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Saturday, June 3, 2017

Pillsbury Mountain(Adirondacks)

3597 foot Pillsbury Mountain and its fire tower have been on my radar for a while now and a free Saturday afternoon seemed like the perfect time to go hike it.  I usually enjoy the ride up to this quiet part of the Adirondacks and today was no different.
The trailhead for Pillsbury Mountain is located in a remote area of backcountry some 6 miles of dirt roads off of Route 30.  Just north of Mason Lake, take a sharp left turn onto a seasonal dirt road(Perkins Clearing Road) and follow it for 3.3 miles to a junction marked with a signpost.  Turn right here, following the signs towards Pillsbury Mountain. Another 1.8 miles leads to an area known as Sled Harbor.  Some people park here and hike in the remaining 1.2 miles on the access road to the trailhead.  The road appeared to be in decent shape so I drove it, being very cautious, with no issues.  I have almost no clearance with my car, so I would say that in the summer there shouldn't be any problems making it for most cars.
I was quite surprised to see about 7 or 8 cars there when I arrived at the parking lot.  I signed in at the register and began my hike, passing the sign indicating 1.6 miles to the summit.
The trail immediately drops steeply down to a footbridge crossing the Miami River.
 Once across the Miami River(which is much more like a brook), the trail climbs up and into a hardwood forest.  Parts of the trail here are quite crowded with spring growth.
The trail ascends pretty steadily all the way, but is never overly difficult.  Just under a mile into the hike, I found a small view through the trees.
Much of the trail is fairly typical of an Adirondack hike, with mud, rocks and roots.
As I gained elevation up above 3000 feet, there was quite a bit of blowdown, and the trail had to be rerouted in at least two spots.
Climbing up into a dark, cool forest with the winds picking up.
Nearing the summit, the trail levels out passing through a deep conifer and spruce forest.
After 1.6 miles and nearly 1500 feet of ascent, I arrived at the clearing, the old cabin, and fire tower at the summit.
The enclosed cab at the top of the fire tower is closed, but you can climb up to the top flight of stairs with panoramic 360 degree views.  Here is the view south towards what I believe is Little Moose Pond.
The north view towards Cedar River Flow with Blue Ridge to the right.
The view east/ northeast towards the Siamese Ponds Wilderness.  The Jessup River can be seen winding along in the valley.
A direct view east encompasses much of the Siamese Ponds Wilderness.
The southeast view provides a glimpse of Sacandaga Lake and Lake Pleasant.
The northeast view provides a great view towards Indian Lake and Snowy Mountain to the left.
Little Moose Pond(?) to the south.
The abandoned caretaker cabin from the second flight of steps.
I hung out on the summit by myself for a little while, hoping skies might clear but to no avail.  I retraced my steps back off the mountain, making good time.  Just prior to the parking lot, I came to the Miami River crossing again.
The Miami River is a wild mountain stream, which eventually empties into Lewey Lake to the north.
Climbed steeply up away from the Miami River and back to the parking area. Round trip distance was 3.2 miles.
Clouds and light rain made my decision to go home an easy one.  I stopped by at a quiet spot along Perkins Clearing Road where a large, picturesque beaver swamp sits beside the road.  This area of the Adirondacks has such a remote feeling to it.  I love it.

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