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  • Black Mountain Fire Tower

    Shirley and I have been trying to stir up some interest within my family with hiking. My brother's families are younger than mine so we wanted to do something the kids would enjoy. Something easy, but not too easy.
    Andy(brother), Kim(sister in law) Shelby(11), Tyler(8) and two friends of ours; Jim and Liz, set out with us from the trailhead for Black Mountain around 10:40. Plan was to go up, have some lunch and come back the same way. We should have enough time to get back home before the New England game. Trail was very easy to follow, with many HPs and side trails. Beginning of the trail is actually a road back to a barn. Road had many mudpits. Once to the barn, we followed the trail to the right and started to head up at a gradual rate. Kids were running ahead and having a ball. Adults did ok until the trail started to get alittle steeper. The pack started to separate with Jim and Liz bringing up the end. Trail wound thru the woods and as we started up the steepest part (maybe moderate at worst point) we could start to see Lake George. We also ran into some ice. The trail then headed back to the east to swing up to the summit. There was our first fire tower. All fenced in, with building materials scattered all over. There's a beautiful view up the lake to the north from the tower base. There's also a view where I could faintly make out some of the High Peaks. We had some lunch, took some photo's and headed down.
    Trip down was nice as it was a nice fall day. All in all, it was a very nice day. Hopefully the kids can get the parents stirred up to come with us again. As for our friends, they're going to work on their conditioning.
    To Shirley and I, just a very nice 5 mile hike in the woods.
    And yes, back home by 4pm for the game!
    Last edited by klip59; 11-06-2007, 03:55 PM.

  • #2
    Good start!

    You will find a lot of fire towers are open for viewing. Keep at it!
    Tom Rankin - 5444W "In the depths of Summer, I finally learned that there lay within me an invincible Winter"

    Proud Member #0003 of ADKHP Foundation
    Volunteer Balsam Lake Mountain
    Past President Catskill 3500 Club
    CEO Views And Brews!

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    • #3
      Sounds like a nice day. I'd like to get up some of those Adirondack fire towers as well!
      "The woods do that to you, they always look familiar, long lost, like the face of a long-dead relative, like an old dream, like a piece of forgotten song drifting across the water, most of all like golden eternities of past childhood or past manhood and all the living and the dying and the heartbreak that went on a million years ago and the clouds as they pass overhead seem to testify (by their own lonesome familiarity) to this feeling."
      - The Dharma Bums

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      • #4
        challange

        You guys should do the "Fire Tower Challange."

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        • #5
          Alex,
          Shirley and I are trying to blend all kinds of hikes together. We've done 25 of the high peaks in the past year. That's been our concentration but not our only endeavor. We've done many of the hikes around the Lake George area too. Just getting out is the important thing. But to answer your question about the fire towers, we did, before the hike, we gave the kids the fire tower list. We talked about it on the way up the trail. We talked about LNT, hiking etiquette and trails in general. When we finished, we filled out the form and talked about other hikes. Couple hikes under their belt, and we may be visiting Cascade next summer with them. As they get hooked, I'm hoping my own children want to also. Having the whole family doing it would be great. But only if they want to, that's important!
          So the fire towers are on our radar. Gives us some hiking in other areas than the High Peaks. I can't wait for our first trip to the Catskills.
          Neither of us has ever skiied or snowshowed. That's something we are going to try this winter. Once we get some technique, some of the fire towers might be something we tackle given some are short and limited verticle gain. I believe in taking babysteps first, so to speak.

          Happy hiking!
          Last edited by klip59; 11-07-2007, 08:30 AM.

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          • #6
            Black is a great mountain, and I am glad you all had a nice time. I get to do this hike once a week during the summer as it is the most popular one we lead. We usually approach from the Lake. If you have a chance to do that, I recommend it. The vertical gain rivals a few of the High Peaks. Also nice is the loop over the summit and around the ponds. The entire region has some great short backpacking trips, and outside of some day traffic on summits, you typically have the place to yourself.
            Be safe --- Respect the Earth --- Have fun --- Joe H.

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            • #7
              Joe, Thanks, will have to figure a way to get to Black Mt point. And yes, the loop is something in our plans.
              We did the Cat Mountain Hike a few weeks ago. When we summited there were 32 people there, some sort of reunion. Our previous visit there in the spring saw no one. When we left, more were arriving.

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              • #8
                I was going to post a new thread, but since there is already one here, I'll just add my trip report

                Black Mountain 11/10/2007:

                Since we had to be in Lake George for the winter hut training on Saturday Nicole and I decided to make use of the trip to the Adirondacks and get some hiking in. We left Syracuse at around 6:15 to arrive at the ADK HQ at 9 for training. We finished and were at the Black Mountain trailhead by 12:30. We began the climb up the dirt road and quickly passed the old farm. The road was quite muddy with patches of ice and I was quickly questioning my decision to not bring stablilicers.

                After passing the farm we arrived at the trail junction and took the direct route up the mountain. A while after the fork we got our first view of the tower. We continued on the woods roads (sparse trail markers, but just trust your intuition, all junctions are well marked). After a while the trail finally started climbing, We briefly lost the trail when we couldn't tell if we were in a trail or a stream (the stream is the trail, you can follow the snowmobile marker). After a short but steep climb we reached what I call a "false sky" where you start seeing sky on the horizon so you think you're getting to the top, but you're just gaining a ridge (not even a false summit).

                From there it's another short climb to where it plateaus, the tower is on the summit which is on top of a steep ledge that the trail circles around. After a little while longer we arrived at the summit ledges with the ruins of a cabin and the tower, we took some pictures and then began our climb down. Despite the fact that there was a good amount of ice on the way up there was much less on the way back down (the side in the sun). Not having stabilicers did prevent us from hiking safely, but I will be carrying them from now on.

                For a nice change of pace we actually did this as a loop hike instead of an out and back. It was definitely the right choice for this mountain. The trail down the other side had a half dozen great lookout points that really made the descent enjoyable. At the base of the mountain we hit the trail junction and began our hike out. We passed a few ponds and leantos on the way out that made the somewhat level hike to the car far more interesting. This section of trail was well marked and well maintained. We were back at the car by 4:30 (which was weird because we were hiking quite fast, but then I realized how many picture breaks we took near the summit). At the trailhead we got in the car and headed back to Syracuse.

                We were lucky to have another great day of hiking this year, the temperature was right around freezing near the summit and in the high 30's low 40's range at the base. The bluebird skies made it even more enjoyable.
                Last edited by bignslow; 11-12-2007, 10:10 AM.
                Warning: BigNSlow may not actually be all that slow

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                • #9
                  Glad you had a great day. It sure is a good one - that loop.
                  Be safe --- Respect the Earth --- Have fun --- Joe H.

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                  • #10
                    One of our favorite "local" loops! I believe the "farm" you mentioned is a hunting lodge, but not sure. The "trail" to that point is really a road, and is always muddy/soggy. The first part of the trail (after the turn-off) has been rerouted over the years. Summit views are best just before the top, near the remains of the old building, but even nicer are the views on the "back side" of the loop, as you mentioned. By "ruins of the tower" I assume you mean the windmill? That used to make an eerie sound at night, heard for miles! I assume the main tower (fire tower plus communication tower, fenced in) is still standing? In addition to Black Mountain Ponds (which you passed on your way out), Lapland, and Millman Ponds are great destinations in and of themselves, short and easy to get to. Also Greenland Pond and lean-to (almost never used; sometimes sketchy trail). If desired, one could go on to Fishbrook pond (nicest lean-to is southern one; heavily used area unfortunately, but beautiful) and on to Bump Pond, with a side trip to Sleeping Beauty Mt. If you've spotted a car, you could exit via the Hogtown lot.

                    Dick
                    "Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you and the storms their energy, while care will drop off like autumn leaves." John Muir

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Dick View Post
                      By "ruins of the tower" I assume you mean the windmill?
                      I mean to say ruins by the tower, It looks like they had chopped up a cabin with a chainsaw or sawzall into 2'x2' pieces for disposal at a later date. The firetower is still standing fine.
                      Warning: BigNSlow may not actually be all that slow

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                      • #12
                        hike photo's
                        http://good-times.webshots.com/photo...01525052OdTBmO

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                        • #13
                          Nice story, I love the way you are getting the younger people involved. I love to see children out hiking; especially girls. When we were hiking Algonquin last weekend we had about 3 groups of boys adventure groups pass us, but not a single group of girls. Where are the girls?? In my experience I find that there are never very many women on the more difficult trips; especially winter backpack trips. I think if girls get introduced to the outdoors at a young age they have a better chance of continuing that adventure into adulthood. Guess that is why I like hiking with BillandJudy so much, Judy....I am thankful for my men hiking friends/friends, but they just don't chat it up like the gals do.

                          Keep up the good work, your approach is great!!

                          Happy Trails - Cindy
                          Snickers
                          I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.
                          -Maya Angelou

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                          • #14
                            Great pictures! Thanks for sharing.
                            Be safe --- Respect the Earth --- Have fun --- Joe H.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Snickers View Post
                              Where are the girls?? In my experience I find that there are never very many women on the more difficult trips; especially winter backpack trips. I think if girls get introduced to the outdoors at a young age they have a better chance of continuing that adventure into adulthood.
                              FWIW, 7 of 15 W46'ers last season were women.
                              Tom Rankin - 5444W "In the depths of Summer, I finally learned that there lay within me an invincible Winter"

                              Proud Member #0003 of ADKHP Foundation
                              Volunteer Balsam Lake Mountain
                              Past President Catskill 3500 Club
                              CEO Views And Brews!

                              Comment

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