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Craig

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  1. Craig

    Hurricane Mountain

    I had climbed Hurricane several times before today, each time previously was in the winter or late fall. The forecast today was to be a bluebird day, with highs in the upper 70's. It was 56 degrees when I left my house at 4am. It was quite cool with a steady breeze at 5:15 when I signed the trailhead registry. I had other things planned today so I needed to get an early start. There is something very relaxing about being in the woods as all the critters begin to wake from their slumber. We often go to the forest for peace and quiet, yet if you get there very early when everything is still asleep, it is very quiet, yet as the new days starts it gets very noisy with the chirping of birds, squirrels, and chipmunks. I did not have to wear my headlamp very long before I was able to move along at a good pace without it. I soon found myself at the first set of boardwalks. There is something neat about boardwalks, other than helping keep your feet dry. There are several sections on this trail with them; some take you right over running water, and through bogs. Just after the last bog I entered back into the woods to a nice surprise, something caught my eye. Up on the trail ahead of me was a porcupine waddling along, possibly looking for food. I immediately felt relief that I did not bring any of my dogs on this hike. A small disaster averted. I slowed my pace, started talking to him as he continued up the trail, eventually stepped off allowing me to pass. The trail continues along at a gradual incline passing through a mixture of hard and softwoods. Eventually coming into several areas of wild raspberry brambles. I would meander through these on my way back down. The air was still cool, and it really brought out the sweet smell of balsam as I passed through several air pockets with its sweet smell. If only this scent could be bottled. I soon found myself on the ledges where the trail pops out onto a craggy outcropping. This view provides glimpses of the destination, the fire tower. It also provides a wonderful view of the lesser peaks in the foreground, and the high peaks in the distance, most prominently the Giant of the valley. I also took a small break here and enjoyed the views and sun on my face. I eventually continued on my way and was soon at the junction with the trail that leads up from the O’toole road trailhead for the Crows, Soda range, and Weston mountains. There is another trailhead at the end of Hurricane road, but I have never used it. From here, it is a quick jaunt to the rocky scramble leading up to the fire tower. Once out on the rocks above the trees the wind was steady. It felt cool given the temperatures were probably in the sixties, but also refreshing. This is the first time I was able to go into this fire tower. All the previous hikes up Hurricane Mountain the tower had been under renovation. Therefore, this was a real treat, even though I have been in several other fire towers, it is just neat trying new ones. I arrived at the tower at 8:17. After several pictures from the tower and around it, I had a quick snack, and soon started my way back down. I really took my time, enjoying the views, the fresh raspberries, and the cordial greetings from up bound hikers. I was surprised at the amount of hikers seen on a weekday. The majority wore or had masks on them as we passed each other. I eventually arrived back at the register and car around 10:45. This was the longest hike since my surgeries. I traveled around 6 miles round trip, 1977' of elevation gain, carrying my full pack. I felt my energy level to be that of what it was last fall.
  2. Craig

    Panther Mountain

    Isn't that the truth. Was very fortunate, and happy to be on the trails again. Thank you!
  3. Craig

    Panther Mountain

    A nice little hike, especially for a young family, inexperienced/out of shape, or a recovering hiker. I had read varying descriptions of this hike describing it as easy, short, and steep in some sections. I did not find it steep at all. The parking area for this hike is off Route 3 about a quarter mile west of Corey’s road (east of Tupper Lake, NY), on the left. It currently is easy to pass up and miss (if you're approaching from the east) as the entrance is nestled between two sets of guard rails. We arrived at the trail-head about 9am and were soon on our way. The trail is just west of the parking area. A quick walk and we were soon on our way up. The trail is 1.2 miles round trip, with a little less than 500 feet of elevation gain to the top. The trail at first is a little obscure, but if you pay attention to the trail markers, you will have no issue. The first half of the trail meanders through open pine forest. In no time, we were up out of the open pines into more deciduous trees, ultimately coming out on the ledges of the partially open summit. It might not be a bald peak, but there are some beautiful views available. To the southeast there is the Seward range, and to the east you can see Ampersand Mountain. We enjoyed the summit to ourselves for almost an hour until a young family from Niagara showed up. After exchanging pleasantries, we were soon on our way back down and back at the truck for 10:30.
  4. Craig

    Taylor Pond

    A 12 mile hike from Taylor Pond to Catamount mountain.
  5. Craig

    Catamount Mountain

    The last time I hiked this mountain was in 2007 with my wife. At that time there was no parking lot at trail head, you would have to park along the side of the road. Now with the parking lot it is safer for hikers to park and enter/exit their vehicles. Today the parking lot was full when I got done with my hike, and there were several cars parked on the shoulder of the Forestdale rd. I had signed in at the register just after 7am. I would be the first hiker on the trail this morning. It was a brisk morning at 35 degrees so It didn’t take me long to get moving. The trail leading in from the register is now a wide trail (wide enough to drive a 4 wheeler down), at least up to the point of a gate that leads to private property. Twelve years ago it was a nice narrow winding path that was soft underfoot. It appeared to me as I continued up there has also been several re-routes of the trail, and a fair amount of trail work as well, including a few switchbacks. The trail is easy enough to follow and a gradual climb up to just past the second brook crossing. From the second brook crossing the trail begins to gain more in elevation, ultimately becoming steadier uphill climb. The trail now skirts out onto a ledge providing some nice views of the valley, along with the backside of Whiteface Mountain. I don’t recall this section from my previous climb. After a few scrambles up some short steeper sections you come to the infamous "chimney". The trail goes right up through it. There are several places to use for handholds and help pull you up through. Once on top of the chimney you are awarded with some beautiful views. From this point there is a fair amount of scrambling up steep rock until you get to the bump below the summit. From this point it is about .4 miles to the summit. I took a little break at the bump and had a snack, and just enjoyed the views before I continued on. It was absolutely perfect day for climbing. The temperature when I left the car was 35 degrees and by now it was probably in the low 40’s, no wind, and blue skies. After about a 20 minute break I continued up, but not before dropping down into a small grove of softwoods, going up and over several rocks before coming back out onto the ledges of Catamount. The trail is easy enough to follow, even when out on the rock ledges, just need to pay attention to posted trail signs (sparse in some areas), and just looking for worn rock. You can see scrape marks from winter hikers that leave them from wearing traction devices. On that note, this hike would be even more of a challenge in the winter. A short while later I was on the summit, alone. I would enjoy the summit to myself for over an hour. In fact I would not see another hiker until I was back down in the small grove of softwoods. On the hike out I ran into several groups of people making their way up and enjoying this beautiful day. The hike down took me almost as long as it did going up. There is a lot of loose rock, stones that give way under foot. Once I got down to the first brook crossing I was able to pick up speed and was back at the car for noon. My Track;
  6. Decided to return to an old favorite that is conveniently nearby, about 30 minutes drive. The forecast was to be a Bluebird day, and the weather did not disappoint. I was out the door a bit after 6am, made a stop for gas and were soon on my way. I had decided today that I would not take my pups as I had a feeling the trail was going to be crowded. I eventually arrived at the parking area a little after 7am. I rather quickly grabbed my pack and was soon signed in and headed up. The trail up is pretty easy to follow, just need to pay attention to where you are going, as there are several switchbacks and some of them you could walk straight off into the woods if your not paying attention. One of the key things to hiking is carrying a map and compass, know how to use them, and pay attention to the trail. This time of year could be a challenge with all the leaves that are falling and covering up the trail. I'll explain later why I added something so obvious. The trail is in pretty good shape, very few muddy areas, and a few areas where the trail has running water. In most places you can rock hop right through the mud and water, and in a few areas you just have to hike right up through it. By avoiding walking around the mud and water you will prevent the trail from widening, and mitigate further erosion from the foot traffic. There was a young couple that had arrived before me and I eventually met up with them just below the summit.They were on their way back down. I stopped and chatted a bit and was happy to find out the wind was not that bad on the summit. Lyon mountain has a tendency to be windy, I have always had a blustery time up there. I enjoyed the summit to myself for a good half hour or more, before 4 young men from Montreal arrived. They had traveled down for the day, and this was there first trip to the Adirondacks. We exchanged pleasantries and chatted for a bit, it was nice to see the look on there faces when I pointed out the city of Montreal was visible from there, you could even see the high rises reflecting in the sun. As I was leaving there was a couple in the fire tower as I passed by on my way down. I would eventually meet several people making there way up to the top. I stopped counting the hikers on the trail when I hit 50, and there were about 15 canine companions total as well. It was nice to see most of the hikers had there pups on a leash. It was a busy day today, and the parking area was over flowing with cars as well. I mention earlier about carrying a compass, map, being prepared, etc earlier. I say that because every year there are usually 2 or 3 cases on Lyon Mountain alone where people get lost, caught in the dark, hurt, etc. That plays a huge toll on local fire and ems, that are made up mostly of volunteers. While they enjoy serving there community, some of these incidents, if not most are avoidable if only people were better prepared for their hike. Of those 50 plus hikers I met on the way back down, half had backpacks, most had nothing with them (water, food). Take a few extra minutes and prepare, read up on your hike, know your limits. Enjoy nature, but don't be a statistic.
  7. I decided to take an early morning hike up Poke-O-Moonshine mountain. I'm not one to typically hike in the summer as I generally spend my summer months camping, and going on shorter walkabouts. However, the mornings have been really unseasonable cooler these last few days so I opted to get a hike in. I hadn't hiked Poke-O in awhile and wanted something nearby. I was on the trail at 06:28 with a nice cool temperature of 58 degrees, zero bugs. Perfect hiking weather under a blue sky. The trip from the new trail head is just over 4 miles round trip (4.1). We took our time and enjoyed the cool, shady, and quiet trail. My GPS logged 2275 max elevation. My total trip time which included my break on the summit and a few in between was 3:24. That number is subjective as everyone hikes differently. But it gives a general time frame. I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of trail maintenance work that has since been completed. There was some trail hardening done in a few areas, added stairs that were new, and it seems like a couple of reroutes that occurred as well. Thankful for the work of the trail crews. Misty and I enjoyed a half hour on the summit to ourselves before heading back down. The only item that stood out for me was the wooden stairs just below the summit. While the intent is to help with erosion and hikers, the tread spacing is not convenient, may even be dangerous. While I navigated them on my way up, I couldn't help but remember Jerry Lewis, the actor, as I stumbled and tripped my way up. The rise of each step is no more that 3 inches which makes it difficult to use. Still a great day with excellent views.
  8. Craig

    Clements Pond

    I had first heard of this hike while looking through a friends Facebook photos when I came across a post of this same hike (Surprise!). I did a little bit more digging and found another post on my favorite hiking forum, it's an older post but it had a bit more information. I was surprised at how long it has been available to the public. I knew it was a short hike based on what I had read. The sign at the trail head said it was 1.5 miles to Clements Pond, however I assume that is to the edge of the pond. When you add in the distance beyond that, that goes out on what seems like a peninsula, it was more like 2 miles. Someone can correct me if I am wrong on the distance. In any event it is a nice hike through mostly hard woods on a gradual uphill to about 1700 feet, where it then heads down towards the pond. There are some switchbacks along the way that make it even easier on the legs. Once I reached what appeared to be the end of the trail I found a fire pit (unofficial campsite), and a boat upside on the shore. I cannot imagine carrying that up there. While taking a quick break I could hear some young children coming from across the pond. After a quick snack we were soon on our way back, and had reach one of the lookouts on the pond, before the family of 4 came walking by. Seeing this young family reminded me of my earlier days of hiking with my son. Again on our way up from the pond we came upon a couple who advised us there were a small group of people carrying canoes up. This seems quite the effort to me, but I would think it would be very relaxing on the pond in a canoe or kayak. Sure enough I ran into the group of 3 around 1700 feet as they made there way up. "Hardcore" I said as they chuckled. We exchanged pleasantries and were each soon on our way. We continued our way down to the tail head, crisscrossing the brook uninterrupted. What a beautiful hike that I would think would be a nice place on a hot summers day, as the trail would be under a canopy of leaves. This would be fun to snowshoe in the winter as well. The trail head parking lot is located off Styles Brook rd in the town of Keene, New York. It is small, probably worse in the winter assuming it is plowed.
  9. Craig

    Round Mountain

    It was easy enough to follow and some very nice views along the way.
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