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Loon Lake the Last Tower

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  • Loon Lake the Last Tower


    The Last Tower Loon Lake 07-10-21


    This was my only chanced to complete this tower. It was now or never. I spent the last two weeks working on my knee to get ready for this hike. I was going, regardless. I woke up at 5am. Got dressed and ate my breakfast. I was in no rush. I had the entire day. I stepped outside onto the deck of Tmax and Topo's to get a breath of air. I put my hands on the railing and stared out at Scott's Cobble. The sun was just coming up. I wondered how the day was going to turn out. whichever way it was going to go, I was ready and looking forward to it. I loaded the car, lit a cigar and drove off. Little did I know, this would not be a simple hike...things took a familiar turn.


    Using my GPS, I plotted my course to the mountain, but somehow, I missed the turn and went off course. I wound up at Route 30, near Paul Smiths. Checking my map, I was off by about 20 minutes. I had to laugh. Good way to start off the day. I got back on Route 3 and was at the Loon Lake parking area about 8:30am. I parked and slowly walked around, testing my knee. It was stiff, but I could walk on it. I geared up and disappeared into the trees. I signed in at 8:50am and began the hike. The trail was narrow, but soon opened up into a wide, well used road. Somehow, I missed the well marked trail to the summit on my left. Lost in my thoughts, I continued on for 1.7 miles, until I came to a posted gate. I turned around to walk back and find the trail, when I heard an engine rev up behind me. The caretaker of the property, a guy named Randy and his Beagel, offered me a ride to the trail. If not for him, I would have had to hike another 1.2 miles to the trailhead. I might have missed it again and walked back to the register. Who knows? Lucky for me, I was back on track, but time had been lost. It was just after 10am.


    The trail was, again, narrow. I was not on it long, when I broke out onto another gravel road. I walked about a mile in sunshine. At around 10:28am, the road curved to the left and rose. Just ahead, Loon Lake Mountain jutted up and you could see the tower, clear as day perched right on top. For a brief moment, I thought this was going to be a piece of cake. That was going to change.


    10:43am: I did not miss this trail marker that pointed to the left of the road.I grabbed a bite of some Maple syrup waffle that I bought at the Mountaineer. Gulped some water and plunged into the deeply shaded woods. I met two guys who were coming down the road from the tower. They told me the trail was pretty easy, until the big up began and it was very wet and slippery.



    11:09am: I cross the first of three bridges, I nicknamed Rhon, Eindhoven, and Arnhem. Later, on the way back, I would take some water from a small pool above Rhon and get a refreshing jolt. Nothing like splashing cool mountain on your face. Its the best feeling.



    11:25am: A woman, Bertie and her daughter, Tess, pass me. They congratulate me on my last tower and will se me at the top. I'm thinking I must be near the summit. The trail has me thinking it's not so bad as folks had written. I was to learn a hard lesson. As it gets steeper, I'm still believing the summit is just ahead. It's not.



    12:05pm: no summit in sight. After talking with some folks, coming down, I have some ways to go. I have not hit the boulder field, yet. After Arnhem, the trail began its climb. It had not sunk in,yet that I has some real work to do.


    12:20pm: I hit the boulders. I have a few hundred feet to go, and man, does it get booku rough.


    12:33pm: Reality finally set in. I take another reading on my GAIA and realize, I still have about 300 feet to go. I was only 733 feet in at 12:20pm. Yeah. surprise! I break out some Honey Stinger gummy chews, I also picked up at the Mountaineer and chow down. Its time to hoof it. I do not make another video journal, until I reach the top. From here on then, I make a slow, but steady climb up. One boulder at a time. Mud and wet spots all over the place. It was also, steamy. I should have brought 3 liters of water. I only took two. I had to conserve the first bottle for the trip down.



    1:04pm: I reach the top! I break through the trees and the tower is right there. I touch the tower and thank God for helping me through the hike. Bertie and Tess are there, followed by John and Jeff, who passed me earlier. They said they would wait for me at the top. I joked, quotI hope I don't get up there by dinner time.quot We high five and I break out lunch. Tuna salad and crackers. I did not bring beer, or whiskey. I never really thought about it. All I had on my mind was getting up there. With my record of bail outs, I did not want to jinx anything. It was nice to have people waiting for me. We joked and talked for some time, before they all left. I was alone at the summit with my thoughts. I made it. I stared out at the distance and thought about this being my last hike in a long time.








    Nothing like being in the woods.

    http://www.gerardsadirondackpics.shutterfly.com

  • #2
    Congrats on a job well done! Great report!
    From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

    Comment


    • #3
      Congratulations! It’s been enjoying reading your reports!



      Whats next?
      "That sounds like a terrible idea.... What time?"

      Comment


      • Gerard01
        Gerard01 commented
        Editing a comment
        Have not decided. Some things came up and I might not be back, this year.

    • #4
      https://gerardsadirondackpics.shutte.../pictures/5231
      Nothing like being in the woods.

      http://www.gerardsadirondackpics.shutterfly.com

      Comment


      • #5
        Congratulations. And you had good weather and views. When I climbed it I didn’t get any views.
        Don

        Comment


        • #6
          Congrats on the Fire Tower Challenge finish! Well done.

          If I might suggest a next challenge for you... why not try the Adirondack Quest. You are likely halfway home on this one already. As a pick your own adventure challenge you can tailor it to your strengths and do hikes you want to do rather than some prescribed list. And since there's no requirements of ever having to tag a summit you never have an abort ruin your day or have that added pressure that surrounds peak bagging challenges. It's a very relaxed challenge. Takes a while to finish but it's so worth it.


          Comment


          • Makwa
            Makwa commented
            Editing a comment
            It's a multi-year kinda project for sure. Was just figuring something like this would be good for you. I sense you put a lot of pressure on yourself for these hikes and the ADK Quest takes all that away. Any hike, of any length, for any amount amount of time counts and you could enjoy yourself rather than worrying about the outcome. Concentrate on the process instead.

          • Gerard01
            Gerard01 commented
            Editing a comment
            I’ll certainly consider it, when I come back up. Thanks, for the suggestion. My mother broke her hip down in Florida, and I’m going to have to care for her. Combined with no more four day weekends, I’ll be sidelined for quite a long time. I hope to be back before Fall, but I’m guessing it could be a couple of years before I lace up my hiking boots. She won’t allow attendants to care for her, only myself. It was a great run, while it lasted. I look forward to reading all of my fellow hikers exploits. I can still dream of hiking the mountains and look over my pics. I might just create a photo album on Shutterfly.

          • Makwa
            Makwa commented
            Editing a comment
            Oh, that's too bad. Hope she heals up quickly. You're a good son for looking after her.

            Don't get too down. Use the time off to get your knee back to full strength and get yourself into tip top shape for a big return to the ADKs. Start today. Don't wait until a month or two before you think you'll be back. Six months or a year of working out toward some goal can accomplish wonders. Use your time constructively. And don't hesitate to ask questions or ask for help toward your fitness goals here. We're all rooting for you and willing to assist where we can. Good luck G-Man. Hope to see you back soon.

        • #7
          Congrats on your finish. Are the tower stairs still torn down, preventing access?

          Comment


          • Gerard01
            Gerard01 commented
            Editing a comment
            Yes, the stairs are still down.

        • #8
          I’m sorry, I left out the condition of the tower. I wrote my report after I came home. I waited a long time for my laptop to set up, and I was already sleepy. The tower is in desperate need of repair. The base is all chewed up and it’s looks like one big storm can send it toppling over. I calculated my rate of ascent from the start of the turn off, instead of the register, since I had lost well over an hour. It took me about 3 hours to hike up. Even with chatting with folks coming down and up, plus my little breaks, I averaged 562 feet per hour. Not good for a High Peak, but getting there. I figured, I need about 600 ft/hr to tackle a High Peak in decent time.
          Nothing like being in the woods.

          http://www.gerardsadirondackpics.shutterfly.com

          Comment


          • Yury
            Yury commented
            Editing a comment
            Gerard01, 562 feet/hour (171 m/hour) vertical speed is sufficient for most high peaks.
            For example when hiking Santanoni my average vertical speed was 197 m/hour, that is just 15% faster.
            It means that your Santanoni hike would need 15% more time than mine.
            Similarly my average Marshall speed was just 115 m/hour.
            Bottom line: even with your current speed of hiking you should be able to complete quite a few remaining peaks.
            You just need to continue focusing on your weight loss and hiking uphill or upstairs at least twice a week every week until you have some time available for your trip to Adirondacks.

          • Gerard01
            Gerard01 commented
            Editing a comment
            I’m down to around 256 pounds, now. My knee is beginning to feel better. I’ll be seeing my MD, next month. I hope to get a referral to an Orthopedist for an MRI. Finally see what’s bothering me, there. It’s been a fun journey. I’ll be taking mom to a bed and breakfast for Labor Day week, then over to Lake George for a six hour cruise up the lake. I doubt I’ll see anymore action, until next year.

        • #9
          Congrats on completing your fire tower list!
          My mind was wandering like the wild geese in the west.

          Comment


          • Gerard01
            Gerard01 commented
            Editing a comment
            I’d like to finish all of them, one day.

        • #10
          Congrats to you, Gerard! Even though you didnt pack any booze, hopefully you had a bourbon and tasty cigar when you got back to the hostel. Cheers!
          Catskills: 39/39, 35W/35W
          ADK: 46/46, 1W/46W

          Comment


          • Gerard01
            Gerard01 commented
            Editing a comment
            Actually, I drank my brandy and smoked my cigar by the fire. Roasted marshmallows, too.
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