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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Noonmark Mountain(Dix Mountain Wilderness/ Adirondacks)

Noonmark Mountain is one of the most popular mountains in the Adirondacks, even though it isn't even one of the highest peaks.  Actually, not only is it not a 4,000 footer, its 3556 foot summit ranks it number 86 in the Park.  Had sunny skies and temps in the upper 30's, making for great conditions to get out and explore.  Parked in the first lot off of Ausable Road just off Route 73 in the High Peaks.  Followed the road for about a half mile and then turned left beginning my walk in the woods.  Took the Stimson Trail up the north side of the mountain through the wintry woods.
 While the calendar may read March 31st, the Adirondack landscape clearly hasn't gotten the message.  Icy run off along the trail.
 There are several steep sections to traverse along the trail.  Slowly melting snow and a thin coating of ice underneath made it a bit more difficult.
 A bend in the trail as the ascent continues. 
 Tricky spot due to the hidden ice.  The micro spikes were a HUGE help in this section.
 After about 2 miles of hiking, the first of several awesome views of the Great Range unfolds just to your west.
 A steep section of trail affords views back to Giant Mountain's snowy summit.
 North views towards Giant and Rocky Peak Ridge, with a shoulder of Round Mountain in the foreground.
 Typical climbing along the trail.
 Clearing skies.
 Panorama to the west.

Looking northwest beyond the Keene Valley.
 A rocky perch about .25 miles before the summit allows a clear view of Noonmark's summit.
 Several rocky lookouts afford jaw dropping views of the entire Great Range. 
 Looking back down after a tough climb through the snow.
One of the very last steep climbs to the summit, completing an elevation gain of 2175 feet in 2.6 miles. 
 Mount Marcy's wintry summit a short distance away.
 Approaching the open summit.
 A nice view of Giant Mountain from the summit area.
 Looking down at the steep drop off below.
South views are dominated by Dix Mountain and its slides.  Noonmark is well known for its nearly 360 degree views from the open summit, providing arguably some of the finest views in the entire Adirondacks.
 Panorama to the south and west.  Dix, Nippletop, Dial, Haystack, Little Haystack, Basin, Saddleback, Sawteeth, Gothics, Armstrong, Upper and Lower Wolf Jaws before you.
 A panorama from(L-R) Snow Mountain and the Keene Valley all way to Giant Mountain, Rocky Peak Ridge and further east.
 East facing panorama.  Not a bad view to be found.
 Instead of returning the way I came up, I decided to follow the Felix Adler Trail down.  After descending more than 1000 feet in a mile, I arrived at the bottom of the Felix Adler Trail.  I hooked a sharp left there and followed the yellow blazed Old Dix Trail back to St Huberts.
Hiked a total of 6.3 miles RT on a beautiful winter/ spring day.  Tough climbing in the steeper sections with the ice and snow, but well worth it for the incredible views.

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