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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Poke-O-Moonshine Mountain(Adirondacks)

Decided to hike the popular 2180 foot Poke-O-Moonshine Mountain in an area of the Adirondacks I am not all too familiar with.  Found off Route 9 between exits 32-33 off the northway, the stunning rock cliffs make for a dramatic approach to the trailhead. 
I parked at the southern parking lot and trailhead, and found two other cars already there at just  after 8am.
The trail drops into a hardwood forest and quickly crosses Cold Brook on a footbridge.
The trail heads west then turns north, climbing at a moderate pace with a couple of steeper areas, but nothing too difficult.  I soon arrived at a washed out old crossing over a beaver pond.
I followed the well beaten down path to the new crossing.
Looking back at the beaver pond, bathed in early morning sun.
The trail is marked in blue and is actually a jeep trail.  As it nears the junction with the Ranger's Trail, I passed an outhouse and Lean To. 
The Lean To.
Stopped for a few moments in the Lean To, soaking in the sights and sounds of the woods on a gorgeous morning.
At the trail junction with the Ranger's Trail, I came upon the ruins of the former Ranger's cabin.
Turned north onto the red marked trail and headed the last .3 of a mile towards the summit.  Came upon a large, rock ledge with numerous southerly views.
The drop offs from these ledges are quite steep and can be dangerous.
Continued the short distance past the ledges up to the summit firetower(and my finger).
I climbed up to the firetower, but unfortunately the top cab was locked so I enjoyed the views from just below the top.  There was a group of three hikers there ahead of me, enjoying the open rock views below the tower.  This is a nice view with the northway easily seen winding far below.
The west facing views towards the High Peaks.
There is also a great view of Lake Champlain and the Green Mountains of Vermont to the east, through the hazy sunshine.
Southeast views over Champlain.
The north facing view again with the Northway, as well as Auger Lake(top) and Butternut Pond(bottom).
The views are far streching and second to none from this relatively low summit(2180 feet).  Enjoy the views and breeze in your hair, but be warned, this is a popular hike and you will likely be sharing the top with many others.
Hiked a total of 4.8 miles RT, with an elevation gain of 1450 feet.

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