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Saturday, November 16, 2013

Hadley Mountain/ Spectacle Pond/ Gull Pond(Adirondacks)

Found my way back up north to the beautiful Adirondacks early Thursday morning, and got started hiking up Hadley Mountain and its breathtaking views of the southern Adirondacks.  It is certainly an out of the way destination off of several back roads, but never the less still an extremely popular hike that attracts crowds nearly all year.  Being a midweek day in November, there were only a couple of cars at the trailhead, and one of them ended up being a hunter.
 The ascent up the mountain is steadily steep nearly all the way up, with scattered ice adding to the difficulty of the climb.

As I climbed the mountain the ice got worse and a blanket of snow coated the trail.
 But as the summit neared , the snow cleared and it became much rockier and open.
 Views to the north began opening up, even before you get to the firetower.

 The fire tower.
 Views to the north from the summit, below the fire tower.
The very top of the fire tower is closed this time of year, but you can climb the steps to outstanding 360 degree views.  
 Views south over the ranger cabin.
 The Great Sacandaga Lake and rolling southern Adirondack peaks are visible to the southwest.
 Southerly views.
 Steps up the tower.
 Great Sacandaga Lake.
 The views are incredible, but the cold early winter winds are brutal on the exposed summit tower, so i didn't linger too long.
The total trip is 3.4 miles RT, but due to the steepness of the hike, it seems much longer.  It was still fairly early, so I headed east towards the Schroon Lake region.   I drove up the east side of the lake, in search of a couple of shorter level hikes.  Views of Schroon Lake along the way.

 The beach at the tiny village of Adirondack.
Further north along the road, there are several trails going to the east to beautiful, remote ponds deep in the woods.  Spectacle Pond is the first pond trail, with a large pull off along the east side of Adirondack Road.
The trail begins in a deep evergreen forest, running along Spectacle Pond Brook nearly the entire way.  

 After a little over a mile, a small path leads to a clearing with views of a large marshy area and Pharoah Mountain looming in the bakground.
 After 1.7 miles the trails leads down to the shoreline, where a couple of rowboats are stored.
 I followed the shores of the pond to a designated camping site and pristine northerly views.
 Pharoah Mountain rises steeply north of the pond.
The 3.4 Mile RT is nearly all level, making for a much quicker hike.  On the way out, I ran into several hunters on the trail who were dragging a deer out of the woods.  They informed me it was a five pointer.  Although friendly, the presence of hunters in the woods is a reason I wear a blaze orange hat and stay only on main trails this time of year.
A mile or so further along the road I came to Gull Pond, which is a beautiful little pond set back on a little over half a mile from the road.  It is surrounded by rock cliffs and nice camping areas along the shores.
 The late afternoon sun was reflecting almost perfectly off of the calm water.

A short bushwack around the pond leads to the rock cliffs on the opposite shore.
 The sun sets early this time of year, as I headed back to my warm car.
 Driving back into town, the moon was visible over Alder Brook.

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