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Monday, September 8, 2014

Fifth Peak(Adirondacks)

The Tongue Mountain Range is an 11 mile stretch of land that that juts out between Northwest Bay and Lake George's main body of water.  It rises over 1,00 feet above the waters below and provides ample hiking opportunities.  It is also a very interesting and popular area that is notorious for supporting a rattlensake population.  More on that later.  There are a couple of access points for the Tongue Range along Route 9N and today's hike would be from the southern access.
 The trailhead is just south of an unmarked parking area located at a large quarry.
There are many different hiking options available.  In 2005, Backpacker magazine named the Tongue Mountain Range Loop as a favorite hike.  There are five distinct peaks along this range and today's destination was 1813 foot Fifth Peak.
 Another absolutely beautiful day in the woods.
 A long wooden footbridge crosses an unnamed tributary of Northwest Bay brook.
 Sunny skies and low humidity=great day to be out and about.
 The trail climbs roughly 2 miles up to the ridgeline, where a trail junction is met.  Staying straight brings you steeply back down the eastern side of the mountain to Lake George's shoreline, while a left continues towards Five Mile Mountain.  I took a right on my way towards Fifth Peak.
 A short distance past the trail junction I noticed a large black snake only a few feet off the trail.  He remained motionless which provided me a chance to get a couple of good photos.  I was later told it was indeed a rattlesnake.
 The picture doesn't quite do justice to the size of the snake.  The hair on the back of my neck stood up as I snapped these photos.
 Continuing .7 miles along the trail(with a close eye to the ground) the trail meets a yellow marked spur trail, which leads to Fifth Peak Lean To.  Just prior to reaching the peak, the woods around you change noticeably with grasses replacing fallen leaves and rocks along the forest floor.
 As you reach the Lean To, outstanding views south over Lake George unfold. 
 This is a fantastic place for a lean to with a fire pit and awesome views nearby.
 A front look at the Lean To.
 A rock outcrop provides even better views over the lake.  Here is a view back up the hillside towards the Lean To.
 A great spot to soak in the views of Lake George and the southern Tongue Range.
 A short walk to the west leads to a large clearing and great views south and west.
 Looks like a popular spot to enjoy a fire.
 South views over the south Tongue Mountain Range with the nearby peaks of French Point Mountain and First Peak visible.
 A panoramic view to the south and west with the blue waters of Northwest Bay tucked into the hills.
 A west view over the clearing.
 Boaters just north of the Narrows of Lake George.
 Mushroom bathing in the sunlight.
 The hike back thankfully went quietly and peacefully through the deep woods.  Really took my time on the return.
Hiked a total of a little over 5 miles from Clay Meadow to the Lean To and back.


  1. Did the rattlesnake make any noise?

  2. No, I always thought it would "rattle" its tail, but the only noise I heard was it slithering away from me in the leaves...