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Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Bald Mountain-Three Sisters(Southern Adirondacks)

Was planning to head up towards the High Peaks today, but got a late start this morning, so opted to do a bushwhack hike in the southern Adirondacks instead.  Driving west out of Warrensburg, there is  group of small mountains known as the Three Sisters.  The most recognizable is Pine Mountain(the northernmost of the three), which is home to the Hickory Ski Center along the mountain's north slopes.  My goal for the day was to hike up 1975 foot Bald Mountain, the tallest and southernmost peak in the range.  Access is at the end of gravel Katts Corners Road, which is the road that continues south just past Hickory Ski Center along the east side of the Hudson River.  I parked off to the side at a gate and was on my way.
 About 200 feet past the first gate is a second gate.
The first mile of the hike is mostly level, following closely along the Hudson River.
 Following a wide and easy path along the river, which is actually just an old continuation of Katts Corners Road.
 Just under a mile into the hike, I spotted an old fallen in shed to the right of the trail.
 Filtered sunlight finding its way through the forest canopy.
 I had intended to hike up an old woods road, but missed my turn, so decided instead to just bushwhack directly up through the woods.  The ascent is steady, but not overly difficult, climbing about 1500 feet in about 2 miles.  The easiest slope seemed to be from the north, so I made my way up through the woods, soon seeing some breaks in the trees off to the left.  I dropped down to some ledges on the east side of the mountain, with great 180 degree views.  Here's a look north towards Warrensburg.
 Pine Mountain slopes just to the north.
 After enjoying some ledge views, I continued up to the true summit of Bald Mountain, which was wooded with no views.
 I had read that there are great views from a series of ledges on the SW side of the mountain, so I dropped down in that direction, soon finding them. 
 There are fantastic views from these ledges.  Here is a sweeping view south and west, with the Hudson River snaking far, far below.
 A view towards the SE down towards Lockwood Swamp.
 SE views towards Ferguson Brook and Lockwood Swamp.
 The unbelievable views, solitude and refreshing breeze made it a perfect spot to enjoy lunch
 Looking north at the SW cliffs just below the summit.
 It was hard to tear myself away from these cliffs, but I finally, reluctantly turned back. 
 I dropped back off the summit, heading north towards Middle Mountain(the middle Sister).  I climbed up a little way, just below the summit, but the sheer rock face was unsafe to ascend, so I turned back.
 Luckily I found the woods road in the col that I was looking for on the way down, making the descent quick and easy.  I followed the Hudson back out to the car, enjoying the quiet, beautiful river views.
Hiked about 5.8 miles RT, with a little over 1600 feet elevation gain.

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