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Craig

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  1. 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;
  2. Decided to return to an old favorite that is conveniently nearby, about 30 minutes drive. It was foretasted 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Craig

    Round Mountain

    It was easy enough to follow and some very nice views along the way.
  6. Call it what you want it’s still stealing.
  7. Craig

    Round Mountain

    I had started this hike a bit late about 10 AM. I initially was going to do an out and back from the parking lot area in St. Huberts. This would eventually change and I decided to hike it clockwise. Shortly after signing in, the trail immediately starts the climb up eventually easing to a gradual climb through a mix of hard and soft woods. I kept seeing fresh deer tracks along the way, obviously pushing the deer as I gradually made my way up to a point around 2600 feet where she finally revealed herself. She was about 30 yards away, and I tried to make a video of her, but it turned out very grainy. The climbing gets steeper at this point and along the way you start to see nice views of Giant mountain becoming more and more prominent. At one point I came out of the woods to an open ledge that was like an amphitheater seating to the Giant of the valley. From this point the trail led back into the woods which was made up of pine and cedar trees. This area was moderately steep, but easy climbing with a good base below my feet. There were areas with ice below the snow, but the ever changing temperatures before made for some nice traction. I had put on my snowshoes just after signing in, for no other reason than to take advantage of the televators, micro-spikes would have worked fine in lower elevations, but at around 2600 feet snowshoes were needed with 4-6 inches of powder. As I continues up I ran into a head-wall at about 2800 feet, which has some really cool looking ice-flow coming off of it. My pictures really did not do it justice. In another 100 feet of elevation I thought I had reached the partially open summit, only to realize I had a bit more hiking to do. With a quick down and up in elevation I was finally at the summit and the spectacular views of the Lower Great range, Dix and Hough mountains, along with Giant, and Noonmark mountain. After about a half hour on the summit I dropped down to the Dix trail making my way back to the dirt road that leads to the Ausable Inn road, eventually signing out at the Round Mountain register. I did not see another soul all day which was quite surprising. I had expected at the least to meet traffic coming up to Round from the Dix trail. I guess it is true, Round mountain sees very little traffic. I did this hike clockwise from St Hubert's parking area. Two areas of blow-down. Elevation: 3100 ft Ascent: 1820 ft Distance: 4.9 miles
  8. Craig

    Silver Lake Mountain

    This is a nice little hike at .9 miles to the summit. Deciding later in the day to hike this turned out to be a good option. The trail surprisingly was well drained and somewhat dry, given the recent rains we have had. It seems like there has been some trail work done, at least it seemed that way compared to my last visit several years ago to this mountain. The trailhead is on the left about a half mile south of the Douglas Campground on the Silver Lake road. It is a small trail head and not much room for parking. I arrived around 230pm and there were 4 cars in the lot, room for one more (me), and that is about it. With the way the shoulders are on the main road (Silver Lake Road), not very practical to park on the side of the road. Its a short walk to the trail head register, from there it begins a gradual uphill for about a half mile before it gets a little steeper for the last .4 miles to the summit. The trail is made up of rocks (mostly buried under freshly fallen leaves), roots (wet and slippery), and areas of ledge and bedrock which provides nice traction. There are several lookouts to take advantage of as you climb. I was surprised with the amount of people out this late in the day, and on a Sunday at that. We (the dogs and I) would have company all day. Glad to finally get back out on the trails.
  9. Craig

    Deer Pond Loop

    The trail is absolutely beautiful when I did it in October. I would recommend hiking it in the summer, fall, or winter, or late spring at the earliest. Generally I try to avoid trails in the spring (mud season) at least until they dry up a bit. After the winter and during the spring they are quite soft and can be impacted by hiker traffic. You'll have to let us know what you think about the trail when you do hike it, the condition you found it, etc..
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