Sunday, October 23, 2011

Hiking - Trail maintenance and a couple of small mountains

This weekend, there was an informal gathering of Northville-Lake Placid trail stewards at the historic Adirondack Hotel in Long Lake. We'd be meeting for dinner on Saturday evening. And since we'd postponed our October 15th trail steward trip because of weather, we rescheduled it for Friday October 21, the day before the gathering, and booked two nights at the hotel. It was good that we did reschedule, since friends Mary and John were available and eager to give us a hand on what turned out to be a pretty tough day, much more so than usual. The trail was extremely wet and muddy after recent rains, and many (MANY!) drainages were clogged with downed leaves. There was much work to be done, but our crew rose to the occasion and left the trail in better shape than we'd found it. Many thinks to Mary and John for all of their help!

We crashed early after dinner Friday night, and then got in a couple of short hikes on a fairly dreary Saturday. We went first to Mount Arab, one of the fire tower peaks included in the ADK Fire Tower Challenge. We had previously completed enough of these mountains to achieve the patch award, but there still remain a few of the others we haven't climbed. Mount Arab was one, and Saturday was the day. It's only about a mile to the summit and its tower, and the views were good enough to warrant a return trip on a better day. Unfortunately, my camera batteries died, and I have only this one misty shot of Eagle Crag Pond far below.

After Arab, and with new camera batteries, we drove east a short distance and climbed little Panther Mountain, just south of the junction of NY-30 and NY-3 north of Corey's. This one was only about a half-mile each way, and again, it demands a return trip. The High Peaks were not visible this day, aside from occasional glimpses of Emmons and Donaldson in the nearby Seward Range. And Blue Mountain to the south had its head in the clouds. On a good day, the effort/reward ratio would be outstanding. It was a steep but short and rewarding hike, and we'll be back here again, also on a better day.

Returning to the hotel, we got cleaned up and joined the gathering downstairs for dinner. There's a lot happening right now with the Northville-Lake Placid Trail, including its new web site and ADK chapter, and it was interesting to get together and share stories among fellow trail stewards.

Sunday saw us on the road early headed for home, with other commitments to keep. It was a good weekend, with less rain that we'd expected, and a lot of quality time spent with friends, old and new.

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