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Friday, September 30, 2016

Goose Pond(Adirondacks)

After doing some exploring earlier in the day my dad and I decided to do one more short hike because it was such a gorgeous day.  Being in the Schroon Lake area and knowing that his feet don't really allow him to do any mountains, we decided to do a hike to Goose Pond in the Pharaoh Lake Wilderness.  Parked at the official end of Crane Pond Road at the trail register and hiked the road in.  Passing by and eventually crossing Alder Creek.
After a little less than a mile, we turned right onto the Goose Pond trail, passing by Alder Pond, which is just off the trail.
A nice foot bridge crosses the outlet of Alder Pond.
 The trail passes through a heavily shaded stretch of evergreens for about .6 of a mile before reaching the shores of beautiful Goose Pond.
 Following west along the north shore of the pond are a series of nice campsites, cushioned by soft needles.
 Campsite near the point.
 Looking south across the pond towards Pharaoh Mountain.
 The crystal clear waters of Goose Pond.
 The late afternoon sun retreating in the sky, and giving way to shadows.
We wandered the shoreline a bit and then stopped at an open rock, enjoying a snack and the solitude.  We then turned around, retracing our steps back to the truck.  3 miles RT.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

The Branch(Adirondacks)

My dad and I went out and explored a new area of state land, formerly owned by the Ragged Mountain Club, along The Branch in North Hudson.  The Branch is a fast flowing trout stream that flows out of Elk Lake and eventually empties into the Schroon River.  We parked at a new DEC parking area along the west side of Elk Lake Road and followed an old logging road north and west.   
A short distance in, we passed a large clearing with great views south towards the mountains in the Hoffman Wilderness.
 Fall colors are progressing nicely this far north.
 The old road drops down near the sounds of rushing water.  This is the cold mountain water from The Branch.
 We continued north, basically following The Branch, passing through long abandoned gravel pits.  Climbing up to the top of these gravel pits provides spectacular westerly views towards Ragged Mountain and its northern sub peaks.
 Fall colors framing the view, with the old road seen winding below.
 From the top of another gravel pit further along, I enjoyed more of a northwest view beyond the tree tops.
 We walked about a mile and a half before turning back.  The fall foliage and perfect weather conditions were a perfect combination on this day.
 Hiking back, enjoying conversation with my dad on a great fall day.
 Clouds slowly began rolling in as we headed back to the truck.
Hiked about 3 miles RT on this beautiful new area of state land.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Snowy Mountaini(Adirondacks)

Snowy Mountain has been on my "to do" list for quite some time, but it always seems to get pushed off for another hike.  I figured today would be a good day to head north to hike the 3899 foot mountain and its fire tower, and perhaps catch a glimpse at some early fall colors.  This is a popular hike because it is the tallest mountain in all of the southern Adirondacks but even more importantly, its trailhead is located right off busy Route 30.  As I pulled into the parking area this morning, there were five cars there already.  Not bad for a cloudy Wednesday in late September.  After crossing Route 30 to the west, I entered the woods and began my hike.
 Crossing a stretch of puncheon where muddy conditions usually persist.  Dry today though.
 Just over a mile into the hike is a crossing over Beaver Brook.  The brook is easily crossed by rock hopping.
 The first 2+ miles of the hike have some moderate ups and downs, but very little sustained climbing of any kind.  In fact, it is a very relaxing walk in the woods along a very well marked trail.
 Crossing over a small backwater area.
 After recrossing Beaver Brook two  more times, the real climbing finally begins.  I had it marked at about 2400 feet and 2.4 miles into the hike at this point.
 After about 3 miles, the trail emerges into a steep, rocky ascent.  It is from here on that the climbing becomes much more difficult.
 Climbing up through a washed out area of the trail.
 Looking back on some of the nearly vertical climbing on wet rocks provides some of the very first views of the day.
 Steady climbing persists.
 Fall colors along the upper reaches of the trail.
 Nearby peaks are framed by fall colors as the climb heads up and over 3500 feet.
 One of the last steep, pushes towards the top.
 Emerging at a wide open clearing, with nice views east down towards Indian Lake.  Continue on the last .1 of a mile to the fire tower, as the views only get better from here.
After 3.6 miles and 2,050 feet elevation gain I arrived at the summit.  There are no views from the 3899 foot summit, but fortunately, a 50 foot fire tower does provide views. 
The summit tower was almost completely shrouded in clouds and winds were really whipping making me glad I had brought my North Face along. 
 It was very interesting to watch the weather all around me, as you could see the clouds rolling up from the valley floor and right past the fire tower.
 Swirling clouds and strong winds.
 I apologize for the amount of photos, but over the next 45 minutes I stood in the fire tower, watching the clouds move in and then move out only to repeat again.  My hands were freezing after this amount of time up there, but the ever changing views were absolutely worth it.

 A hint of blue skies!
 Incredibly, I didn't see anyone else at the top the entire time I was there!  After exploring much of the summit area, I finally retraced my steps back off the mountain, being very careful along the steep stretch just below the summit.
 Great views on the way down.
 Skies continued to clear out as I made my down the mountain, allowing me to enjoy the early fall colors a bit more.
Once off the steepest parts of the mountain, I made real good time hiking back out to the car.  7.2 miles RT.