Archive for August, 2014

Mount Emmons – Tupper Lake, NY

Posted on: August 29th, 2014 by Erin Weir No Comments

1024px-Seward_Mountains_as_seen_from_Mt_SeymourThe fortieth on the list of 46 high peaks, Mount Emmons is the lowest mountain on the Seward range.   It is also the most western peak of the 46 High Peaks, which makes it the highest peak until well past the Mississippi. It is very commonly climbed together with Mount Donaldson.  The summit of Emmons boasts great views of the rest of the High Peaks, and a view of the Santanoni Range.

The path to Emmons is more isolated than most of the other 46 peaks, as the best approach is from the peak of Mount Donaldson, which is already rather remote.   Because it is quite remote it is recommended you bring food and water with you.  Also be sure to bring a map and compass, or hire a guide who can help you traverse the mountain.   If you plan to use a GPS be aware that overhanging trees may interfere with the signal and make it unusable, so you may wish to have a backup plan for navigation.

The approach to Emmons follows the same path for Donaldson and Seward.  You can hike all three peaks in one day, but it is quite a long and grueling hike at 18+ miles.

The herdpaths up to the summit of Donaldson can be reached by taking Rt 3 out of Saranac Lake toward Tupper Lake.  After 12.5 miles, take a left at Corey’s Rd and follow it for another 5.5 miles.  The trailhead is on the right.

The first 1.2 miles is a well used trail.  Then you will take a right on an old woods road and continue for another 2 miles until you meet the Calkins Brook herdpath.  This will wind along the brook and cross over it several times, as it rises steadily.  The summit of Emmons is about a mile further on from the summit of Donaldson.

From the summit of Donaldson, the herdpath descends to the west side of the ridge between Emmons and Donaldson.  It then begins to climb up to the top of Emmons.  The trail is very open in some parts and provides some great views of both mountains.  Once you reach the summit of Emmons, you’ll find some gigantic boulders that provide fantastic views, if you’re willing to climb them.

Porter Mountain – Keene, NY

Posted on: August 22nd, 2014 by Erin Weir No Comments

Porter_Mtn_from_Rooster_CombNumber 38 on the list of high peaks is Porter Mountain.  Though it is is partially overshadowed by its neighbor, Cascade, it is a rewarding climb.  It boasts wide views from the summit, and has especially beautiful views of Johns Brook Valley to the east.  Though the summit is not bald it offers 360 degree views (though it may require a bit of maneuvering around to see them, due to foliage).  This summit is typically less crowded than Cascade, and is a great hike for beginners as most of the trails are moderate grade.  There also plenty of things to look at along the way, and it’s quite easy to jog over to Cascade.

Porter is frequently climbed with Cascade, and most hikers attempting to join Adirondack 46er Club begin with these two peaks.

There are three trails leading to Porter.  You can begin from the Garden Parking Lot at Keen for a 3.8 mi hike to the summit.  You can begin at Marcy Airfield for a 4.5 mi hike to the summit that also takes you over Blueberry Mountain.  Or you can begin at Cascade Mountain and climb both peaks which is 6.4 miles round trip.

The trail from the Garden parking lot has the most moderate grade, but it is also the most difficult place to park.  Marcy Airfield offers ample free parking, but it is the longest and most difficult trail.   The trail over Cascade is the shortest route, but again, parking can be an issue.  Improperly parked cars will be towed.  Remember to fill out a trip ticket at the trailhead so you can avoid any fines.

The most used trail is the one going over Cascade.  It is a 2.4 mile trail that gains 1940 feet in elevation.  It is very easy to follow the red plastic markers to Cascade’s bare summit.   From there you’ll be offered 360 degree views.  Once you’ve taken in your fill of the scene, there is a 1.0 mile hike to the summit of Porter.  You will have to hike 0.3 miles back to the junction on the trail and turn left.  There will be a short descent into a col, before the trail begins to climb again.  You will reach a large boulder, 0.9 miles from Cascade, to the right of which is a beautiful view.   From here you will climb along a ridge and reach the summit of Porter.

The Marcy Airfield trail can be reached by parking in the lot just past Marcy Field along Rt 73.   This hike is 9.0 miles round trip and quite steep.  Follow the woods road until you come to the foot trail on the left.   This trail leads over Blueberry Mountain, and some parts of it are quite eroded.  The views from the summit are breathtaking, however, and well worth the exertion.  From Blueberry mountain you will continue along the steep, eroded path to approach Porter from the south east, along a ridge.  This ridge is a more moderate climb, which some pretty views before reaching the summit.

The Garden trail can be found by following Rt 73 out of Lake Placid to Keene Valley.  Turn right after the Ausable Inn and follow along the road until it ends at the Garden Parking Lot.  This trail is 7.6 miles round trip.  The trail is quite moderate to the base of Little Porter and has plenty to see along the way.  There are pretty meadows and remnants of the 1903 fire.  The climb becomes quite steep for the last 1/4 mile up to the summit of Little Porter, but there are number rock staircases to aid you.  From Little Porter the trail can be quite wet, and erosion is evident.  It remains quite steep, and joins the Marcy Field trail not far below the summit of Porter Mountain.

There are many different trails to the summit of Porter Mountain and each offers something different.   The summit offers spectacular 360 degree views, and is typically less crowded than some of the more popular high peaks.  It’s also very easy to hike Cascade in the same day!

Dial Mountain – Keene Valley, NY

Posted on: August 15th, 2014 by Erin Weir No Comments

800px-Dial_Mtn_from_NoonmarkCommonly climbed with Nippletop due to its location on the same ridge, Dial Mountain is number 41 on the list of high peaks.   It is considered one of the classic hikes in the area and boasts beautiful views from the summit, though they are somewhat limited to the west.

Depending on your route of approach you will either have to first summit Nippletop, or Noonmark and Bears Den.   The primary route takes you over Nippletop.    From this trail to Dial it is a 10 mile hike, round trip (including road walking).

Hikers must park at the designated parking lot for the Roaring Brook Trail.  It is located off Rt. 73, 3 miles south of the High Peaks sign in Keene.  From this lot, there is a 0.5 mile walk heading west along the gravel road, past the golf course, to Lake Road (and the trailhead).   This trail is in the Adironadack Mountain Reserve.  Hikers should be aware that there is no camping, hunting, or fishing, and no off trail travel.  Dogs and other pets are absolutely prohibited.  Hikers must fill out a trip ticket at the trailhead.  If a ranger finds you without one, you may be fined and you will not be able to continue your hike.

This trail is especially nice in summer because it is quite shady.  The foliage is also very pretty in late August and early September.

Once you’ve reached the trailhead at Lake Road Way.  Continue on to the Gate House where you can register.  A wooden gate lies just beyond, though which you will follow a dirt road for about 0.7 miles.  The start of the trail begins on the left.

The climb will begin immediately off of this road and become increasingly steeper until you reach the shoulder of Noonmark.  At this area you can see the evidence from a major forest fire that swept through the area several years ago.  From here there will be a rapid descent, but you will begin climbing again quickly as you summit Bear Den Mountain.  The summit is fully wooded.    The descent from here is moderate, until you make your final climb to the summit of Dial Mountain.

If you turn around from here it is about 10 miles round trip.  You can also continue and include Nippletop, which will make your trip about 16 miles round trip.

Dial is considered one of the classic hikes of the Adirondacks and shouldn’t be missed by any experienced hiker. Its views of the High Peaks region are unrivaled, and it is one of the more pleasant hikes in summer and fall.


Nippletop – Keene Valley, NY

Posted on: August 13th, 2014 by Erin Weir No Comments

Nippletop is luck number 13 on the 46er list! Though its summit is far from bald, it offers one of the prettiest views of the high peaks, overlooking Elk Pass and offering a great view of Mt. Clovin and the rest of the great range.  It is commonly climbed with Dial Mountain because they are along the same ridge.

The primary trailhead, which takes you directly to Nippletop, is known for being one of the wetter trails of the 46 peaks.  It can be quite muddy.  The secondary trail, over Bear Den and Dial, is much dryer, but has a much longer ascent.

To reach the primary trailhead, you can find the designated hikers parking lot of Rt 73.  It is located across the road from the Roaring Brook Falls Trailhead for Giant Mountain.  There is room for about 30 cars, and this lot can fill up quickly on weekends.  Be aware that hikers can park in designated areas only, and parking is checked frequently.  Don’t let your car get towed!

As this trail is located within the Adirondack Mountain Reserve, there is no camping, hunting, or off trail travel, and no dogs or other pets allowed.  You must fill out and carry with you a “trip ticket” at the trailhead.  If you don’t, you may be fined, and a park ranger will not allow you to continue your hike.

The trailhead is along the road.  You will have to walk until you come to a wooden gate, which leads to a dirt road.  Follow this for 2.5 miles until you reach a foot trail.  The foot trail begins as a moderate climb, but gradually becomes stepper in places.  Pass the trail for Indian Head and for Fish Hawk Cliffs.  When you reach the trail for Clovin and Blake you will begin a relaxed climb to Elk Pass.  Elk Pass offers beautiful views in its own right.   However, this is a very wet section of the trail!

You will pass through three beaver ponds and then the climb will become very steep.  This will even out and leave you 0.1 miles from the summit.  It is another very steep climb to the top, and the trail can be quite narrow in spots, but views are continuous, and are some of the best of all the 46 peaks!  You will be able to see Elk Pass below, and you may be surprised that it is only about 500m below!

Hen of the Wood – Burlington, VT

Posted on: August 7th, 2014 by Erin Weir No Comments

With the goal of delivering a truly “Vermont” experience by highlighting the area’s most exciting foods, Hen of the Wood delivers one of the most exquisite dining experiences that you can find in Burlington.   Impeccable plates, stellar service, and a uniquely styled dining room all make this a destination restaurant.  It’s worth the trip to Burlington all on its own!

As you walk in you can immediately smell the wood fired grill.  Animal heads are interspersed between gorgeous wood accents and light fixtures all leading to the open kitchen, where you can watch your food being prepared at the open spit, the roaring grill, or the staging area.  A walk down the hallway allows you to have a look into the curing room for the meats.

You’ll find that nearly everything at Hen of the Wood is made in house, right down to the vinegar.  Meals are prepared only with the freshest ingredients available from the the Green Mountains and Champlain Valley, and the menu changes daily to reflect this.

While menu items do change daily, you’ll find amazing and daring creations like rabbit livers with pickled chanterbell mushrooms; delightfully light fried sticks of polenta and potato with aioli; smoked dish pate with house made crackers; chicken roulades with a blueberry reduction, fried green tomatoes, and creamed corn; fantastically decadent chocolate budino with a peppermint granita and cookie crumble.

Food is not the only amazing thing they craft at Hen of the Wood.  They also create masterful cocktails, making many ingredients in house.   House cocktails are daring, innovative (not to mention potent!) and well executed.  Try some of their barrel aged Toronto! It’s unbelievably good.   They also have a fairly extensive list of local craft beers on tap.

Staff are attentive, but not annoyingly so, and are well trained.  Each one is knowledgeable about the menu, the ingredients, and the preparation and time that goes into the food.  They welcome questions and are more than happy to make suggestions.

Hen of the Wood is an absolute must visit while in Burlington.  Reservations are strongly recommended, as space tends to fill up quickly.  However, the restaurant is casual, lacks any pretension, and manages to deliver an exquisitely executed dining experience down to the very last detail.

ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center – Burlington, VT

Posted on: August 2nd, 2014 by Erin Weir No Comments

800px-ECHOBurlingtonIf you’re looking for a great hands on adventure that will wow children of all ages, look no further.  ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center has everything you need to entertain your 6 year old, your 17 year old, and yourself!

While there is a small aquarium here, it is primarily a science center which explores the ecology and environmental challenges in the area. The science center explores the many creatures living in and around Lake Champlain.  Through films, hands on exhibits, and traditional museum displays you’ll learn about Lake Champlain, the wetlands, and even weather and how it effects the area.

Explore cool exhibits like the Into the Lake Exhibit where you can operate your own Remote Operated Vehicle and explore the General Butler shipwreck! Maneuver through a 7,000 gallon lake tank and gain a better understanding of how ROVs are used to explore not only shipwrecks, but deep water, and how it helps scientists to better understand those environments.

The frog exhibit is especially interesting.  Featuring frogs from all over the world, learn to identify frog calls from different frogs, watch them at feeding time, and learn about how frogs are an “early indicator” species and how they can help us identify problems with the environment.

If you need a bit of a breather, let your kids explore the museum while you enjoy the fantastic view of the Adirondacks out on the deck!

All of ECHO’s employees and volunteers are incredibly helpful and full of great information! You won’t get any scripted responses here.  Be sure to stop and ask if you have any questions about any exhibits.  You’ll learn some interesting information that isn’t on the plaques!

If you’re a member of a museum at home be sure to mention it at the front when you buy your admission tickets.  You may be eligible for a discount! Also be sure to check their website for discount vouchers on admittance.


The Willard Street Inn – Burlington, VT

Posted on: August 1st, 2014 by Erin Weir No Comments

There is only one word to describe the Willard Street Inn: Perfect.  From check in to check out your stay will be as relaxing as easy as you can imagine.

This quaint inn was built in 1881 and it has maintained all of its Victorian charm and grandeur.  You will walk through the double front doors into the cherry paneled foyer and be awed by the grand staircase and elegant antique decor. Each of the fourteen guestrooms is uniquely decorated to preserve the historic charm whilst not compromising on modern comfort.  Each guest room has its own private bath, though not all are en-suite.   Aside from the cozy guest rooms you’ll also find the inn has several comfortable sitting areas, both inside and on the deck.

When you first check in to the inn you’ll receive a tour that will explain all of the amenities, of which there are many! A working kitchen, a mini fridge for guests, bottle openers and chillers to bring to your room, and much more.  You’ll also find an array of freshly backed cookies and hot coffee and tea.   In warmer months you’ll be free to explore the lawn and English gardens.  When you make it to your room you’ll find more freshly baked cookies and locally made chocolate!

Breakfast at this B&B is something not to be missed! You’ll start off with a selection of muffins and scones that are to die for.  You’ll have several choices for breakfast, but the waffles might just be the best you’ve ever tasted! And the Eggs Benedict are divine.  Everything is served with a side of fresh fruit, grown in the inn’s garden, as well as a selection of juices and tea and coffee.

The location cannot be beat! It’s a very quick walk to Church Street, and downtown Burlington.  In your room you’ll find restaurant guides, menus, and plenty of maps that will allow you to plan your tour of downtown Burlington, most of which can be reached on foot from your hotel!

If you fancy a day in the gardens are a beautiful spot to sit and relax with your thoughts or your journal.  The solarium makes for an excellent reading spot.  And you’ll have no trouble finding a way to relax in your luxurious accommodations!

The Willard Street Inn is the perfect place to stay if you want a bed and breakfast feel without the feeling that you’re intruding in someone’s home.  It’s atmosphere is quaint and romantic, and its staff are helpful and accommodating without being intrusive.   Its wonderful accommodations and excellent location make it the perfect place to stay in Burlington!