Sunday, November 13, 2011

Hiking - Peaked Hills, Hoffman Notch Wilderness

Yesterday, some friends and I climbed two small summits, the Peaked Hills, west of I-87 in the Hoffman Notch Wilderness Area. We left the parking area, crossed under the Northway though a large culvert/tunnel, and entered the wilderness. We followed an old logging road, then an ax-blazed path, and then another logging road as long as they continued to take us in the right direction. None of these appeared on any maps, so we still needed to pay attention to where we were going, CCW around the loop on the map below.

Finally, we left the road and started the steep thick bushwhack to the northern summit. There was a lot of blowdown, thick spruce, and slippery rock to negotiate, but finally we broke out on the summit rocks. Hoffman Mountain (3704') to the west dominated the view.

We were expecting to see Hoffman close up and not much else, and were really surprised by the fine panorama of the Adirondack High Peaks spread out before us to the north.

Because the direction to the southern peak from here would have dropped us right over a cliff, we descended steeply to the north instead, stopped for lunch in a flat sunny clearing, and then circled the northern peak to continue on to the southern one. There were many fine views along this southern ridge to the south and east. The northern tip of Schroon Lake appears near the center of this shot.

The hazy blue ridges extended off to the distant horizon.

As we descended the southern peak's ridge to navigate back to the original logging road, we got one last view of Pharaoh Mountain (2556') and its cliffs to the east.

Crossing the northern end of a small pond on a soggy floating bog, we eventually rejoined the logging road we'd come in on, and followed it back under I-87 to the car. It was about a 6-mile 2000-foot adventure, with views much better than expected, to a mostly trailless place where people rarely go.

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