Hiking Goodnow and Blue Mountains in the Adirondacks • Saturday, October 15, 2016
(I still have plenty of vacation posts to share, but I wanted to share current happenings around here too so that I don’t get too far behind or forget about them!)
When we arrived back in New York, we knew that fall was in full swing in the Adirondacks, so we made hiking and driving around the area a priority. We spent the week doing short hikes in lots of different nature preserves nearby — we have realized that we have SO MANY within a half hour drive or less! We focused on the ones that have letterbox series for extra incentive, and that alone has kept us busy. Getting out of the house every day was great for all of us to embrace this season, but especially for Charlotte, who was experiencing pretty bad post-vacation blues. I think she would prefer we just live on the road — she really did enjoy getting to do something fun every single day like we did for over 3 weeks straight!
On Saturday, we decided to do a longer road trip and try to do multiple fire tower hikes a few hours North. In hindsight, we really should have done this on a weekday because there would’ve been less people, but despite having an easy schedule at that time we still had the “weekend mentality” where the “big adventure” for the week had to be on a Saturday. It’s hard to break from that thought process.
Anyway, we got up early on Saturday…just kidding, we didn’t leave the house until probably 9:30. Curtis made me breakfast in bed and did all the dishes first. Do I have the best husband or what?! #humblebrag But we finally got on the road and headed North on 87. We got off around Warrensburg and took highway 28 to North Creek, then 28N to start a big loop around this area. The first cool spot we stopped at was the Theodore Roosevelt Monument — around the exact spot where he was the night President McKinley passed and Roosevelt became the President. I was hoping for a big statue of him, but instead it was just a plaque on a rock. Bummer.
Then we continued on for the main event of the day: hiking! Curtis has done a ton of research on the different hiking challenges, but mostly the Fire Tower Challenge because it seems like the most obtainable for us in the length of time we have here. He named off all the possible hikes we’d be passing by as we drove, and had picked what he thought would be a couple good ones for us to check off on this day.
First up was Goodnow Mountain, a 4 mile round-trip hike just West of Newcomb. We arrived around 11:30-12 and set off on the trail. The parking lot was mostly full, but the lot wasn’t too big so we weren’t scared off. The trail had a pretty gradual elevation gain and was overall one of the easier Adirondack hikes we’ve done. We made it to the top in less than an hour and sat down to rest at the cabin near the tower. There were quite a few people up there, along with some noisy dogs. One guy complimented us, saying how Charlotte was the most well-behaved dog on the peak. We couldn’t agree more. She was also the cutest in her teddy bear sweater. 😉 We took turns climbing the tower, as that’s the only place to get a view. From the top, you have an excellent view of the high peaks not too much further North, as well as many other fire tower peaks. And the fall colors certainly did not disappoint! The leaves were definitely at their prime, making this entire trip worth it. I liked how they contrasted with the blue rivers and lakes scattered around.
We made it back to our car and decided we were definitely up for another hike — 4 miles just isn’t enough to fill a Saturday! We continued on our loop through Adirondack Park and ate lunch as we drove. Curtis’ next pick was Blue Mountain near Indian Lake. When we arrived, there were SO MANY CARS there. There were parking lots on either side of the highway and both packed full with cars and people. We took a spot and just sat there for a moment, considering if we actually wanted to do this. The hike really did seem like the best one for us to do, so we finally decided to just go do it and hope that most of the people were heading down because it was 2:30 in the afternoon.
Blue Mountain trail is 4 miles round trip. It was definitely harder than Goodnow, especially in the last half mile or so. The first part is difficult only because there are so many big rocks scattered around the trail — you’re either constantly stepping on or over them, or always winding your way around them. The second half gets steep and a lot of it is walking up steep, slanted rock face. We took a couple breaks on the way up, but still managed to make it up and back in an hour and a half (with an hour spent at the top). Unfortunately, most of the people were still at the top when we got there, so once again we found the nearby cabin to sit quietly away from the others. There is a view to the East just past the cabin, but otherwise you need to climb the tower to get a good view. The tower surprised us with how much shorter it seemed compared to the others. In my opinion, the view from Goodnow was better, but everyone else seemed really impressed with it so maybe if this was your only hike for the day it would be better!
We made it back to our car and called it good for the day. We still had a 2 hour drive to get home, but luckily we had pizza dough all risen and ready to be made when we walked in the door. If I were to give you any advice for going on a hike, after I was done going through the basic rules for safe and smart hiking, my best tip would be to have dinner all set and ready to go when you get home. Pizza, whether frozen or homemade, is always a good idea. 😉