September 2, 2016

Mount Gilligan

After hiking Cascade yesterday, I wasn't sure what we'd end up doing today.  Would the boys need a rest day?  Or would they be eager to hike again, like me?  We settled on doing an easier hike today.  Mount Gilligan fit the bill: it has been on my radar for a while as a good kid-friendly little mountain.  It is 2.2 miles roundtrip with 790 feet elevation gain.  The rocky summit ledges have nice views towards Rocky Peak Ridge and the Dix Range.  The gravel lot for the trailhead is on Scriver Road (not Gilligan Road) just east of Route 9.  After parking, walk the bridge across the Bouquet River and follow Scriver Road around the bend to the south.  The trail starts on the left immediately before a home; it is clearly marked with a large sign and can't be missed.

The trail is super charming, very narrow and soft underfoot.  It starts out level, but soon begins climbing, steeply in places.  There are many beautiful white pines.  A rocky ledge offers views after just 0.3 mile.  The trail terminates at a large rocky ledge shy of the true summit.  A clearly visible herd path continues past a large sign announcing "end of marked trail" and enters the woods at the northern end of the ledges.  Once we saw the sign, we found a spot to eat lunch and enjoy the views.

I was curious about the true summit, and eventually peeled off to scout it out.  I followed the dwindling herd path uphill, but found nothing of note.  There is a large forested plateau riddled with old logging roads, with a slight saddle in the middle and few small rock outcrops.  I poked around a bit, continuing northward until the plateau ended and terrain became markedly downhill.  There were no signs or flagging marking the summit, and the high point was not obvious to me, so I made my way back down to the ledge, stepping on all the rocky outcrops along the way.  It is somewhat disturbing to me to climb a mountain and not know where the top is, but at least I know I went there, unremarkable as it was.  When I got back to the ledge, Frankie showed me the ants he was watching while I was gone and we soaked in some more views together, then headed back down.

This turned out to be a great hike for the holiday weekend: we saw just one other party on the entire hike.  And it made me really, really happy to be out there hiking in the Adirondacks for a second day, exploring a new trail I'd long been curious about. 

the first views open up at 0.3 mile up the trail

the true summit is somewhere up here

photo by Erwin

thank you, J. Lawyer!

photo by Erwin

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