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Monday, May 12, 2014

Crane Mountain

A very warm(mid 80's) and sunny spring day found me exploring Crane Mountain in the southern Adirondacks.  This is one of the most popular hikes in the southern area of the park, but it can be a challenging hike at times.  The road in to the trailhead is a rough gravel road with several tricky areas to get by.  I didn't want to chance anything with my new car so I parked off to the side and hiked in adding some distance from the travel on the road.
Near a swampy area on the road, there are several opportunities to look up at Crane's majestic mountaintop.
Once on the trail, you begin to climb almost immediately.  There are many rocky sections where footing is vital, and I actually had to use my hands to help get up.
Another steep area.
After only  a short distance, the ascent is so steep that views begin to open up below.
A small peak to the west at a large rocky clearing,
About halfway up the mountain the views are already amazing.  It was nice to take a breather, so I stopped several times to soak in the views.
There are two ladders along the way.  This one is small but much needed due to the lack of any substantial footing to get you up.
I couldn't believe my eyes and actually had to do a double take when I saw this large patch of snow under a rock.  The temperature was easily in the 80's at this point, so it was very strange to see large patches of snow and ice, as I did in this section of trail.
The smell of spruce really begins to fill the air as you get closer to the summit.
This area is almost completely vertical for nearly 25 feet up so there is no practical way up other than by climbing the ladder.  For those with a fear of heights this part can be a challenge.
From the top of the ladder looking back over shoulder of the mountain.
Finally, after a exhausting 1.2 miles I arrived at Crane's rocky summit.
The views are simply breathtaking.
Looking west with Garnet Lake visible among the countless peaks.
There are many different rocky ledges and areas to explore on the summit, each with their own rewarding view.  This is a look back easterly at the steep ledges below the summit.
Looking directly west.  Notice the trees, shaped by the harsh winds at this elevation.  It almost appears that the wind is blowing hard, but there was only a calm breeze.
I made it to the top!
Garnet Lake with Ross Mountain and Mt Blue above it to the west.
You truly feel small way up here.
Southwest views.
Looking due south.
Crane Mountain Pond can be seen as you follow Crane's ridgeline to the east.
East views.
Southerly views.
I lingered on the summit for nearly a half hour.  A truly magical experience.
Pure beauty.
West views.
East views from a rocky ledge on the western side.
East views.
Sometimes there just aren't words.
A large amount of icy snow was found just before Crane Mountain Pond.
A short .4 mile hike brings you to the beautiful Crane Mountain Pond.  Unfortunately this section of trail was very, very wet and muddy.
A trail and unmarked footpath follow much of the pond's shoreline.  This is also a popular angling spot.
Crystal clear mountain waters.
The last half mile down has several steep sections which can just as challenging as the ascent.
Stopped by the Hudson River Recreational Area on the way home and did a short .75 mile loop through the woods and along the shores of the Hudson.
A couple was putting a floating canoe in across the River.
There are many pines along the trails here.
The prettiest spot here is the .3 mile length of trail along the river.  Looking downstream on such a gorgeous, summer-like day.  The water is noticeably clearer up north compared to back home in the Capital District area.

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