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Adirondack Moon Landing -- 7/20/19

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  • Adirondack Moon Landing -- 7/20/19

    Fifty years ago today I was two days shy of my 4th birthday when my parents plunked me down in front of our 19" Zenith color TV in the living room and made me watch the moon landing. It's one of my earliest memories. To commemorate the golden anniversary of that one giant leap for mankind I figured why not cook up a gimmick hike for the occasion and land on a moon in the Adirondacks.

    There are two "moons" inside the blue line. One is Moon Mountain in Warrensburgh but it's entirely on private property. The other is Poke-O-Moonshine Mountain. Eh... close enough so that was the target. Poke-O-Moon also had the closest thing on its summit resembling the ladder on the Apollo lunar module - the steps of the fire tower... a perfect spot for a grainy black & white photo op for that one small step/ giant leap moment.

    Thankfully, the planing and prep for the hike did not take the better part of a decade and the distance of around two miles to the top going up the Ranger Trail was far shy of the 239,000 miles Armstrong, Aldrin, and Collins had to cover on their voyage to the moon. I used about three and a half gallons of gas in my car to get to Poke-O-Moon. NASA used about 5.625 million pounds of fuel in a Saturn V rocket to propel the Apollo astronauts to the moon.

    We chose to go to Poke-O-Moon via the Ranger Trail on Saturday not because it is easy but because it is hard. And because I had been up the Observer's Trail twice in the past so I definitely wanted to check this trail out. The "we" I'm referring to is myself and forum member Learning The Trails. I had the pleasure of meeting and hiking with him on this outing. This mountain is his home turf as he lives nearby and hikes it often. Good dude. We had a nice time chatting the whole day.

    So no special spacesuits were required for this moon landing. And thank god since the temperature when we started at 8:30 a.m. was an already steamy 79* and getting warmer by the minute. The original plan was to launch at 9:32 a.m. - the same exact time Apollo 11 did from Kennedy Space Center back in 1969, but with the high temps forecast we moved up the launch by an hour to beat the heat. If you want to be a stickler for details you might point out that it took four days for the moon shot so our launch should have come on July 16th but I wasn't going to go to that extreme for a half day gimmick hike. And I guess the summit steward was our Michael Collins on this day. She smartly avoided the heat and stayed in the shade just a few feet up the trail rather than making the climb. She waited for us much like Collins waited for Armstrong & Aldrin as we made our Poke-O-Moon landing.

    The ascent was very rugged and rocky. Everywhere we looked were Poke-O-Moon rocks. Alright, they were just your typical Adirondack anorthosite and granitic gneiss but play along. Fun fact... anorthosite is actually very common on the moon. The climb would have been a lot easier in the 1/6 gravity of the moon but there was no way to simulate that on the hike so the 1300 feet of elevation gain in the extreme heat took its toll. We stopped several times for pictures, quick water breaks, and again at the lean-to for a quickie rest and drink before continuing on to the summit just 0.35 miles away.

    Once touching down there I texted Mission Control (my emergency contact back home)... "Houston... Tranquility Base here... the Eagle has landed." Corny? Sure, but you need to play out the gimmick. The only other data transmitted from the mountain were periodic SPOT messages saying that all was OK on the hike. Interesting that I carried more computing power in my cell phone, GPS device, and SPOT than NASA used to get to the moon.

    I planted a miniature American Flag on the summit, but unlike the pioneer spacemen we practiced Leave No Trace principles and took nothing but pictures and brought the flag back down the hill with us.

    It was mostly a quiet summit. There was a large group of women atop the mountain at first but they left quickly then we had the place to ourselves for a long while. Learning The Trails showed me around to some of the interesting things he has found on the summit over the years. I wouldn't have found any of them without him as my tour guide. We went down and around the summit area to get a better look toward Whiteface. That was neat as I hadn't ever ventured down there before. We then climbed the fire tower to enjoy the 360* view. Shortly thereafter we were joined by a young guy who we ended up chatting with about hiking with for the rest of our visit. Small world as he was a recent graduate of my alma mater of Clarkson University. Despite the heat of the day the summit was quite pleasant with a slight breeze and we ended up staying longer than I've ever spent on any summit - one hour and fifty minutes. Wow! Time flies when you're talking hiking. Only one other pair of hikers arrived on the summit during this time.

    We finally said goodbye to our new friend who ascended via the Observer's Trail (a different trailhead a mile from ours) and got moving downhill. Our reentry (descent) back to the parking area was quick and uneventful. No parachutes were needed to slow us down before splashdown. In fact, the only splash on this descent stage was a beer hitting the back of my throat once back at the car. That tasted great in the 93* of the parking area.

    For you conspiracy theorists out there... this moon landing was not faked. And if you still think the actual moon landing was faked every one of those dopey theories has been debunked countless times. Time to accept that we fulfilled the vision of President Kennedy.

    Great day out. Knocked out the other trail on Poke-O-Moon that I hadn't been on before, crossed this peak off a few lists I'm working, and pulled off another gimmick hike which you all know I love. And it was great meeting a fellow forum member in real life and enjoying a quick hike with him. Thanks to Learning The Trails for joining me today. As noted above he's a good dude and a good sport to boot... see evidence of that below...

    Now... what would be a good hike for the 50th anniversary of Woodstock on August 15th?


    Some pics from the day...


    Start here at the launch pad...


    Remains of the observer's cabin...


    The fire tower...


    Notice to hikers on the summit. Not posting because of that though. Look at the guy in the pic. He was on the fire tower too. Have no idea why...


    Looking down the cliffs...


    Hazy day views from Poke-O-Moon...

    Panorama looking southwest toward the High Peaks. RPR & Giant to the left, Whiteface and Esther to the right...


    Panorama looking southeast...


    View east toward Lake Champlain...


    Planting the flag...


    Learning The Trails takes one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind...


  • #2
    You are one of my favorite authors!
    Leave No Trace! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jXO1uY0MvmQ
    ThereAndBack http://www.hikesafe.com/

    Comment


  • #3
    Makwa and LTT: Very funny and creative trip report! Love the b&w pic of LTT. You guys have the right stuff

    Comment


    • #4
      I've said it before and I'll say it again, you really should publish your ADK memoirs. Your writing is the perfect hybrid of John Muir and Patrick F. McManus that the hiking world needs.

      EDIT: there's a ton of plausible Woodstock themed hikes, depending on how abstract you want to get. Satanoni comes to mind right away because of Carlos Santana. Then there was the popularity of Marshall amps. Of course "Mountain" played a set and virtually everyone of their songs in that set could be laced with double entendre. I suspect you'll come up with something fun for that one, and you've got a few days to work with.
      My mind was wandering like the wild geese in the west.

      Comment


      • FlyFishingandBeer
        FlyFishingandBeer commented
        Editing a comment
        Makwa I'm not sure about a Bowser Mountain, but they did play Marie's The Name (aka His Latest Flame) and Jocko Marcellino was their drummer. Joan Baez also performed Joe Hill (Mt. Jo?), and Santana closed out his set with Fried Neckbones and Some Home Fries, which maybe a good breakfast or dinner idea. There's a lot of puns to work with on this one, as you're Going Up The Country (Canned Heat).

      • Makwa
        Makwa commented
        Editing a comment
        You know an alarming amount about Sha-Na-Na. The extent of my knowledge was typing Bowser.

        Yes... there are tons of song title/ lyrics puns to play with. I scribbled down about a dozen last night. Now just have to figure out what to hike that makes sense. I love a gimmick hike but I also hate to force it.

        Does the Noon Mark Diner have Fried Neckbones on their menu?

      • ndru
        ndru commented
        Editing a comment
        ....aaand this is what "enabling" looks like.

    • #5
      This was a fun hike and it was nice meeting Makwa and showing him "around my backyard." Love the trip report as always and not just because I'm in it.

      Idea for the Woodstock hike... I realize FF&B mentioned Mountain... But, wasn't the act going by "Leslie West AND Mountain" at that point... Leslie West... Mountain...
      West Mountain may be an idea.

      I was also trying to see if there's a Catskill peak in the semi immediate vicinity of Yasgur's Farm...

      Comment


      • Makwa
        Makwa commented
        Editing a comment
        Ah... good observation... Leslie West & Mountain. I also came up with The Who playing the complete "Tommy" album... maybe Thomas Mt up in Bolton? And the last song played by Hendrix to close the festival was "Hey Joe" so maybe Mt Jo. Not sure if any of these come together into a cohesive idea but we'll see.

      • FlyFishingandBeer
        FlyFishingandBeer commented
        Editing a comment
        Good catch! You got me on that one.

    • #6
      So this group of women on the peak...would they be “Amazon Women on the Moon”?
      -Joe

      Comment


      • Learning The Trails
        Editing a comment
        More like Basic Women with Champagne.

      • Makwa
        Makwa commented
        Editing a comment
        Whoever they were they were having fun.

      • Learning The Trails
        Editing a comment
        Yes, they were nice and having a good time. I'm just teasing them cuz I carried out their cork. ☺

    • #7
      As you neared the top, I could hear the calls of the astronauts as they neared touchdown....Makwa:”10 seconds to summit....Beep!”
      Makwa: “Houston, the eagle has summited.” Beeeeep!
      Nothing like being in the woods.

      http://www.gerardsadirondackpics.shutterfly.com

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