Sunday, June 14, 2009

Hiking - Round and Noonmark Mountains

Today I joined a Schenectady ADK trip to Round and Noonmark Mountains, near Keene Valley, NY. It was a beautiful sunny morning with temps around 60F, but very humid from the overnight rains. We first went up the S. Burns Weston Trail to Round, about 1800' above the parking area. It was a steep climb of 2.3 miles, with excellent views along the way. This shot is of Giant Mountain and its slides, just to the east.

By the time we reached the summit, we were all dripping wet from the humidity, so we lingered a while to dry out. The views from Round are almost 360 degrees, and we took many pictures before continuing on. That's Noonmark, our next destination, in the immediate foreground.

As we left Round and continued on to Noonmark, we dropped steeply about 900' to the col between them. Along the way, we saw many pink ladyslippers in bloom.

Reaching the junction with the Dix trail, we started up to Noonmark, climbing steeply about 1200' in the next mile. We started noticing the first blackflies of the day, around noon as the day warmed up. We paused for lunch on the buggy summit, and took many more pictures. The entire Great Range was laid out before us, and Dix was especially prominent with its slides.

Far below us was the Ausable Club and golf course. In our younger years, Holly and I had twice backpacked up here, spent the night, and watched their 4th of July fireworks from above.

There was now rain falling visibly in the distance, heading south down the valley toward us from the Whiteface area to the north, so we started down. The first sections were very steep, and there were many more views from the open rocks, but we hurried to get off of this steep section before the rains came. Just as we reached the woods came the first of several sharp thunderclaps, followed by rain. It was mostly showery and wet after the first deluge passed, and we had a wet slippery descent. The rain stopped as we reached the Ausable Club Road, after 6.7 miles and 3100+ feet of climbing. It was a tough day.

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