August 10, 2010

Blue Mountain

Camped at Lewey Lake, we drove up 30N to the Blue Mountain trail head at 9am on August 7th, 2010. I was surprised by the number of cars in the grass and gravel lot, but I should not have been given the conditions; about 60 degrees and only a few puffy clouds in the sky. We made quick work of the first quarter mile, eagerly pressing upward.

I read that the trail was “moderate-difficult” online, but that fact was not made apparent until around three-quarters of a mile in, when I realized that my calves would not be allowed a rest from climbing. It's nearly 1.7 miles of constant elevation gain, with some parts as steep as 45 degrees. The trail was also very rocky, particularly near the summit.

We didn't see any wildlife before the summit, probably due to the number of people on the trail. All told we saw at least 40 people hiking or relaxing near the fire tower. There were a couple of chipmunks eager to inspect our food and that's about it.

There were a lot of different kinds of mushrooms, though, and some smaller white plants which I think are called indian pipe (monotropa uniflora).

The summit affords a great view of Blue Mountain Lake and the surrounding area, but large antennas mar the horizon in two directions; it was the only place I had more than a bar of service in the Adirondacks. The cab is open on the fire tower, but without trees -- not that there were many at its base -- to break the wind it was quite cold.

All told the hike was 3 hours with frequent stops for water and a nice lunch break at the top. Blue Mountain is the first of at least 18 I must climb for the Fire Tower Challenge, which I expect to take several years to complete.

(pics later)

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