June 22, 2017 • Hiking Buck Mountain • Last Adventures in New York (for now!)
After returning from our Midwest trip, reality kicked in and we have been very consumed by our upcoming moves. We were pretty bummed that we couldn’t go out and enjoy the area more in our last weeks, but we made the most with the little time we had. We were able to get away for a couple afternoons to go letterboxing — we really enjoyed walking through Hennig Nature Preserve, on trails around the Lock 7 of the Mohawk River in Schenectady, and by the Saratoga Lake, an area we hadn’t even driven near in our 10 months of living here.
But we just couldn’t leave without hiking to one last peak! We took off for the Adirondack Park and let all those important phone calls go to voicemail for a couple hours. Just a few hours wouldn’t hurt, right?! We decided that hiking a peak in one of our favorite areas – Lake George – would be the best way to say farewell to this mountain range we’ve grown to know and love, and have made so many memories in. Buck Mountain was one of those that Curtis learned about early on, and would point out whenever we hiked other Lake George peaks.
If you’re looking into hiking Buck Mountain, there are several trails that lead to the peak. One is located off of Shelving Rock Road, which we’ve visited before, but today we opted for the one near Pilot Knob. We were mistaken in believing that this route was shorter, but it didn’t matter — it was a very pleasant hike and a good length at 3.3 miles one-way. The trail begins as a wide path with very little incline, then begins to ascend after the first trail intersection. As the trail gets higher, there are some rather steep sections, and there are more and more rocks in the trail. Watch your footing for rocks and tree roots in the path! The last mile is the steepest, especially once you’re nearing the end of the tree cover and onto the long sections of rock face. There’s no view before the false summit, but once you make it out of the trees you’re rewarded with the best view to the South and across Lake George. But don’t give up here, continue on to reach the actual summit for more views across the lake of the Southern Adirondacks, the Tongue range, and the high peaks on a clear day!
It was the perfect summer day to be hiking — the highs were in the upper 70’s and the humidity was very low. Beautiful clouds were stretched across the sky, and the visibility was probably the best that we’ve experienced while hiking out here! We were so grateful for the opportunity to be hiking today, and even more, to have hiked so many of the peaks we were able to see. It’s so fun to think back on our first hikes and remember how we looked out at these mountains and wondered what it’d be like to hike them, and what views they would offer. Then compare that with today, when we pointed out and named all the ones we’ve done. And yet, there’s so many more out there that we never had the chance to hike…I guess if we ended up living here again someday, we’d still have plenty of hiking to do. 🙂
However, I will say that despite enjoying this hike and the perfect weather, we are now thankful that we didn’t live here over a whole summer. Despite it being a Thursday, the trail was still very busy, and we assume that this is what it’ll be like for the majority of the nice summer days. We don’t mind crossing paths with hikers similar to ourselves; it’s the big, noisy groups that we’d rather stay away from. Especially the ones that like to blare their music on the trails, hiking confidently like they’re God’s gift to nature. Also, we’re still baffled by all the people who hike without water?? This is a 6.6 mile trail with a good amount of elevation gain; it doesn’t matter what season it is, why isn’t water the first thing you think of when preparing for a hike? Why is a portable stereo more important??? Anyway, we are thankful that we were able to enjoy so many peaceful, quiet hikes in other seasons, even if it was bitter cold. If you’re like us and looking for a quiet, enjoyable hike: find something more remote and less popular, definitely avoid the weekends, or better yet, wait until fall!
And that concludes our hiking adventures in the Adirondacks…for now! I’ll be sharing a post soon about what we learned while living in New York, and in that I’ll include how hiking has been different compared to the other places we’ve lived and hiked. Oh, and I’ll also be posting soon about our summer plans, and where we’ll be moving… It’s going to be a big change, but the good news is, we’ll still be near mountains!
If you’re interested in learning more about this hike, check out our trail recording on Alltrails.com