Thursday, January 3, 2019

Ranking High Peak Views According to an 8 Year Old

Kailee: Wouldn't it be funny if I made a list ranking the High Peak views?

Me: I think you should definitely do that.

Kailee: What!?! OK!

Kails did a nice job of coming up with this list. She came up with it on her own. I feel no need or reason to nitpick with her. 

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Poke-O-Moonshine 12-31-2018

Poke-O-Moonshine Fire Tower.

Kailee & I closed out 2018 with a last minute climb of Poke-O-Moonshine via the new & improved Ranger Trail.

We had a fun time & this was a cool way to wrap up 2018. We bumped into a number of friendly people on this hike & were glad to sneak in one more peak before the calendar changed to 2019.

Unfortunately, I forgot to charge my camera. So, the above photo is "what ya see is what ya get."

"Pokey Moonshine" Kailee finished the year with 42 peaks tagged! Quite an accomplishment for a young girl! I'm extremely proud of her!

Monday, November 19, 2018

Silver Lake Mountain 11-11-2018

Sunset over Silver Lake from
Silver Lake Mountain.

I've covered Silver Lake Mountain in a number of blog posts on here. So, I won't go into too much detail. This was a nice solo hike where I climbed SLM and did a little bushwhacking & exploration towards the Potter Mountains. I turned around before reaching the Potters because I didn't feel like headlamping it out. This was a last minute serene hike that hit the spot.

Interesting frozen "wetland" between SLM & the Potters.

Enjoying the view on a fantastic ledge.

The ice is forming!

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Catamount Mountain 10-19-2018

Summit of Catamount Mountain with Whiteface & Esther behind us.

I had been feeling the urge to get back to Catamount Mountain for a few weeks. It has a lot of terrain and elevation gain which offer an experience similar to a High Peak for a short hike. A rare Friday afternoon off gave me the chance to pick Kailee up from school and take a sunset hike up this challenging 3100' peak.

Esther & Whiteface from Catamount's trail

It was a beautiful afternoon. Most of the trees had shed their leaves which afforded nice outward views throughout the hike. Catamount's false summit offers the first real challenges of the hike. It involves a lot of scrambling and a climb of it's infamous "Chimney."

Catamount's notorious Chimney.

The trail isn't well marked from the false summit to the col between the real summit. So, we had to be careful to pay attention to our surroundings. This mountain has a lot of open rock. Keep your eyes peeled.

We hit the windy summit and snacked as the Sun set. We were afforded views from Camel's Hump (VT) & Lake Champlain to the East, Whiteface to the South and the smaller peaks and ponds of the  Northwest.

Gazing towards the Champlain Valley.

Kailee & I made it back to the Chimney while there was still some light in the sky. Which was good, neither of us wanted to navigate that thing in total darkness. Shortly thereafter, we donned our headlamps and hiked out the "easy" sections in the dark. On our way out, we could see the flicker of light from the top of the weather station on Whiteface. Kailee & I thought that was pretty cool!

Rather than sitting around & saying "We should hike Catamount again." I've decided we should make it a priority for after school hikes in the future!

Looking down at Catamount's False Summit.

The Soda Range (Nun-Da-Ga-O Loop) 10-8-2018

Big Crow Mountain's summit.

I had a few ideas lined up for the holiday weekend. Big Crow & the Nun-Da-Ga-O loop in the Soda Range was actually Plan D. To say the least, the weekend had been stressful for Kailee. As a parent, letting her catch up on sleep & going on a moderate hike seemed like the best option for her.

So, we rolled with Plan D.

A cool outcrop. Lost Pond (center).

This hike begins at the Crow's Clearing trailhead in Keene. We were already familiar with Big Crow Mountain. It's a 15-20 minute hike over 7/10th of a mile to the summit. It was overcast, so views were limited.

After tagging Big Crow, we backtracked a little to the Nun-Da-Ga-O loop trail split.
The Nun-Da-Ga-O trail is a pretty old ridge trail. The people who cut it thought it needed an "exotic" sounding name. So, they corrupted the word "Onondaga" by moving the first "O" to the end and changed the second "O" to a "U."

Looking at it from a modern perspective, their naming strategy may be questionable... But, the route that they cut is a thing of beauty. The 6.8 mile trail doesn't tag every summit along the ridge, but it hits numerous ledges. It was overcast, so our views from these ledges was limited. The "fun factor" of this trail made up for it.

Nice ridge trail!

The trail traverses from Big Crow to the summit of 3106' (an unnamed peak), over the shoulder of Coal Dirt Hill onto the summit of Weston Mountain before descending to Lost Pond.

We had some limited views by the time we hit Weston Mountain...

Arriving at Lost Pond, we joked and yelled "Hey, Lost Pond! You're not lost anymore!"
Near the pond, we passed a lean-to in impeccable shape and a campsite.

Lost Pond

From Lost Pond back to Crow's Clearing, the trail kinda dragged along.

We arrived back at the trailhead just as the Sun was setting. This is a really cool hike & we both agreed to try it again on a much clearer day.

Note: There are a lot of options for hiking at Crow's Clearing. You can keep your hike short... Or, for the extra ambitious - you can create a much bigger hike-traverse-loop with the options for Hurricane Mountain & Little Crow Mountain.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Noonmark & Round 9-30-2018

Round Mountain

The first time that Kailee & I climbed Noonmark (in 2017) we summited into a cloud & were socked in with zero visibility. Nevertheless, it was an extremely fun climb that both of us enjoy reminiscing about. Hiking the full Noonmark & Round Mountain loop became a goal for Kails... I was asked about trekking it for a full year.

We began our hike at the Ausable Club/AMR and walked up the road to the Noonmark trail register. After signing in, we followed the same route as last year (Stinson Trail) into the woods and up Noonmark. The skies were looking a little questionable. Would we be socked in again? Despite the clouds moving, we were offered some excellent views of the Great Range & Giant at the various lookouts on the trail.

The Wolf Jaws from a lookout on Noonmark.

Kailee has grown so much over the past year & her climbing skills have evolved. She made what used to be nail-biting sections look easy peasy.

It was a little overcast when we hit the summit of Noonmark. But, there was still views a plenty!
Noonmark is often regarded as having one of the best views in the High Peaks Wilderness & it did not disappoint!

The Great Range from Noonmark.

After some snacks, we descended the Adler Trail into the col between Noonmark & Round. We then headed North on the Old Dix Trail and took a right at the Round trail junction.

Dix from Noonmark.

Hanging at the summit of Noonmark.

Round was a relatively easy climb from this trail. There's plenty of open rock along it that offer some great views. We got knocked off trail for a second thanks to the open rock. So keep that in mind if you're going to do this hike.

Climbing Round.

We arrived at the summit of Round & were extremely impressed! Wildfires in the early 1900's left much of the summit bare. The stellar vista was very similar to those of Noonmark - with the added bonus of Noonmark being a part of the view. The sky cleared up considerably during our trek between the summits and it had warmed up...Making this a perfect spot to lounge around for a while.

Noonmark (foreground left) & the Great Range from Round.

We descended via the Round Mountain Trail. Let me tell ya something, that trail is steep! No major obstacles or anything. Just a steep descent. I'm glad that we descended it rather than climb it! It was a long, but enjoyable 2.3 mile walk from the summit to the car.

Goofing off on Round Mountain's summit.

Back at the Ausable Club road, we met a father with his son (who was the same age as Kailee). They had just finished climbing Dial & Nippletop. We congratulated them & Kailee told them that she had completed 20 High Peaks. Both were very impressed.

Arriving at our car, we were both happy to change out of our stinky hiking clothes. Kailee was glad to have checked a big hike off of her bucket list!

Just for kicks, we drove to Sharp Bridge to check things out like our previous adventure at Noonmark. We love Sharp Bridge & popping by for a few minutes in the off season is always fun.

Sharp Bridge in Autumn colors.

Noonmark & Round Mountains offer great hiking experiences. Kailee & I suggest that you check these peaks out!

Note: Although Noonmark & Round are mid-sized peaks, the mileage is comparable to a High Peak hike. My GPS showed it as an 8 mile hike with 3320' of elevation gain & 3337' of elevation loss. It's a calf burner!

Giant Mountain from Round.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

St. Regis Mountain 9-16-2018

A Saranac Lake 6er Finish!

Kailee set out to wrap up her final requirement for the Saranac Lake 6ers on September 16.

I had lined it up so that St. Regis Mountain would be her grand finale for a few reasons:
-St. Regis has a stunning view.
-It's a really fun climb.
-There's a firetower (She loves towers).

We ended up getting a much later start than planned, but I wasn't too worried about it. The weather looked like it was going to provide us with great conditions throughout the afternoon as we pulled up to the trailhead.

St. Regis is a very pleasant hike. We walked up and down small rolling hills for 3 miles until the climb began in earnest for the last half mile stretch.

We arrived at the summit. I presented Kailee with a Saranac Lake 6er badge and congratulated her on the achievement. There was a mix of emotions on her end. But, she was very pleased to finish off another hiking challenge and ecstatic to check out the tower.

Kailee confided that St. Regis was a perfect peak to finish the challenge. She loved the views from the tower!

A decent sized group of young adults arrived at the top shortly after us. We chatted with them and  ended up hiking out with them. Kailee walked with one of the ladies & chatted about a number of items (Aaron Rodgers was a hot topic).

Once we got back to the cars, we said our goodbyes & drove off to Saranac Lake. There was one final detail to make things official: Kailee needed to ring the 6er bell in Berkley Green and add her name to the book.

She rang the bell six times and I shouted "Congratulations!" A passerby also shouted out a compliment! This was a great Fall day in the ADK & I'm proud that Kails got to join the club!

Celebrating at the 6er Bell at Berkley Green in Saranac Lake.

Check out a video of our adventure here: