July 25, 2015

Jones Hill Via Spruce Pond

When I suggested a hike this weekend, Frankie was delightfully enthusiastic.  However, he had an unusual condition: he insisted we go somewhere new.  I suggested driving 2 hours to hike a fire tower in the Adirondack foothills, but he rejected the long drive, leaving me scrambling.  I had to think pretty hard before I finally came up with a couple of ideas.  [We hike much more than I record here, and he's already been to most of the places reasonably close by.  I've considered adding a monthly roundup of hikes that don't get a full length feature, but I just haven't got around to it.] 

This spring, we hiked up to the hang glider launch pad on Jones Hill via Tinker Falls, but Frankie hadn't taken the Spruce Pond route before.  It is an out and back hike that follows a section of marked trail that is part of both the North Country National Scenic Trail and the Finger Lakes Trail.  Round trip the hike is about 3.1 miles, with roughly 625 feet elevation gain.  When I dangled the option to blow bubbles at the viewpoint again, he took the bait and agreed to the idea.  Yes! 

The trail starts by skirting around Spruce Pond, then climbs steeply.  It passes though beautiful forests and ferny glades, and crosses a couple nice streams.  There were a few too many mosquitoes and deerflies, but we were prepared with long sleeves and pants despite the heat and humidity.  We hit a patch of the whines on the way out (oddly not in the steeps), and I twice gave Frankie the option to turn around, but he quite decidedly declined.

We spent nearly two hours up on Jones Hill, snacking, blowing bubbles and soaking up the views.  The breeze up there made both the bugs and heat more bearable.  It sprinkled a bit, and I put the camera away, but it never actually rained.  The hike there had felt rolling, and I was a little worried that the ups on the way back would be challenging, but I ratcheted up the silly and we were back at the car in no time, changing into shorts and sandals for the drive home.  It was a great day!     

Spruce Pond
Crossing the berm at the south end of Spruce Pond
North Country National Scenic Trail Kiosk

Looking back as the trail turns away from the pond and starts the ridge climb
The trail blazes are blue
One of the many baby toads (Bufo americanus) we saw along the trail


Another Busytown figurine: Sally. 



After getting a painful bite on his forehead and seeing another hiker wearing one, Frankie was excited to try his headnet
Clambering over an obstacle

Throwing rocks in a stream




Indian pipe (Monotropa uniflora) flowers





More Indian pipes
Beans and carrots on Jones Hill

Labrador Pond
Blowing bubbles







Back at Spruce Pond in sight of the car