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

 

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

Picture Perfect Morning

Earlier this month I was canoe camping with a friend in the Adirondacks on a lake 30 miles northwest of Lake George. Despite a few day paddlers we had the whole lake to ourselves. The northern end of the lake has a few homes and camps along its shoreline. In the early evening hours we could hear across the lake someone playing a trumpet and as dusk turned to night the milky way painted the sky. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that many stars!

The next morning fog rolled across the water while temperatures dipped to around 45 degree, I was cold. Quickly I restarted the campfire for some warmth along with my twig stove in order to boil water for coffee and oatmeal.

It truly was a picture perfect morning!

Our Winter Landscape

This afternoon I was able to get out for a short hike with my fine fury friend. Ruff loves the cold weather and snow. Heck he’d just assume sit in a snow bank all day.

Under sunny skies, a 4 degree temperature and a wind making it feel sub zero we headed to Nanticoke lake for our little adventure. Once we arrived I noticed there was more snow out there than here at home. But a lot of it seemed to be drifting. We made our way to the lake and met two guys ice fishing. I asked if they knew how thick the ice was and they said about 10-12 inches. It felt weird walking on a lake that I routinely paddle. Ruff was in dog heaven! It was cold, there was snow, other humans and the sniffs were abundant.

Our winter landscape can be beautiful if not stunning, I was in my glory as well.

 

Cheers!

Ruff taking in all there is to sniff at Nanticoke lake January 7th 2018. © Joe Geronimo
Ice fishing on Nanticoke lake January 7th 2018. © Joe Geronimo
Ruff loving Nanticoke lake January 7th 2018. © Joe Geronimo
Ruff & I Nanticoke lake January 7th 2018. © Joe Geronimo