Fire Towers & Beer

For your viewing pleasure I present to you a fun video of my recent winter hike to the Blue Mountain fire tower . Thanks to my friends at Fulton Chain Craft Brewery for a place to park my tired self and some great beer after an awesome day in the park.

Music: Hey

Composer: Benjamin Tissot

https://www.bensound.com

Winter Hiking

Living in New York State we get winter, or something that resembles it depending on the year. I’ve learned to embrace it because it can be long and cold. Over the past few years I’ve been out and about our local parks and trails hiking with my snowshoes. I find winter hiking to be some of the most beautiful and peaceful time to be outdoors. Recently I had the opportunity to change things up a little. So I hopped in my car and headed for the Adirondacks.

A few hours later I arrived at the trailhead of the 3759 foot summit of Blue Mountain. This 2 mile trail (One Way) climbs 1670 feet in elevation with moderate to steep grades, ending at the fire tower. At the trailhead I met my friend Nancy an experienced hiker who would go with me since this would be my first winter hike with considerable elevation.

We decided that we didn’t need snowshoes and that micro spikes would be sufficient since the trail was very well packed. This is a very popular hike in any season. It was sunny and in the low 30’s when we began and quickly I had to stop to remove my jacket putting in my backpack. The trail climbed steeply as we bumped into our first hikers coming down from the summit around the one mile mark. We stopped and chatted for a little before continuing. We would see three more before reaching the summit.

The closer we got to the summit the snow got deeper, the temperatures colder and you could feel the wind picking up through the trees. Just before coming out of the tree line I stopped and layered back up before exposing myself to the open summit. Stepping out into the open the Blue Mountain fire tower stood proudly at an additional 35 feet encrusted in snow and ice.

Climbing the tower to the observers tower the wind was whipping pretty good and my fingers were so cold even through my gloves while trying to take some photos. The stairs were covered in at least 6 inches of snow and ice and the cabin had at least a foot of snow inside. The handrails were also encased in ice.

Even though there was a vast temperature difference between the base and summit the warm sun was doing its best to remove Mother Nature’s grasp. Chunks of ice had begun to fall off the tower like crystals falling from a chandelier crashing to the ground into pieces. The trees at the summit were encrusted in snow and ice giving them a powdered sugar look, it was breathtaking.

We spent about an hour at the summit taking in the sheer beauty, chatting with a few hikers who had come up the trail shortly behind us. I was completely hooked on winter hiking.

Once down and back to my car, putting my gear away it was time to head south to Old Forge where I would spend the night. But not before a stop at Fulton Chain Craft Brewing for a couple of well earned beverages.

I absolutely loved this experience and I hope to do some more winter hiking in the Adirondacks  in the future.

Nancy signing us into the trail register Blue Mountain Lake, NY © Joe Geronimo

Paused to take in the view as I make my way towards the summit of Blue Mountain. Photo by Nancy Lyons.

Nancy snaps a few photos as well. © Joe Geronimo

Arrived the summit of Blue Mountain. © Joe Geronimo

The 35 foot Blue Mountain fire tower stands encrusted in Mother Nature’s fury. © Joe Geronimo

The view of Blue Mountain Lake and others from the fire tower’s cabin. © Joe Geronimo

The summit of Blue Mountain provides a window into the eastern Adirondack high peaks. © Joe Geronimo

Making my way back down the trail from the summit of Blue Mountain. © Joe Geronimo

 

Snowshoeing Nick’s Lake Loop

Back in the fall the Northern Forest Canoe Trail reached out to me asking if I would be willing to do a presentation to a local outdoor club on their behalf. I’m not your typical motivational speaker but I jumped at the chance to talk about something I feel passionate about. This past week I traveled to Utica, NY to give my presentation. I’m truly grateful that the NFCT felt confident enough in me to even ask.

As winter pressed on I had been keeping an watchful eye on the volume of snow in the north country “Adirondacks”. As my presentation date grew closer I decided I would spend the night in Utica with my sights set on some snowshoeing. The next morning I would do my 4 mile run before checking out of the hotel and continue my trek northward.

I arrived in Old Forge at the Bisby Road trailhead under cover of overcast skies with temperatures around 28 degrees. In my opinion this was almost near perfect. Strapping on my snowshoes, throwing a few last minute items in my backpack I was soon off on my adventure.

The first mile of trail had been broken by XC skiers but that soon would change. The next 4 miles I would have to break trail myself and around the half way point my legs were beginning to feel it. I took a few rest breaks standing in awe of the beauty and the silence. I was the only one out here on these particular trails, I saw not one other human being until I returned to my car.

Once back to the trail junction and my final mile before returning to civilization I stopped for a bit to strip down some of my clothing. I worked up a pretty good sweat over those 4 miles, it was time for a snack and some water.

This 6 mile journey took me 4 hours in which I took a few breaks, some photos and a few video clips. The day could not have been more perfect as the clouds gave way to a blueberry Adirondack sky.

Cheers!

Bisby Road trailhead “Black River Wild Forest” Old Forge, NY. © Joe Geronimo

Bisby Road trailhead “Black River Wild Forest” trail register Old Forge, NY. © Joe Geronimo

Along the Nick’s Lake Loop Trail. © Joe Geronimo

Frozen silence at the Nick’s Lake canoe launch Old Forge, NY. © Joe Geronimo

Along the Nick’s Lake Loop Trail Old Forge, NY. © Joe Geronimo

I love how the snow clings to life on the Tamaracks along Nick’s Creek. © Joe Geronimo

Here I’m crossing a portion of Nick’s Lake Old forge, NY. © Joe Geronimo

Undisturbed beauty along the Nick’s Lake Loop Trail Old forge, NY. © Joe Geronimo

6 miles along the Bisby Road and Nick’s Lake Loop Trail Old Forge, NY.

I closed out my day at one of my favorite places, Fulton Chain Craft Brewing http://www.fccbrewery.com in Old Forge, NY. This is the Vanilla Caramel Cream Ale, that is so damn delicious I brought a crowler home with me. © Joe Geronimo

Winter Wonderland

It has been over a year now since I’ve put my snowshoes on but this past weekend I cinched them up and headed out to play.

First I hiked with my son Michael out to Nanticoke Lake in the Lisle, NY. Michael had to take some photographs for his college photography course and we thought this would be a great little adventure. Spending time with my son was the highlight of my day.  We had the entire place to ourselves! While we were out there taking in the beauty of our surroundings Micheal remarked to me “Dad it is so quiet out here, there is literally no sound what so ever”.  I simply responded “Exactly”!

I loved watching him dash and bound through the snow exploring things to photograph. It was even more entertaining since he doesn’t have snowshoes.

My next adventure for the day would be a 3 mile solo hike of the IBM Glen. The snow had clung to the trees like powdered sugar on a tasty dessert, truly a winter wonderland. I did see one couple hiking the trails and one person cross country skiing but that was it.

It had been so long since I was out winter hiking I forgot how much I enjoy it and cannot wait until I can get out again.

Cheers!

Starting our way into Nanticoke Lake. © Joe Geronimo

Michael behind the camera. He’s my Winter Cardinal. © Joe Geronimo

Mike working his shot. © Joe Geronimo

Enjoying the solitude at Nanticoke Lake. © Michael Geronimo

Nanticoke Creek flows under soft pines Lisle, NY. © Joe Geronimo

Nanticoke Creek Lisle, NY. © Joe Geronimo

Making my way through the IBM Glen. © Joe Geronimo

The serenity of the IBM Glen. © Joe Geronimo

The sound of water soothes the soul at the IBM Glen. © Joe Geronimo

Nothing better than a trail beer to finish a great day outdoors! © Joe Geronimo

Lake Colby

Part 3, Lake Colby a 272 acre lake located in the village of Saranac Lake, NY is a beautiful place to paddle, camp and swim. There are three primitive campsites along the shores of Lake Colby as well the village beach. New York State operates a boat launch and fishing access; there is a ten horsepower limit for motorboats.

Hope you enjoyed this short film series!

The canoe in this series is a 14′ Adirondack Canoe Company “Boreas” pack canoe that weighs in at 24#’s. She’s light, comfortable and paddles exceptionally well.

Visit http://adirondackcanoecompany.com

 

Map courtesy of https://andyarthur.org

 

Little Colby Pond to Lake Colby

Part 2 in a 3 part series, I call this the limbo! Paddling under the former New York Central “Adirondack Division” that splits Little Colby Pond And Lake Colby in Saranac Lake, NY.

This was really fun and I had to get pretty low in my canoe in order to get underneath the railroad tracks.

Don’t forget to stop by tomorrow fr part 3, enjoy the short film!

Little Colby Pond

Part 1 in a 3 part series, Little Colby Pond in Saranac Lake, NY is very small but one of my favorite ponds to paddle in the area. I don’t know why but there is just something magical about it. Maybe it’s the thought of long New York Central freight trains echoing off the mountains that once crossed the fill splitting Little Colby Pond and it’s big brother Lake Colby. Or conjuring in my mind an Adirondack moose coming for a drink in the early morning hours under the cover of a ghostly fog.

No matter the intrigue it is definitely a peaceful place to paddle where one can take a few moments to reflect on life or better yet a floating nap.

Don’t forget to stop by tomorrow for part 2, enjoy the short film!

IBM Glen

My obsession with the Adirondacks can sometimes overshadow the pure beauty of home. Recently I was reminded of a little gem almost in my backyard called the  “IBM Glen” or “Glen”. The Glen is part of the Waterman Conservation Education Center.

The sound of leaves crunching underfoot can be soothing or even thought provoking, oak trees are my favorite. They are strong, powerful and their leaves fascinate me. The day was cloudy but still beautiful to be outdoors as I wandered up a portion of Gray’s Creek. Some ice and snow lingered in the depths of the forest where the sun’s warm hands could not touch. Water flowed smoothly over the various small waterfalls muffling the sound of the noon fire whistle.  As I made my way out of the creek and up the hillside the scurry of chipmunks was entertaining to watch. The tap, tap, tap of a woodpecker caught my attention as I scanned the woods. Unsure but I believe my new friend was either a Yellow-bellied sapsucker or a Downy woodpecker, no matter this one was very determined.

Continuing to crunch along I would end my day with a wonderful 4.25 mile walk in the woods. It was nice to slow down and just take in life.

The IBM Glen comprises over 200 acres in the Town of Union, in the heart of the so-called Triple Cites region of New York State’s Southern Tier. The IBM Glen contains a mature forest with some of the oldest and largest trees in Broome County, and its cascading gorge is the region’s finest. For centuries people have enjoyed the Glen’s majestic trees, cool waterfalls, colorful wildflowers, and abundant bird and animal life. We know that the region’s native inhabitants must have loved this magical spot, and when white settlers began to arrive in the 18th century one of the first homesteaders built next to the Glen.

In the IBM Glen, a carefully-built trail with natural stone steps and bridges, including two stone arch bridges, was built in the 1930’s or 1940’s. Stone fireplaces and picnic tables can be seen along the Glen’s trail.

The IBM Glen is a mature forest of maples, dark green hemlocks, tall oaks and occasionally a white pine or two that is three feet in diameter which towers over them all. The “old growth forest” is located close to the stream and is an important part of The Glen for people to see.

Wildlife has many different types of homes in The Glen. From reptiles to birds to mammals and amphibians, people of all ages can walk through The Glen and enjoy all of the different types.

Waterman Center obtained the property in 2004 when a group of people convinced IBM not to log the old growth trees and sell the land, but rather to turn it into a refuge for people to enjoy.

The IBM Glen is a “Place for All Seasons”! Walking is the most popular sport of those who use the trails at The Glen but there’s also room for those who snowshoe and cross-country ski in the winter.