Friday, March 30, 2012

TABLETOP MTN ADK 46er (The "Beardcicle" Hike)

I picked up my friend Mike (SavageStorm) in Saratoga and we headed up to South Meadows Rd for a hike to Tabletop Mtn in the Adirondack High Peaks. We enjoyed some roadside views of the High Peaks in the early morning from Rt 73 near Keene...
 There was a few inches of fresh snow on Adirondack Loj Rd when we drove in to the end of South Meadows Rd. The road is closed for mud season so we brought bikes to get to the trailhead about 1 mile down. It was a chilly bike ride for sure...
We signed in and headed for Marcy Dam following fresh coyote prints along the truck road into Marcy Dam...
At Marcy Dam we saw some footprints coming from the Loj, but there was nobody following the VanHovenberg Trail today, one of the busiest trails in the Adirondacks, we had it all to ourselves, didn't see another person all day, not even footprints! We crossed the stream and headed up the trail past the Tabletop Herdpath junction to Indian Falls. We enjoyed the great views of the Macintyre Range and had lunch here...
It was here that Mike noticed my prize-winning "Beardcicle" and we had to photograph it...
We went back down to the Tabletop Herdpath and took the easy to follow trail towards the peak. As we got higher the icy "snow-spine" (an icy ridge created by hikers compacting snow all winter) was narrow and difficult to balance on in spots, Mike did a split at one point!...
We made it to the summit and warmed ourselves at the viewpoint. There were nice views to the south of Mt. Marcy and other peaks...


As we headed back down from the summit we had a few more views to enjoy...
Mike and I had a couple slips on the steep/icy terrain on the way down, but came out ok. We took the ski trail down and it saved some time. The sun had melted away quite a bit of the snow as we headed down to Marcy Dam along Phelps Brook...
We stopped just past Marcy Dam at the DEC Interior Outpost because I had hiked past it before but never saw it before, nobody home though...
We hiked back to our bikes and were back to the car pretty quickly. A nice day for a hike in the High Peaks!



Friday, March 23, 2012

FRIDAY & BALSAM CAP 2 CATSKILL 35 BUSHWACKS (The "Friday on Friday" Hike)

I met up with Tracy (TAG) in Saratoga, then we met up with Jim (Woodsman) and Chris (FreezeFrame) in Albany for a trip to the Catskills. I drove us down to the parking area at the end of Moonhaw Rd. We began our bushwack up some old logging roads until we got near a private cabin, where we started the steady climb up the ridge to Friday Mtn. We came upon a tree with this interesting formation along the way...
We continued up the ridge and eventually found a herdpath that led us up through some cliffs...
We were soon in a pine forest and we found the canister on the wooded summit and signed in...
We enjoyed some snacks and a small view through the trees towards Cornell and Wittenberg Mtns...
We descended past the cliffs towards Balsam Cap Mtn...
After a little route-finding we stumbled on  herdpath along the ridgline which led us through a nice pine forest...
 The path led us to a nice overlook of the Cornell & Wittenberg Mtns and the Ashokan Reservoir...

After climbing trees to get a better view we headed up the trail to the wooded summit of Balsam Cap and signed into the canister...
We headed back down, but instead of going back the way we came we decided to check out a large plane crash on the way back. The route was very steep and rocky down to the crash site but we found it...
It was a WWII B-25 Bomber that crashed here in 1948 taking the lives of the three airmen aboard.
We continued back down the mountain and came out near the private cabin where there was one last view of the Ashokan Reservoir through the trees...
 It was near here that we spotted lots of bear scat and tree claws but never saw any bears.
I found some early wildflowers, Yellow Violets along the way back to the car...
We descended back down to the car. Two Catskill bushwacks and a plane wreck, a nice day to be in the mountains. And of course, we hiked Friday on Friday!

Note: Some photos couresy of TAG

Monday, March 19, 2012

COLVIN & BLAKE ADK 46er's (The "Gut Check" Hike)

I headed up to do Colvin & Blake Mtns in the Adirondacks because last time I only hiked Colvin and Blake is one of the 46, so I went back to climb that as well. I headed up to the Ausable Club TH to start my hike. The day was cool in the morning, but was destined to be very hot before the end. I reached the turn off from Lake Rd for Colvin Mtn fairly quickly. I had decided to wear my sneakers (my favorite shoes to hike in!), in the dryer lowlands on this hike..
I ended up leaving them on all the way to Colvin's summit with my microspikes for traction. 
I stopped for a rest at a waterfall at the trail junction with the Gill Brook Trail...
My shoes and socks were soaked from the wet snow and ice on the way up, but I brought extra socks & boots to change into. I met a couple other hikers along the trail and we reached the summit, ate snacks and chatted for while enjoying the views of The Great Range and Lower Ausable Lake...

The other hikers headed down and I prepared to head over to Blake Mtn. I started down the trail and came to a southern overlook of Upper Ausable Lake and Blake Mtn...
The next leg of the trip is one of the toughest hiking experiences I've had in my years of hiking, I underestimated the poor snow conditions and temperatures and it made for a very exhausting trip through the deep col to Blake and back. I had snowshoes but the snow was so soft it was no use to put them on, the terrain was very steep and the temps had me sweating and out of water. It was a true "gut check" getting back to Colvin where I had left 1/2 an iced tea on the summit. There were some nice views along the way which helped distract me from my physical predicament...
The ladder down to the col...
Near Blake Mtn Summit...
Blake Mtn Views...
Some steep icy/snowy terrain...
A view of Colvin Mtn...
A view of Nippletop/Dix Mtns...
The Col between Blake/Colvin...
When I reached this rock along the trail it seemed to signify the journey I had taken between the two mountains...
I reached the summit of Colvin again and had some tea and headed back down towards Lake Rd. I heard a couple rumbles of thunder and even saw a small rainbow in the distance...
When I reached the Lake Rd, I was extremely tired but felt better that I had a road to walk on for the last few miles to the car, I stopped at Artist Falls along the way...

video

Further down the road the mist was rising off Gill Brook...
I made it back to the Lake Rd gate, totally exhausted and sore but glad to have been outdoors all day in the mountains!
I learned a valuable lesson about how much fluid to bring on early spring hikes in case of hot temps, also I will always bring my water filter on all longer hikes from now on. Even with the "gut check" it was still a great day to be out and the views were splendid!

Friday, March 9, 2012

PANTHER & SLIDE 2 CATSKILL 35 WINTER MTNS (The "Two Seasons" Hike)

Chris (FreezeFrame) and I met up in Schenectady and headed down to the Catskills for a "winter" hike of Panther Mtn. We arrived at the Giant Ledge TH and headed up the trail, it was chilly but was warming up with the sun. We made it fairly quickly up to Giant Ledge and enjoyed the views...

The day was warm and we were enjoying the springlike weather, not knowing the second hike of the day would be much different. We put microskpikes on to climb Panther Mtn because there was some icy patches along the way...
We continued up the trail and reached the summit where we ate and enjoyed the view...


We headed back down enjoying the warm sunny weather back across the Ledge and to the car.
We made such good time on the hike we decided to drive up the road a few miles and hike Slide Mtn.
The sky was starting to fill up with clouds as we ascended the wide path up the mountain. We made it up to the first overlook just as a storm was blowing in...
By the time we reached the summit it had started to snow, I showed Chris the Burroughs Plaque and then we ate a snack and geared up for the winter weather...


It snowed off and on back down to the car. 2 different seasons in 1 hike, a great day to be out in the woods!