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Stillwater, a second summit. 10/10/21

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  • Stillwater, a second summit. 10/10/21

    Ever since hiking Mt. Jo couple weeks ago my 4-year old has been reminding me non-stop that she wants to hike more mountains before her upcoming birthday. Specifically, she wants to hike Blue Mountain. Bless her little heart but she's not ready for that one just yet. She knows nothing of the peak itself other than there's a firetower at the summit and its called "Blue," which is a color she likes. I got her to agree on Stillwater Mountain, which ended up being a perfect choice for her.

    We got a late start on Sunday, seeing as there was no rush to be anywhere and I got to watch my Jets get beat early in the day. Luckily for me she fell asleep within moments of getting into the car and didn't wake up until Old Forge, so I was spared the dreaded "When are we going to be there?" every 5 minutes. She loved the ride up the Big Moose, especially once the pavement ended. The parking area, which legally holds exactly 2 cars: one with a handicap designation, one without, was full plus 5 or 6 more vehicles parked along the shoulder. I squeezed into the little turn around spot across the street and we quickly got changed into trail runners.

    Not much in the way of gear is needed for this hike, but she's smitten with her Camelbak and headlamp and is learning about the 10 essentials so we each packed about 5L worth of gear (mostly snacks for her), including a map, compass, first aid kit, headlamps, spare batteries, UL rain shells, and each sported some type of bright colored headwear (bow hunting season); a little purple trucker hat for her, a blue cap for me. All my blaze orange is packed away for its trip to MI's Upper Peninsula so we made do with what we had.

    This trail is about a mile long and gains maybe 500 feet so its hardly a workout, even for her. She started talking as soon as we left the trail register and didn't come up for air once until we hit the summit. She waited politely for another family to descend the firetower and with a nod of approval from me ascended the steps to the cab with complete confidence. She loved every second of the being up there, albeit she's so tiny that I had to sit lift her up to sit on the map/table so she could actually see out the windows. She was only slightly less confident descending the steps. Its different looking down, but I assured her that as long as she used the handrails and paid attention to her footing she'd be fine.

    A quick snack at the summit's picnic table, and we were on our way. We counted 37 blue trail markers while descending, and we made quick work ditching our trail runners in exchange for crocs as soon as we got back to the car. Not_Built_For_Speed She confirmed that they really are the ultimate pre/post hike footwear, so there you have it.

    As soon as we were back closer to civilization I called Mountain Man Supply Company to confirm that they were still open, the perpetually unfriendly young lady who who answered assured me that they'd be open until "6-ish." When we arrived at "5:20-ish" she seemed truly annoyed that somebody would dare patronize her establishment on such a fine day, so as a token of my gratitude towards her hospitality I didn't interrupt my daughter once while she touched and inquired about everything in the store that caught her eye while I tried on some ski boots (thinking about upgrading my OTX/XC boots to the Alpina Alaska NNNBC model for my Rossi BC 70s, so if you have any input on them, please share it). Once the staff looked about halfway between exhausted and amused I paid for my things (not ski boots) and was out the door by 5:50-ish.

    It was a perfect day for her to hike second ADK mountain, and will most likely be her last before next spring, when she gets to join me for my annual Blue Mountain birthday hike. I haven't been able to find one, but if anyone knows where to find a patch for Stillwater Mountain, please let me know.

    EDIT:

    Oh, stats. Per Garmin, that hike was 2.2 miles total with 594 feet of ascent, and took us 1:31:53, which included our time spent in the tower and eating at the picnic table, plus time spent signing in/out.

    https://imgur.com/a/ioOSY6y
    My mind was wandering like the wild geese in the west.

  • #2
    I almost forgot. Somebody lost a beagle on the Big Moose, a couple miles south of the Stillwater TH yesterday. If anyone is in the area and sees it, please notify the folks at Big Moose Station.
    My mind was wandering like the wild geese in the west.

    Comment


    • #3
      Great trip report. Adorable video. Put a smile on my face.

      Kudos on having her carry some gear of her own even if only a few pounds worth. I see so many kids with nothing as their parents lug a huge pack around carrying all the gear for the family. There's a valuable life lesson in there whether people realize it or not.

      Comment


      • FlyFishingandBeer
        FlyFishingandBeer commented
        Editing a comment
        Makwa That's clever! We'll see what kind of trail name she earns for herself next season.

        Come to think of it, its been years since I've even acknowledged my own given trail name (Not FlyFishingandBeer).

      • Makwa
        Makwa commented
        Editing a comment
        Do tell. Enquiring minds want to know.

      • FlyFishingandBeer
        FlyFishingandBeer commented
        Editing a comment
        Sherpa, or "Sherp-Sherp." Somehow, some way, two different groups who don't know each other started using it for me at different times. I've never made any references to it so from what I've been told that that means it was well-earned.

    • #4
      Great TR. Always love seeing little ones take to the trails.

      Comment


      • #5
        I have much jealousy. I had my kids out doing various things over the years but it never really excited them. They are now 19 and 21 and I’m lucky to get them to walk around the block with me.

        The short story on the boots; get them, you will thank me.

        Comment


        • FlyFishingandBeer
          FlyFishingandBeer commented
          Editing a comment
          Have you tried the 75mm 3-pin version of this boot? I've been going back and forth over upgrading from my current OTX/BC boot to this one and sticking with the current NNNBC binding, or going with the 75mm and a lightweight tele/cable binding. Everything I've read indicates that the NNNBC setup provides just as much, if not more lateral rigidity as using the 75mm version, but I have not personally tested them out for myself.

          I've also read and been warned numerous times that the 75mm version of the boot has a common sole delamination issue, so this is factoring into possibly sticking with the NNNBC setup.

          Another factor that's steering me towards the NNNBC version of the Alaska over the 75mm is the ease of slipping into crampons or snowshoes since there's no duckbill to get in the way.

      • #6
        The friends of Stillwater fire tower had a centennial patch mentioned on their Facebook page, and just posted about another patch being sold (exclusively) in the Stillwater Shop.
        46/46 as of August 1st, 2014!

        Comment


        • FlyFishingandBeer
          FlyFishingandBeer commented
          Editing a comment
          Heck. I wish I'd known about that while I was up there. That place is a haul from anywhere.

      • #7
        Have not tried 3-pin version of boots. My XC ski experience dates back to elementary school when my father thought we should do it as a family. I then tried again in college. All with 3-pin boots/bindings; and I really didn’t care for it.

        Despite the lackluster experience, two years ago I got a set up with the Alaska NNNBC boots and love it. Last year I did Donaldson by skiing to the base and switching boots. Later, I skied Lake Road, stowed my skis, and used my NNNBC boots with snowshoes to hike Blake. ACES; I’d do that again.

        Comment


        • #8
          Oh my goodness —way too cute in that video! You are starting her out right carrying her own small pack. Our kids carried their second layer, small water bottle, snack, and whistle with instructions to sit tight and blow their whistle in between silently singing “twinkle, twinkle little star” if they ever got lost. Fun fact: our daughter’s first hike where she did it all herself, no carrying, was Owl’s Head off 73. She recently did it again (age 24) on a weekday afternoon while remote-working in the ADK. ‘What a pleasure it is when your kid pursues on their own, something you shared with them as a child : ).
          46/46, 20/46w "I only went out for a walk, and concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in." John Muir

          Comment


          • FlyFishingandBeer
            FlyFishingandBeer commented
            Editing a comment
            Her little camelbak has an emergency whistle and that’s one of the things we’ve gone over at least a dozen times: “if you can’t see me, stop, and blow that whistle in bursts of three until you can see ME, not just other hikers.”

            She’d been awesome so far. I know she’s capable of a lot more, but I’m apprehensive about letting her talk me into taking her on long/steeper hikes this year. She’s going to be getting a new pair of Tubbs snow shoes (upcoming birthday) that are capable of handling some steep terrain. I’m hoping we can have a little bit of fun once the snow pack comes.
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