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Ten-Year Adirondack Hiking Anniversary -- 7/9/19

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  • Ten-Year Adirondack Hiking Anniversary -- 7/9/19

    Ten years ago I hadn't ever set foot on a hiking trail in the Adirondacks. Up to that point in my life the idea had never really appealed to me. Then just a few weeks before my 44th birthday, on July 9, 2009, I climbed Prospect Mountain in Lake George. Like most newbies, I had no clue what I was doing. My gear was crap. My shoes were crap. My clothes were uncomfortable. My map was inadequate. I carried stuff that no hiker could possibly need. But I learned quickly. Within a few weeks I had knocked out another handful of mountains around LG. I was hooked. Since then I became a 46er, have climbed over 160 different mountains, and have hiked all over the Adirondacks. Yesterday, a decade to the day since that first hike, I would reprise my ascent of Prospect to celebrate my ten-year Adirondack hiking anniversary. Or should we call it a hike-iversary? I'm open to suggestions.

    For the trade route up Prospect you start on Smith Street in Lake George Village and need to cross the bridge over the Northway to get to the trail. A unique start but once on the trail it's like any other Adirondack hike and replete with natural beauty. The trail and the mountain have not changed much since I first set foot on it. Just after the register I ran into three guys running downhill with weighted vests on; the third in line being an old friend who was training with his buddies for the Spartan Race at Killington in September. We caught up briefly then he went to catch up with his training partners. Oh... and the encounter marked the first bro hug I've shared while hiking. On the upper third of the trail I heard the drumming of a woodpecker close by. I stopped and searched then saw it in a tree about thirty feet away - a pileated woodpecker. Lighting was such that I could only make out the silhouette. For the hundreds of times I've heard woodpeckers while hiking I had never seen one from that close.

    I've been up Prospect a half dozen times over the years and always had a good time people watching there but on this day I would be the only person on the summit. Well... unpaid person. I started well before the toll road opened to the vehicular masses and tourists so that I might enjoy the day quietly. The unfortunate outcome of this plan was that the peace & quiet I was seeking by heading up early was ruined by the maintenance crew mowing the lawn of the summit area. Uggggh!!! They got there early to beat the tourists too! It was still nice to be there kind-sorta-alone but the constant buzz of the lawnmower was a tad bit annoying.

    Made some intriguing finds as well. First were some gigantic eye blots around the summit area I hadn't noticed in the past. Curious as to their former function. Also discovered that one of the survey markers just feet from the high point has been defaced (perhaps stolen?) since my last visit. And some dipwad named Danielle scratched her name in the historical display about the Prospect Mountain House. Lastly, on my descent I found a rusted railroad spike right in the middle of the trail. I assume it was used on the cable railway that once ran up the mountain. How it found its way into the middle of the trail was strange but it was clearly very old.

    Leading up to this hike was also entertaining for me. Looking at the pictures from my first hike in '09 gave me quite a chuckle. And as you know I always enjoy a good gimmick hike so I've been looking forward to this day for a while. Happily, the weather cooperated. I also managed to pack in some extra activities around the hike. I actually started the day before dawn. I drove to Lake George Village very early, sat in an Adirondack chair at the southern tip of the lake and watched the sun rise over the mountains to the east. As I waited I saw some mallards walking and swimming about as well as a great blue heron patrolling the sky near the docks. And once finished with the hike and cleaned up I took a ride on the Minne-Ha-Ha for the first time in over thirty years. That was fun and relaxing with the boat barely one-third full.

    So... a great day out and ten years of great fun and hiking in the Adirondacks are behind me. Will start on the next ten over the coming weekend. And later this month I will be visiting Cascade & Porter on the ten-year anniversary, scratch that... hike-iversary of climbing my first High Peak.


    Some pics from the day...

    Looking north up Lake George ten minutes after sunrise. The sun will not peek over the mountains for twenty more minutes...


    This wonderful wooden carving of Robert Rogers (of Rogers Rangers) and Native Americans allied to the British during the French & Indian War on a scouting mission sits at the southern end of the lake. Pic predawn in silhouette almost transports you back in time. Same carving in better light below that...


    Start of footpath to Prospect at the end of Montcalm Street. Secluded parking at the bottom of the staircase to the footbridge is just a block up on Smith Street...


    As I was crossing the bridge over the Northway I noticed something I hadn't seen there before. There were about a dozen padlocks secured randomly to the fencing here and there. Some were old and rusted but others were newer. I wonder if this bridge/fence is slowly becoming the Adirondacks' version of the Pont des Arts bridge in Paris? That famous bridge had nearly a million "love locks" left behind by couples as a romantic gesture. There were so many that a section of the bridge collapsed under the weight of the locks, prompting officials to remove them all a few years ago. Anyway, maybe I'll stop back in a few months and see if any more have been added...


    Defaced survey marker. Before (2018) and after (2019)...


    The giant eye bolts (with my foot to provide scale) and the railroad spike...


    Views from Prospect...

    Looking east at Lake George Village and southern tip of lake...


    Looking northeast up Lake George (right) with High Peaks off in the distance (left)...


    Prospect (center) from lake level...


    Mountains on east side of Lake George. Looking north from a point approximately three miles north of the village... Pilot Knob and Buck to the right. Sleeping Beauty, Erebus, and Shelving Rock in the center. And a straight on shot of the Tongue Mountain Range left of center between those two small islands...



  • #2
    Those are serious eye-bolts. Must have been to support a tower of some sort at some time.

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    • Makwa
      Makwa commented
      Editing a comment
      In addition to the structures I've mentioned above there was also a steel fire tower on the summit decades ago. I have never seen eye bolts that big for a fire tower though.

  • #3
    Great pics. Thanks! Prospect is a favorite. For years when we lived in Glens Falls, Prospect was our evening workout (sometimes 2-3 times a week). Probably been up a couple hundred times.

    In the eighties and nineties, we had a group of folks that would race for a time. Start was at the small round clearing on the left, just after you cross the metal bridge and enter the woods. We would finish where the trail hits the road at the top (we didn't want to run through the "developed area" to the actual summit). VERY anaerobic, but fun!

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