September 12, 2018

FLT/NCT: Daisy Hollow Road to Hilsinger Road

On my last hike on the Finger Lakes Trail (FLT) in Kennedy State Forest, I turned around when I reached Hilsinger Road.  It was immediately apparent that this "road" would be impassible in my car, so I knew I'd have to drive up to the crossing further west and hike back.  That's what I did today.  I parked on Daisy Hollow Road, walked north for a half mile road walk, entered the woods and followed the trail east to Hilsinger Road, then retraced my steps the way I came. 

September 10, 2018

NCT: Cowles Settlement Road to Skyline Lodge

It has been delightfully cool all weekend -- pants weather, long sleeves even.  It feels so good!  Such a relief after the oppressive heat and humidity.  The forecast shows that this nice weather won't last, though, so Frankie and I headed out for a hike on the North Country National Scenic Trail (NCT).  Get it while the getting it is good!  To keep our drive time low, we went to one of the closer sections, which passes through Highland Forest County Park.  I hiked this section in 2016, as part of a two car traverse across the entire park with Erwin.  With just one car today, I opted to park at Cowles Settlement Road, and hike east, using the Skyline Lodge as our turnaround point.  Frankie was excited to revisit the lodge, where we lunched during our cross-country skiing adventures this past winter.

September 3, 2018

Mount Arab Fire Tower

Today was the last day of our end-of-summer Adirondack adventure, and would be mostly allocated toward getting home: school is starting back up this week.  We had breakfast, then packed up and loaded the car, departing Keene just before our 11 am check out time.  Frankie and I made plans to stop during the drive home for one last short hike: after being thwarted last month at Goodnow, we really wanted to climb a fire tower.  It has been way too long!  By taking a different, slightly longer route home, we would drive quite close to the trailhead for Mount Arab.  It was a perfect fit!  Erwin had driven up separately, and even though he had decided to drive home the same way on Route 3, he declined to join us for the hike.  I think after Catamount, he felt like he'd had enough mountains for a while. 

September 1, 2018

Catamount Mountain

Catamount has been on my radar for a while, but we hadn't gotten to it before.  There are just so many hikes I long to do in the Adirondacks!  Anyway, I'm super glad we made it out there today -- it's such a fun climb.  This trail is located well north of the main part of the high peaks, north of Whiteface even, so it apparently sees less traffic than the busiest areas along the Route 73 corridor.  However, I noticed a sign at the Garden encouraging hikers to try different trails aside from the 46 high peaks (we have always done this) and Catamount was specifically mentioned as a good alternative.  If people listen, it may not stay an off-the-beaten-path destination for long.  We stayed up late last night, and got a slow start this morning, so it was almost 1 pm when we arrived at the parking lot.  Between our late arrival and it being a holiday weekend, the small lot was filled to capacity.  There were a few cars parked along the shoulder, so I joined the line up.  There were no signs prohibiting this and no traffic on the wide road, so it seemed low risk.  Off we went...

August 30, 2018

Saddleback Mountain via Johns Brook Lodge

4,515 feet  |  ranked 17/46 in height  |  32nd peak climbed 

I have long been curious about Johns Brook Lodge (JBL), the backcounty hut run by the Adirondack Mountain Club.  I thought I might walk by it last summer when I hiked the Gothics-Armstrong-Upper Wolfjaw loop from the Garden, but I turned left by the second register and passed by the rangers cabin instead.  After hearing a favorable report from friends who stayed there with kids, I told Frankie about it and asked if he wanted to go.  Of course he did!  Erwin was less enthusiastic; he was deterred by the prospect of shared sleeping quarters and no showers.  However, he said he didn't mind if Frankie and I went for a few nights - he would meet us in Keene for some shared adventures afterwards.  So I booked Frankie and I for two nights, with the rough plan of driving up and hiking into JBL on Wednesday, hiking a high peak on Thursday, then hiking back out to meet Erwin on Friday.

August 19, 2018

Lick Brook Figure Eight Loop

A friend told me about Lick Brook after she and her family hiked there this spring.  They are big hikers, and like me, are chipping away at the Adirondack High Peaks and the Finger Lakes Trail (FLT), so the recommendation definitely carried some weight.  I looked it up online and knew Erwin would be interested as well; waterfall hikes are his absolute favorite.  We were both surprised to hear of this hidden treasure, as Ithaca is well known for it's waterfalls (Ithaca is gorges) and we've hiked all the state parks down there, multiple times.  Lick Brook is literally right in the thick of it: it is located between Robert Treman State Park and Buttermilk Falls State Park.  In fact, it is possible to hike between those two state parks, by passing right through Lick Brook Gorge.  And part of the trail system through Lick Brook Gorge is the FLT, which carries the North Country National Scenic Trail (NCT).  As a huge fan of these long-distance trails, this was just an added bonus.

August 15, 2018

Monument Mountain

Erwin's family moved to Pittsfield, Massachusetts when he was middle-school aged, and he lived in the Berkshires for several years after high school, as well.  These were formative years, and he still adores the region, getting all swoony whenever we drive through the area.  Monument Mountain was "his mountain," the one he climbed 30 or 40 times, in all seasons, in all conditions.  I have heard many, many stories about this place.  When I looked it up and realized it was only a 3 hour drive, and that it's a fairly short trail to the top, I decided we should make a day trip there and see what it's all about.  Erwin could play tour guide and show us his mountain.