Posts Tagged With: ADK

Mt. Arab – The First of my Firetowers

012_12a.JPGColumbus Day weekend in the Adirondacks is often a crapshoot. Is the weather going to hold? Will the fall colors be bright or past peak? Will it be wet, cold, or otherwise unpleasant? This year, it was absolutely perfect – the skies were clear, the temps were in the upper 60’s/low 70’s, and the colors were just a tad past peak, but still brilliant. Despite some unplanned rain on Saturday and a gray evening, Sunday morning dawned with an uplifting brightness not seen in some time. While the original plan may have been to take it easy, we decided to take advantage of the day to climb to the Mt Arab Firetower before we drove back home.

The trail starts just off Route 3, south of Tupper Lake, and is pretty easy to find. There was ample parking, despite the fine day, and we set off around 11:30. Just beyond the register, the trail turns up a bit and starts out moderately steeply. This wasn’t too bad, though, nor did it last long before the trail moderates and becomes a fairly straightforward hike up the mountain. The only real issue on this day was the wetness of the falling leaves – I don’t like to drive on them, and thankfully hiking on them is easier, but there were still a few slippery spots. This trail is cut across quite frequently with run-offs made of roots or stones, and is in fantastic shape. Just before the summit, the firetower came into view, and we rounded the bend to find a beautiful vista in all directions. this day. The most intriguing views were in the opposite direction, to the lakes of Mt Arab and Eagle Crag. The shape of these lakes is interesting, and the color surrounding it on this day was spectacular.

The colors were amazing, and the peak is a great place to chat up other hikers and families, and other photographers. The view from here is so well known and highly regarded there were many folks with some serious equipment up here. We022_22a.JPG climbed the tower and had our breath taken away from the views – Whiteface was clearly visible beyond Tupper Lake.

In spite of the great views from the firetower, I was even more excited when I found the overlooks on the east side of the mountain. Several large rock slabs marking the summit provided a good view, but by climbing down to another smaller rock I was able to get even better views of the lakes.

As far as the Firetower itself, there is an interesting website published by the Friends of Mt Arab. As with many of the old firetowers in the Adirondacks, this one has been restored through the efforts of diligence of the faithful few, and I would 008_8a.JPGencourage hikers who enjoy this trail to support their efforts, without which the tower would likely have been gone by now. In addition, one can climb the existing set of firetowers to complete the ADK Firetower Challenge – some are in the Catskills, but most are within the Blue Line. Given the opportunity for beautiful views, interesting hikes, and participating in an important part of the history of the Adirondacks, I think this is a worthy effort, and hope to get in a couple more before the year is out. This is also a great trail for kids, so bring ’em with you.

BTW – I will warn that if you wish to take your dog with you, you will have plenty of company, so keep the leash handy. And to the folks last weekend with the muzzled cocker spaniel – if your dog is so ornery you need to muzzle it in public places, leave it home.

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Finally back again…

005_5a.JPGIt’s been way too long since I’ve posted anything, and even longer since I had been able to get out to hike at all. This past Columbus Day weekend was different –

The hip has been healing nicely, and although there are still pangs of intermittent pain, for the most part, it’s fine, and at the very least, according to the x-rays, it’s fully healed! So, Mrs. Warlock & I headed off to the Adirondacks, and what a perfect weekend it was.

We drove up Friday morning, and spent part of the day in Lake Placid – and what day it was. The temp was around 70F, the sky was about as blue as could be, and the fall colors were just a tad beyond their peak, but still amazing. We then decided to drive up to the top of Whiteface – we probably should have hiked it, but we really weren’t prepared to do so that day, so we figured the views010_10a.JPG were still worth it on such a fine day. The views were spectacular – the colors were just faded a bit so as to look like a watercolor of the mountains. The temp dropped a bit on top (to about 56F) and the wind picked up, but it felt good to be out in the fresh air and sun.

We also decided on Friday to stop by the Adirondack Loj and to visit the ADK shop there – the photo at the start of this entry is taken there, behind the Loj, and looking over Heart Lake. It was so still, it was eerie…the colors were amazing, though, and we vowed to come back.

Which we did – the next day. We had wanted to take a moderate hike with our hosts, and decided to tackle Mt Jo, behind the Loj. As we got into the car and left for the Loj, the skies opened up and poured all the way there. As we pulled into the parking lot, the rain stopped – so we decided to move on to the trail.In terms of length and vertical, it seems to be an easy hike, but what it lacks in magnitude it gives back in beauty and intensity. Once you enter the trailhead you are given a choice of the Long Trail or the Short Trail – we chose the latter. The trick in becoming the Short trail is head to the summit as directly as possible, meaning there are some steep sections. Since it had just rained, some of the footing was a bit tricky – wet leaves on wet rocks always add to the challenge. Nevertheless, we made it to the summit in about an hour, and had some great views of the High Peaks area…even though there were some tall trees obscuring the view, we still could see for a great distance.

019_19a.JPGWe hiked down the Long Trail, which it turns out is only .3 miles longer than the Short Trail. It was definately easier going, (especially for the short legged dog with us!) and we ended up back at the Loj about 2 1/2 hours after we left. As we went into the shop to find some updated maps and souvenirs for the kids, the sky opened again for the next hour or so – our luck was amazing that we were able to get the hike in between the downpours.

We drove back thru Lake Placid, and finished the afternoon at the Lake Placid Pub & Brewery – I highly recommend this place, especially the 46’er Ale and the spicy Fish & Chips. I only wish I had picked up a growler of the beer, and will next time.

To wrap up the day, we hung out on Lake Symond in Tupper Lake with friends for the rest of day – the hip survived the first real test quite well, but with the hike, rain, and beer, I dozed contentedly on the porch, listening to the call of the loons (OK, there was only one loon, but he did make one cry). It was, to say the least, a grand comeback.

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