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Sunday, August 18, 2013

French Hill Mtn(Lake George)/ Bailey Pond(Hoffman Notch Wilderness)

It's been a while since I've gotten up into the Adirondacks to do any hiking, so I figured today was as good a day as any other.  Wasn't quite sure where I wanted to go as I loaded the car, but decided to drive north and figure it out on the way.  While racking my brain, I remembered a hike just south of Lake George that looked interesting to me.  It is a climb up French Mountain.  Not a popular hike, but that's kind of what appealed to me on a summer weekend day near Lake George.  There is small pull off for Col. Williams Statue on Route 9 and that is where you park your car.

You walk along the trail to the statue and then beyond that until you find the Warren county bike path.  A short walk along the bike path leads to a rock outcropping and arrow on the pavement indicating the start of the trail.  It is a pleasant walk at first, mostly level for the first quarter mile or so but then began a fairly steep ascent.  The trail was well marked and easy to follow, even with the side trails running through much of the woods.

Following a steady climb which left me somewhat winded, I finally reached the top.  The trail itself is only 2.4 miles RT but due to steep climb seemed much longer.  After a small scramble on some open rocks I found some nice views to the south and west mostly.  Unfortunately it was a mostly cloudy day with some haze, so views weren't what they could've been on a clear day.

After the return trip to the car, I still had some energy and it was not even noon yet.  So, I set out further north for another hike. I was looking for a more remote, level hike and found Bailey Pond in the Hoffman Notch Wilderness area. This is an area that has intrigued me for a while.  Although less than a half hour drive from Schroon Lake, it is a secluded area, with a deep back country feeling.  When I pulled into the parking area, I was almost surprised to see a car already in the wooded lot.  After looking at the trail register I assumed that the other hikers were the couple who signed in the day before and possibly camped overnight. Once I got moving it was a nice, easy stroll through deep woods.  There were no ups or downs so I arrived at the pond in only twenty minutes.  It is a beautiful spot with Hayes Mountain looming in the background.

On the return walk, I crossed the rambling Trout Brook and noticed cables hung for high water crossing.  Today, though, the water level was low.

Once across the brook, I found the trail which brings to a much more remote pond about two miles further called Marion Pond.  That would have to wait for another day, however.  I was tired and ready to head back to the car.  All in all, it proved to be a nice day of hiking.

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