Hiking to Kane Mountain Firetower • Fall Festivities • October 2016
We packed our last 2 weeks of “freedom” with hiking almost every day and soaking up the beauty and colors of fall. I don’t think we could have chosen a better time to be here and living it up in the Northeast. We were able to really relish this season and take advantage of every nice day, and have not a single regret about how we spent our time. Now we’re settling into new routines as the leaves and temperatures are falling.
During the last few weeks, we hiked in many nature preserves in the greater Saratoga County area. Every day we would layer up and head off in a new direction to go hiking and letterboxing. Some of the places we visited were Woods Hollow, Sanders Nature Preserve, Hundred Acre Woods, and North Wood Nature Preserve… Seriously, there are so many around here and you can’t go wrong with any of them when the leaves are at their peak!
We were able to fit in one last fire tower hike before work started. We decided to make it a mid-week hike both to avoid weekend traffic on the trails, and because our last weekend was predicted to be a cold and rainy one. This time, we drove to Caroga Lake to hike to the Kane Mountain fire tower. It was a grey day, but not too cold, perfect for a hike. You can make a loop out of the 2 trails that lead to the peak, which is what we did. We took the one that looked to be shorter and steeper going up (about .6 miles to the peak) and the longer, more steady one going down (around 1.5 miles). After hiking them both, we honestly feel like the longer one wasn’t any less steep than the supposedly “steeper” trail, but that could be because the muddy, slippery ground made everything seem more challenging.
I’ve found that hiking in the Northeast has been a learning experience in many aspects. Before moving here, we had done a little hiking in the Appalachians in the Carolinas, some in Colorado and Utah, and were very familiar with trails around the Midwest, but most of our hiking experience has happened in Arizona. Hiking in Arizona presents its own unique challenges: dry and hot climates, higher elevation, limited shade, lots of different wildlife, prickly things, and more, depending on where you are. However, there is one thing that hiking in Arizona didn’t prepare us for, and that’s hiking in different seasons! You can find winter and fall in different parts of the state during the right seasons. But if we knew a peak was colder and prone to getting more snowfall, we’d save it for warmer months and hike the hotter, less shady peaks in the winter. Here, we don’t really have that option, so we’re learning to adapt to the different challenges each season presents.
The main challenges with fall hiking are mainly the fallen leaves covering muddy ground. I know that doesn’t sound like a challenge, but we found it to be tricky on the steeper sections when we’d step on leaves that would start sliding down the hill. It hadn’t rained a significant amount, but just enough that the ground was very wet and slick at times. Going downhill was way more challenging than going up — which is why we chose the steeper trail up.
At the peak of Kane Mountain, the only way to get a view is to climb the tower. The fall colors were still there, though it was noticeably different than the weekend prior. On our way back down the mountain, we stopped for a while to check out a dam, then made our way home. Our ninth fire tower completed in less than 2 months — not bad, considering we were traveling out of state for the equivalent of 1 month during that time!
One last thing that was on our “fall bucket list” was to take Charlotte to a corn maze! We had been scheming this since we were in Canada, and we finally had a sunny day to do it! We went to Schuyler Farm in Schuylerville to do their “haunted corn maze”. The farm had other activities that you might see at your typical pumpkin patch/corn maze, but we only went for the maze. And the cinnamon donuts and apple cider. Yum. Anyway, we tried to let Charlotte lead us through the maze, but if we had left it completely up to her then we would have been running between rows for days just following her nose. So we helped her out a little. 😉 The funniest part of the day was when we were walking back to the car past the petting zoo. I wanted Charlotte to see the goats, but she wasn’t too sure about them. The goats, however, were completely entranced by her. Every single one in the pen walked over to where we were and was staring at her! She wasn’t too cool with that. 🙂
Now it’s only November, but I feel like fall is already over and we’re moving quickly into winter — more on that later! We are SO thankful for the opportunities given to us that led to us being able to enjoy fall in the Northeast. There is truly nothing like it!