Black Mountain Fire Tower
Submitted By Michael Virdone
The Mountains & Stats
People On The Trip
Since we had to be in Lake George for the winter hut training on Saturday Nicole and I decided to make use of the trip to the Adirondacks and get some hiking in. We left Syracuse at around 6:15 to arrive at the ADK HQ at 9 for training. We finished and were at the Black Mountain trailhead by 12:30. We began the climb up the dirt road and quickly passed the old farm. The road was quite muddy with patches of ice and I was quickly questioning my decision to not bring stablilicers. |
After passing the farm we arrived at the trail junction and took the direct route up the mountain. A while after the fork we got our first view of the tower. We continued on the woods roads (sparse trail markers, but just trust your intuition, all junctions are well marked). After a while the trail finally started climbing, We briefly lost the trail when we couldn't tell if we were in a trail or a stream (the stream is the trail, you can follow the snowmobile marker). After a short but steep climb we reached what I call a "false sky" where you start seeing sky on the horizon so you think you're getting to the top, but you're just gaining a ridge (not even a false summit).
From there it's another short climb to where it plateaus, the tower is on the summit which is on top of a steep ledge that the trail circles around. After a little while longer we arrived at the summit ledges with the ruins of the tower, we took some pictures and then began our climb down. Despite the fact that there was a good amount of ice on the way up there was much less on the way back down (the side in the sun). Not having stabilicers did prevent us from hiking safely, but I will be carrying them from now on.
For a nice change of pace we actually did this as a loop hike instead of an out and back. It was definitely the right choice for this mountain. The trail down the other side had a half dozen great lookout points that really made the descent enjoyable. At the base of the mountain we hit the trail junction and began our hike out. We passed a few ponds and leantos on the way out that made the somewhat level hike to the car far more interesting. This section of trail was well marked and well maintained. We were back at the car by 4:30 (which was weird because we were hiking quite fast, but then I realized how many picture breaks we took near the summit). At the trailhead we got in the car and headed back to Syracuse.
We were lucky to have another great day of hiking this year, the temperature was right around freezing near the summit and in the high 30's low 40's range at the base. The bluebird skies made it even more enjoyable.
The Good and The Bad
The fire tower was closed
|Uneventful, we drove to Lake George first, before going to the trailhead via Fort Ann and Whitehall|