Bald Mountain Bliss

Julie & I atop of Bald Mountain October 12th 2015. Image © Michael Geronimo.
Julie & I atop of Bald Mountain October 12th 2015. Image © Michael Geronimo.

Time flies, hard to believe that this is a year ago…

 

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#tbt: Rondaxe Fire Tower

My wife peers from the cabin of the Rondaxe fire tower. © Joe Geronimo
My wife peers from the cabin of the Rondaxe fire tower overlooking the Fulton Chain of Lakes in August 2012. © Joe Geronimo

The start of the hike is a deceptively easy walk in the woods, but fairly soon you come to the steepest section where you climb a widely eroded trail up onto the top of the descending ridge.

Soon after you begin to top out you come to the first of several intermediate view points. After that the trail follows the spine of the ridge with a few minor ups and downs. This ridge top trail is over bed rock much of the way, and portions of that bed rock are relatively pointed little ridgettes with less that a foot wide path on the top. For those who find this psychologically uncomfortable, there are herd paths down in the woods by which you can skirt the most challenging sections.

The Rondaxe Fire Tower, located on the summit, has been restored so that you can climb up for the best views. The summit area is open, quite long and can easily accommodate a large number of hikers. Don’t expect to be alone during this nearly two mile round trip hike, as it is a very popular hike. There are fantastic views from the fire tower, but also from the many view points along the trail. You don’t need to climb the fire tower to enjoy the views. (Taken from www.alltrails.com)

Old Forge, New York

Our family tries to take a trip every Columbus Day weekend, whether big or small we enjoy getting out in the crisp Autumn air under magnificent colors that paint our landscapes this time of year. This years adventure took us to Old Forge in the western part of the Adirondack Park. We’ve been here many times before and truly enjoy the area. Our getaway would be a short over night stay but long on the memories.

Originally we had planned to take the River & Rail canoe trip offered by Tickner’s Canoe in conjunction with the Adirondack Scenic Railroad. The idea was we would paddle our boats from Tickner’s boat house 6 miles down the middle branch of the Moose River to the Whitewater take out where the railroad would pick us up and bring us back. Julie and the boys were excited for this adventure but sadly Saturday afternoon Tickner’s called and said the water levels were too low past the Lock and Damn due to something the Town of Webb had done to the damn. However they suggested we go further north to the “north Bridge” and paddle 7 miles down the middle branch back to the boat house.

Tickner's Map

We arrived At Tickner’s Sunday morning around 11AM. Picked up our driver and drove to the launch site at “North Bridge”. After unloading our boats the driver returned our car back to the boat house. Max and I were extremely excited as this would be the maiden voyage of the Moo-Canoe, Cownoe or Elsie as I like to call it. This is a BIG light weight kevlar 18 foot canoe and we had our work cutout for us. As you can see in the map above this section of the Moose literally snakes all the way. At points the river is very narrow and lets just say an 18 foot canoe does not turn on a dime. Max and I had a blast trying to navigate this bovine. We did get better with it as the day progressed.

Getting ready to launch Old Forge, NY. © Max Geronimo
Getting ready to launch Old Forge, NY.
© Max Geronimo

What a fun time we had as a family. Watching Michael paddle is always a joy of mine because he’s really good at it. Max’s face was lit up all day as he loved paddling the canoe and spending uninterrupted time with his dad, and dad loved it just as much. Early into our trip we found a sandy spot to beach for lunch. Munching our sandwiches and soaking in the autumn sun and air in no time we were back on the water.

Michael and Max munching on their lunch. © Joe Geronimo
Michael and Max munching on their lunch.
© Joe Geronimo

The closer we got to Indian Rapids the scenery changed a bit. We were seeing more trees and more color as to the lower scrub brush when we started our paddle. At Indian Rapids we would have to portage our boats 300 yards around the rapids. Here it became a log jam so to speak as there were many other paddlers on the river. It took us a little bit but we managed to get our boats back on the water and finish out the day. This was a great family adventure and I am extremely glad we had the opportunity to do this.

Max in his element along the Moose River. © Joe Geronimo 2015
Max in his element along the Moose River.
© Joe Geronimo 2015
Julie taking in the day. © Joe Geronimo 2015
Julie taking in the day.
© Joe Geronimo 2015
Indian Rapids Portage © Joe Geronimo 2015
Indian Rapids Portage
© Joe Geronimo 2015
Indian Rapids © Joe Geronimo 2015
Indian Rapids
© Joe Geronimo 2015
Max & I under a canopy of fall color. © Joe Geronimo 2015
Max & I under a canopy of fall color.
© Joe Geronimo 2015
Paddling along Michael finds a rope swing. © Joe Geronimo 2015
Paddling along Michael finds a rope swing.
© Joe Geronimo 2015
Michael and other paddlers along the Moose. © Joe Geronimo 2015
Michael and other paddlers along the Moose.
© Joe Geronimo 2015
Max & I waiting our turn to dock at the Tickner's Canoe boat house. © Joe Geronimo 2015
Max & I waiting our turn to dock at the Tickner’s Canoe boat house.
© Joe Geronimo 2015
Tickner's Canoe Boat House © Joe Geronimo 2015
Tickner’s Canoe Boat House
© Joe Geronimo 2015

After getting off the water, our boats loaded we checked into our motel for the evening. The boys were tired but Julie and I went into town for a drink and some shopping. Sitting outside on the deck of the Back Door Bar which provided us a nice view of Old Forge pond. This is where the Fulton Chain of Lakes begins as does the 740 mile Northern Forest Canoe Trail. A little while later we would pick up the boys and  head for dinner. Capping a beautiful day.

Enjoying a cold beer at the Back Door Bar in Old Forge, NY. © Joe Geronimo 2015
Enjoying a cold beer at the Back Door Bar in Old Forge, NY.
© Joe Geronimo 2015

This morning I woke early and went for a 7 mile run at sunrise through the quiet streets of Old Forge. As a matter of fact I ran right back to North Bridge where we launched our boats the day prior. I paused at Old Forge pond as the colors in the sky were pink and orange and the refections in the water were stunning. Back at the motel, showered and the troops moving we went to Keyes Pancake House for some breakfast. This was our first time here and I asked myself why this was our first time. My three huge blueberry pancakes did not disappoint in the least.

Keyes Pancake House Old Forge NY October 12th 2015_02©
Keyes Pancake House Old Forge, NY. © Joe Geronimo 2015

Next on our agenda would be to hike Bald Mountain to the Rondaxe fire tower. All I can say is glad we got there early. Once again we were treated to another beautiful day with clear blue skies, raging fall color and perfect temperatures for hiking. We quickly made our way to the top, climbed the fire tower and took in the views. We’ve done this hike many times before but it never disappoints. The best part, this is a very family friendly hike.

Looking north on the Fulton Chain of Lakes from Bald Mountain. © Joe Geronimo 2015
Looking north on the Fulton Chain of Lakes from Bald Mountain.
© Joe Geronimo 2015
Ronda fire tower Bald Mountain. © Joe Geronimo
Ronda fire tower Bald Mountain.
© Joe Geronimo
View from the Rondaxe fire tower looking south towards Old Forge, NY. © Joe Geronimo 2015
View from the Rondaxe fire tower looking south towards Old Forge, NY.
© Joe Geronimo 2015
Fulton Chain of Lakes from Bald Mountain. © Joe Geronimo 2015
Fulton Chain of Lakes from Bald Mountain.
© Joe Geronimo 2015
Julie & I on Bald Mountain.
Julie & I on Bald Mountain.

What an awesome weekend in a beautiful place. Our family is very thankful for all the things we get to do. We are truly blessed to have one another.

Cheers!