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Jay Mountain & Flume Knob - 7/10/21

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  • Jay Mountain & Flume Knob - 7/10/21

    I’ve been looking forward to hiking Jay Mt. ever since I heard James Appleton’s podcast about it, nearly two years ago. I knew it needed to be done on a clear day, and stars aligned themselves for a planned hike yesterday. Once again FF&B joined me for a day in the ADK.

    The day started, with the usual waking up way too early for normal people, and we arrived at the trailhead for an 8am start. Temps were in the 50’s and we were feeling great. After signing in at the kiosk, the trail parallels and then crosses a beautiful old stone wall, then continues moderately along a soft dirt trail. As one gains elevation, you see a noticeable change in the foliage. We passed the time having the most interesting conversations. After about two miles, you reach the first lookout. Let me just say it now; this trail is chock full of amazing views! From this first lookout to the final summit, you are in and out of woods, hiking along bare rocky ridges, dipping down into small cols and climbing back up, only to burst out onto another open rocky area with more and more amazing views. Upon reaching the final summit, we caught up with the only other hiker on the mountain. We scrambled around with her, trying to figure the true summit, but none of us ever found a survey marker. She soon left, and we sat and enjoyed a lunch consisting of cold pizza, chicken tenders with honey mustard, sweet grapes and a Greek yogurt smoothie. (Yes, I packed a bottle of honey mustard .)
    On our way back down we encountered at least a dozen other hikers and several k-9 hikers. I mentioned that it wasn’t surprising, as this trail is on the ADK-9 challenge. We had spent a good amount of time enjoying the ridge and summit, so we started hustling down the trail after passing the first lookout. **To the guy who seemed to be offended by our pace for some reason, get over yourself. You only hiked to the first lookout and were already heading down and we still had another trail to get to.** Sorry, just had to get that off my chest.
    We were back to the car by 2p, and made the quick drive to the Flume Trails parking area. It had warmed up considerably, we were both tired and sore, and tbh, may not have been drinking enough water. We psyched ourselves up for this last short albeit steep trail, I pounded a Monster energy drink and we set off. The first half of this trail is flat and easy, except this is where the deer flies were hanging around. The second half is more difficult, but we plodded along, slow and steady. At one point I stopped because a large doe was about 40 yards up the trail, crossing perpendicular to us. FF&B started grunting like a buck and peeing on himself and scraping his head on a small nearby tree. This didn’t impress her but she finally reacted by moving away when she heard the velcro of my cargo pocket, as I tried to get my phone and get a picture of her. We soon made it to Flume Knob, which is a large rock that we rested on, admiring the view to the east. We were happy to be done ascending, and returned to the car uneventfully. We did reward ourselves with some time in the west branch of the Ausable River. We sat on rocks soaking our lower bodies in the cool water, watching teenagers jumping off of high ledges into the deep pool.
    We had a delicious dinner at the Pickled Pig in LP, an aperitif at BSB, and we were home about midnight.
    it was a full and glorious day! We both agreed that Jay easily made our top ten of favorite ADK hikes, maybe even top 5.
    This trip set me up for my triple finish on Catamount next week!
    ADK Blue - 9/10
    LP9 - 8/9
    ADK29’er - 28/29

  • #2
    NBFS perfectly summed up the day.

    I relearned a lesson for the hundredth time on Jay... even if you're feeling great, take a few sips of water anyway. When we got to the Flume Knob TH and went to top off our bladders I realized that I had only drank about a 1/2 liter the whole time we were on Jay. This would have been fine if the day had only consisted of Jay, but it didn't. It also included that steep b4stard of a hike up to Flume Knob on a hot day. I struggled pretty badly for the last .7 of that ascent (so almost half of it). I don't know what it is about hitting multiple trailheads but its somehow harder to do multiple short hikes than one long one. I have zero doubts that if the ascent up Jay had been 2 miles longer it would have been no trouble at all. Getting back into my car, driving for 15 minutes, and starting a new hike all over again crushed me.

    Jay mountain is gorgeous. The trail is in great shape, the ever-varying surface on the ridge is fascinating, and the option to scramble constantly, or not, was a really fun 'choose your own adventure' way of crossing the ridge. I can definitely see myself revisiting this peak a few more times.

    Flume knob was utterly underwhelming given what we'd just experienced on Jay, and IMO barely worth the ~900 feet of gain for the less than 3/4 mile where the trail actually ascends. For perspective, this trail has nearly identical vertical gain as the Mt. Marcy trail up the Feldspar, and its 1/3 mile shorter and offers the same non-views along the way.
    My mind was wandering like the wild geese in the west.


    • Makwa
      Makwa commented
      Editing a comment
      I believe you've just articulated something I've tried to describe in about 20 different trip reports I've written but never could quite say the right way and thus deleted. It's not easy to explain why a simple hike like Flume Knob is difficult. Everybody understands that it came after another hike but until you've done it, or experienced the difficulty firsthand, you really can't fully grasp the feeling. I think part of it is cooling down and the rest is your brain shutting off any desire to climb after you've descended entirely off one mountain, leave the area entirely, and attempt to start up another miles away. It's one thing to be on a ridgeline and drop 800' or 1000' feet into a col two or three times in a day but it feels totally different to descend 2000+ feet, then jumping in a car and driving to another trailhead, then starting from scratch at the bottom of another peak. If you cannot turn that switch back on summoning the desire to climb the 2nd or 3rd or 4th peak of the day the hike is miserable even if it's a small climb. I've had it happen a bunch of times but I always push through so I don't orphan some tiny hike that I don't want to have to return for another time. But I'm still surprised every time when I'm laboring up some easy hill.

    • FlyFishingandBeer
      FlyFishingandBeer commented
      Editing a comment
      Makwa Up until this year all of my hiking in the ADK, with the exception of backpacking trips, has involved single objective hiking. While a hike may have consisted of multiple peaks, tagging those peaks was that day's singular goal. Other than tossing around the idea of a SL ultra, I had never considered completing a hike, driving to another TH and starting a whole new objective. There's definitely something mentally exhausting about it that manifests itself as physical exhaustion. As Not_Built_For_Speed said below, its something to get used to.

  • #3
    I’ve done that kind of hiking quite a bit in ‘20 and ‘21. Maybe I’m just more used to it (mentally).

    I laughed way too hard at one of FF&B’s jokes yesterday. After we saw the doe, we were commenting on how big she was. Oh yeah, this was on our descent, when we were in a better mood. He mentioned the deer in his neighborhood were downright thicc. “If they were any fatter, they’d be twerking in a club.”
    I was dying!


    • FlyFishingandBeer
      FlyFishingandBeer commented
      Editing a comment
      Ha! Well the deer that roam around my neighborhood and get into people's gardens usually look more like pot bellied pigs than deer by autumn. Winter kill isn't an issue for them at all, and they know it.