Lake George

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

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