstacles you have set for yourself... perhaps in the worst of weather?  Yes there are a few crazies who do these things.

Neil Luckhurst is no stranger to fundraising, and no stranger to punishing his body through a set of physical and mental obstacles that energize others to pledge money to support his favorite causes.  In this case, the ADK High Peaks Foundation is the lucky recipient of his passion.

This Year it's Project 100
Neil's "Project 100" will be taking place this winter and will surely raise some hard earned funds for the foundation.   I'm not going to give away Neil's secrets here, just spreading the word so more of us adventure seekers can be in the know.  You can find out all the details on Neil's Project 100 blog for the event.  He's put just as much effort into his blog as he has to training (well maybe not, if you've seen him train)!     

In case you want the the whole link revealed, here it is:

It's sure to be a spectacular fundraiser.  Neil's got a fire and passion to make this happen.  There are many ways to help.... and once again make friends along the way.  Don't miss out.  Project 100 is coming to the ADK's this winter season!



Monday, September 11, 2017

Buck and Bear Mountains - Dix Mountain Wilderness - 9/4/17

On Labor Day, Leesa and I were pondering where we wanted to go for an enjoyable hike.  I thought about Buck and Bear Mountains in the Dix Wilderness.  I described the hike to Leesa and she said perfect, let's do it.  Last time I went, it was on the verge of winter and it was a blustery cold day with a little snow up high.  This time, it was still blustery, but it felt nice on such a warm day.

Perhaps the easiest way to access these two is via the West Mill Brook access.  We had our jeep with us and we were easily able to drive in the 1.1 miles to the gate.  The water depth at the Schroon River crossing was only a couple inches deep.

After we got started, we only walked on the West Mill Brook woods road for less than a half mile before we exited the trail on the right.  Rather than climb in the draw to a col, we sidestepped the unnamed hill to the southeast of Buck.  It has quite a stone face (as seen in the picture below.

Leesa contouring the unnamed hill and massive rock wall SE of Bear.

The woods throughout most of this entire area is light density for the most part and moderate density at worst, mingled with slabs of rock. 

An early view

We poked around and climbed steadily towards Buck Mountain watching Rev zig and zag towards things that caught the interest of her nose.  When we topped out on Buck, Leesa was quite impressed with the view of the Dix Range, Giant & Rocky Peak as well as lower peaks in the area.

Rev observing part of the Dix Range (Macomb, South Dix and Wyman) from Buck Mountain. 

Wyman in the center with Grace on the right and South Dix on the left.

Some "lesser" Dix Wilderness peaks

Me... looking at familiar territory.

Giant Mountain in the back right.

Giant and Rocky Peak Ridge
Leesa was game for more so after some time on Buck, we continued on to Bear Mountain.

Ah yes, some early fall colors

Buck from Bear

Views from Bear

Buck from Bear again
We got to Bear and it wasn't quite as open as I remembered it, but still a nice peak.  I gazed at the "igloo", the stone wart on the east side of Wyman, but we didn't head that direction on this day.  Leesa was content with our 2 peaks so we meandered about before dropping off Bear to return to the West Mill Brook woods road.

a foot bridge leading to a camp

Rev was OK using this bridge.

We made a short stop at a watering hole.  It was too cold to swim, but we stuck our feet in.

The start of the West Mill Brook woods road at the gate.

The sign at the entrance to the West Mill Brook Access

This area is full of great peaks.  Even at 2000'-3000' they offer great views and nice terrain.  We're do for another trip to the igloo, so we'll be back.

Hike Stats:
Hike Distance:  5.6 miles
Hike Time:  5 hours, including stops
Total Vertical Gain:  ~ 1700'

The route...

The route on the Nat Geo map

Monday, September 4, 2017

Sleeping Beauty and Erebus Mountains - Lake George Wild Forest - 9/2/17

To kick off the Labor Day weekend, Leesa and I were invited to join Dan, Joanne, Cole and Eric for a trip to Sleeping Beauty and Erebus Mountains in the Lake George Wild Forest.  These two peaks are part of the relatively new Lake George 12ster challenge.  The challenge, of course, draws additional hikers to these peaks.  What some people don't realize however, is that both true summits are only reached via bushwhacks.  While trails pass nearby, there is a bit of orienteering needed to find the true summits.  Each peak now has a summit sign, which helps hikers validate that they've reached the high point.

We were happy that the group wanted an early start.  We met at the Warren County Municipal Center at 7 AM and were on the trail by about 8 AM.  The woods road to Dacy Clearing has been "improved" by DEC.  They've added crushed stone where needed and have smoothed out the road so 4WD is not needed.  Any vehicle should be able to make the trip from Hogtown to Dacy Clearing at this time.

There were already almost a dozen cars at Dacy Clearing.  Most were probably from people who had claimed the campsites there.  We only saw 1 person ahead of us on the trail.  

The weather was cool and clear and really ideal for hiking.  The trails were dry since it hadn't rained in awhile.  Our dog Rev was also with us and she appreciated the cool weather.

Looking at the Tongue Range from Sleeping Beauty
We reached the Sleeping Beauty open rock viewpoint and had the location to ourselves.  

Little Buck and Shelving Rock Mountain from Sleeping Beauty/

Some of this area was burned by a forest fire a few years ago. 

Dan and Rev 

Rev on one of the lower ledges

I like this spot!
We hung out at the viewpoint for quite a while and also explored the ledges below before moving on.  The group goal was to hit the true summit, which was actually a short distance away.  I had been there before and knew where to veer off the trail.  The summit is perhaps a couple hundred yards off the trail; no real effort was needed to find this one.      

The new sign on Sleeping Beauty.

Proof that Dan made it....
After we all took pictures at the summit, we went northeast to regain the trail and continue towards Bumps Pond.  Once at the pond, we looped around the north end and visited the old chimney that remains near the west shore.   

Bumps Pond.

Next was our final goal for the day - Erebus.  The Erebus Mountain Trail passes west of the true summit and it is very steep from the trail to the top.  I suggested we work our way up the ridge from the south and the group agreed.  This choice wasn't bad,  There were areas that were moderately dense, but the grade wasn't bad.  We reached the true summit without any issues.    

Another new sign...
We had lunch on Erebus.  This summit, like Sleeping Beauty, has no views to offer, but we had seen the views early in the day from the Sleeping Beauty viewpoint.

Our next task was to get back to the cars.  The group had to get back by mid-afternoon and it was 11:30.  We retraced our steps for awhile before turning east to regain the trail south of Fishbrook Pond.  This is when we had our only incident of the day... bees.  I was in the lead and made out OK, but I believe Eric, who was behind me, stepped on a yellow jacket ground nest.  He received several stings as did Dan, Cole and Leesa.  Joanne and I were the only ones not stung.  It put a little damper on our otherwise great day.

When we got back to Dacy Clearing the parking area was overflowing with cars.  There was no room left.  The Hogtown lot was full also.  We were thankful that we beat the crowd.  

Thanks Dan and Joanne for inviting us to join your group.  We had a great day. 

Hike Stats:
Hike Distance:  7.2 miles
Hike Time:  5.5 hours, including stops
Total Vertical Gain:  ~ 1500'          

The route

The route on the Nat Geo map

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Peaked and Slide Mountains - Siamese Ponds Wilderness - 8/5/17

My last (and only) visit to Peaked Mountain in the Siamese Ponds Wilderness was on 2/20/12 with plenty of snow on the ground.  This trip gave me a chance to see the area in the summer time, plus tack on a bushwhack to neighboring Slide Mountain; a mountain that I had not visited previously.

The kiosk at the start.
It wasn't going to be a long hike.  I waited out the morning rain and got to the trailhead at 1 PM with clearing skies.  It was going to be a nice afternoon.  My dog Rev was my only companion for this one.  The parking lot was 2/3rd's full, mostly with boaters and campers.  There were still empty campsites available right on the water, but of course the weather was just clearing.   

Thirteenth Lake, looking southeast.  
It was a quick 0.9 miles south on the trail along the west side of Thirteenth Lake (passing two designated campsites) before the trail turned west and I began to climb, following Peaked Mountain brook.  This brook is quite nice and there are many inviting spots to stop and stick your feet in the water or take a snack break.

Peaked Mountain, looking impressive. 
 The trail crosses Peaked Mountain brook a couple times before arriving at Peaked Mountain Pond after 2.5 miles.  There is a nice designated campsite at the water's edge on the east shore.  There was also an aluminum canoe and paddle (marginal seaworthiness).  

Campsite at Peaked Mountain Pond.
 The last 0.5 miles or so is steep, but it's a short jaunt to the top of Peaked Mountain.  When I climbed in the winter, the last 0.2 miles was quite icy.  This time it was just steep, but the trail was in good condition.  The summit offers nice views in several directions.

Peaked Mountain Pond from the summit of Peaked Mountain.

Looking southeast from Peaked Mountain.

Looking east to Slide Mountain.

Looking NW from Peaked Mountain.

The U.S. Geodetic Survey marker

Heading back down Peaked Mountain.

After leaving the summit, I backtracked halfway down to the pond, the contoured over to Slide Mountain, bushwhacking though light to moderate woods.  I picked up the southern approach ridge and made my way up to the top.  It wasn't as open as I had hoped, but a few viewpoints opened up. There were no views from the actual summit highpoint. 

Nearing the summit of Slide Mountain.

Looking northeast to the Ruby Mountain mine.

Zoom view looking towards the mine.

From Slide Mountain I went almost straight south to return to the Peaked Mountain trail for my exit.

Hike Stats:
Hike Distance:  7.5 miles
Hike Time:  4 hours
Total Vertical Gain:  ~1500'

The route

The route on the Nat Geo map.