Tuesday, November 1, 2011

ADK Firetower Challenge - Continuing, but ......

Even though we have successfully completed the ADK Fire Tower Challenge, we're not done! . The book is done! Either Roger or Mike, or both have completed the last of the Fire Tower trails. So the "book"' is on its way to the editor and publisher with all of the fire towers in it. But for this Blog, we actually still have two more towers to do next spring. So stay tuned until we do the remaining towers for this Blog, and until the book comes out next spring. We'll keep you posted then.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Wakely Mountain - October 15, 2011

We left Glens Falls, NY on our way to Wakely Mountain, about 90 minutes away. The temperature was about 60 degrees with light winds and clear skies when we left. We hit intermittent rain showers along the way and decreasing temps. Upon arrival at the base, we donned raingear and headed up. Three miles and nearly 3 hours later, after an ascent of 1635 feet, we finally reached the summit at nearly 4000 feet. (3744 to be exact). The temp up there was 34 degrees, with heavy winds. While we were there, the rain turned to SNOW! In October!

The ten story firetower was impressive, but we couldn't climb it in those conditions. But it is done for the upcoming book, and we had a fun day of adventure and exercise, even if we didn't get to see those great views from the top we were promised. Maybe next year, on a CLEAR and much WARMER day. :-) http://www.rogerfulton.com/ Stay tuned, we still have two more towers to climb this year.

Monday, September 26, 2011

The "Prize" of the ADK Firetower Challenge

As of this date, we have technically completed the ADK Firetower Challenge. We've climbed all five of the mountains in the Catskill Preserve. And we've climbed more than 18 of the 24 mountains in the Adirondack Preserve. We submitted this Blog to the ADK Saratoga/Glens Falls Chapter that sponsors the "Challenge." They approved us and sent us each the patch to the right which recognizes our accomplishment of completing the challenge. So we SHOULD be done with a feeling of great success under our belts. But, being the "over-achievers" that we are, we have vowed to do "every" firetower listed in the challenge. That will include the newest one, not even on the list yet, at Loon Lake Mountain in Franklin County. There will be a guidebook published on all of this by the spring of 2012. Twenty-seven of the 29 chapters in that upcoming book are already written. So stay with us! It's all great fun. (Three more to go!)

Monday, September 12, 2011

Bald (Rondaxe) Mountain - 9/11/11

This was a "fun" mountain to climb. It's only about 400 feet to the summit. Much of it is over bare rock. Thus, the name "Bald" Mountain. The views along the way, as well as at the top are great. But on a more human note, we met a great family who had just come down from the top. It was the Honan Family from Spencerport, NY. They are 'musical' family' with an album pending. They are an example of how "Family friendly" this firetower mountain is. After all, the 8 of them did it! Check out their website at: http://www.honanfamilymusic.com/

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Woodhull Mtn - 9/10/11 - Old Forge, NY

To climb this mountain we had to mountainbike in 5 miles on a dirt and gravel forest road. That just got us to the START of the firetower trail. Then we were going to hike 2.5 miles up the mountain, climbing 800 feet to the summit at about 2400 feet and the firetower. Then 2.5 miles down and then mountainbike out another 5 miles to our vehicle. We think that's why this is billed as the "least visited" firetower in New York State. So, naturally, we HAD to do it! So, overall we hiked and biked just under 14 miles over about 5.5 hours for the day. We had our usual "subs and suds" on the summit, and a VERY good day overall. Tired, but accomplished!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Gore Mountain - August 27, 2011 - 3583 feet

With a 2500 foot ascent over 4.7 miles, this proved to be one difficult and tiring mountain to climb. Although potentially hazardous at times along steep ridges, the views of the waterfalls and the views from the top were all well worth it, even on a hazy day. (Like we EVER hit a clear day.) :-) Overall, we hiked more than 10 miles for the day. MORE than enough for us! We'll take a two week break before we tackle the 15 miles of Woodhull Mountain in Old Forge.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Lyon Mountain - August 24, 2011 - 3830 feet

We found the trailhead without any difficulty. But the trail, that was a different story. We wanted to go up the green trail and back down the red trail for a loop trail. We decided that from our research from the book on firetowers and other info from the Internet. Turns out none of our sources of information were correct. All were outdated! Couldn't find the GREEN trail, because we believe there never WAS a green trail. And the steep red trail is still there, but no longer marked because the non-existent green trail is now the red trail. We sorted it all out! (That's what we do.) The new RED trail consists of a series of switchbacks that make the 1900 foot climb a little more enjoyable, albeit a mile longer. Once we sorted it out and climbed for about 3 hours, all was good and we actually found a firetower with great views, even on a hazy day. The photo is proof that it exists, at the end of the CURRENT red trail! Life is good.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Mt. Adams, NY - August 22, 2011 - 3520 feet high

A broken suspension bridge had us wading across the Hudson River for openers. A floating bridge, shown here with Roger crossing it, was our next mini-adventure. And that was just in the first mile. After that we learned why this is considered a "difficult" climb in the Firetower Challenge. Its steep climbs and solid bedrock trails challenged us, but after 2 1/2 hours of climbing we reached the summit and the firetower. Fantastic views! It's why we do this. Along the way we met a solo hiker named Bob from Long Island on his 65th of the 100 highest peaks in the Adirondacks. He hiked down with us. Maybe THAT will be OUR next challenge? Not!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Hurricane Mountain - 8/9/11

We found out why it is called Hurricane Mountain when we reached the summit. On an otherwise calm day, the winds on top caused us to go for our jackets, even on a mid-August afternoon. Wow! and "majestic" describe the mountain views from this summit, even on a hazy day. You can identify Whiteface Mountain by its ski trails carved into its face. Lake Champlain and Vermont can be seen to the east. It was a 2000 foot climb, but well worth it for the view. We got drenched on the way back down, but it was still worth it for the great views.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Pillsbury Mountain - August 6, 2011

We hiked our 20th mountain today. What we found on top was the highlight of our day, and an excellent example of an active American Family. At the 3597 foot summit we met the Sundeen Family from Voorheesville, NY, outside of Albany. Each year they take vacation time to climb 2 or 3 of the firetower mountains in the ADK Firetower Challenge. They started the boys out when they were 3 and 5. Today they are 10 and 12, and still hiking their way up the Challenge ladder. We met them on top of their 18th mountain completed. Before the week is out, they hope to be up to #20. Great parents with a great idea. We applaude them!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Owls Head Mountain - August 4, 2011

We climbed up to this firetower today at 2780 feet, sometimes looking funny climbing on our hands and knees. But that's not as funny as a story we found about an Owls Head Fire Observer and his wife, who lived here for many years. One very hot day the observer sent his wife down the mountain to get some groceries and beer. When she got back, the wife began her trek back up the mountain with her supplies in her pack basket. Well, along the way she got thirsty so she put the pack basket down and drank a beer. She then threw the can off to the side and continued her journey up the mountain. It was a VERY hot day, and she had to take a few more breaks along the way and proceeded to drink a beer with every break. A trail of empty cans marked her path to the tower.

When she finally reached the cabin, her husband looked inside the pack basket to retrieve a beer to quench his thirst from a long hot day in the tower. He searched and searched but could not find a single beer. He yelled, " Hey, I thought I told you to get some beer!"

His wife replied, " You did, it is very hot, and I got thirsty along the way!"

Here is a picture of the firetower at the top of Owls Head Mountain, and that pink dot at the base of it is Kate. She managed to make it all the way to the top with enough beer for us each to enjoy one to celebrate our climb. That makes 19 of 28 mountains done to date!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Blue Mountain - August 2, 2011

"Boulders and bedrock" describe this strenuous trail to the top. That "climb" was more than 1500 feet in elevation change. But we were certainly not alone, even on a Tuesday afternoon. More than 15,000 people climb this firetower mountain every year. And we think most of them were on the trail this day. :-) We earned that beer at the top! It was a GREAT day with GREAT views and a real sense of accomplishment. Thanks for checking in.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Mt. Arab - July 28, 2011

Okay. We were hiking the fourth mountain in four days. We were tired and pretty much worn out. But, we wanted to do Mt. Arab as long as we were in the Tupper Lake area. So we did it. It was well worth the trek. We met Janelle, our "Summit Guide" at the top. She answered all of our questions and it was a great trek to great views. Life is good! At the top we wondered how a giant boulder could hve been set on this mountain top summit. Y'all draw your own conclusions. Thanks for checking in. Roger

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Azure Mountain - July 27, 2011

This was supposed to be an "easy" trail. It would be - for a MOUNTAIN GOAT!!! :-) It was a nearly 900 foot ascent over just .8 miles. That's steep by most people's standard. But it was well worth the climb when we reached the top with fantastic views of the Adirondack Mountains. After three mountains in three days - we're beat! One more tomoorow before a few days of rest.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

St. Regis Mountain - July 26, 2011

We hiked up 3 miles on a strenuous climb. 4 1/2 hours round trip. Lightning and thunder actually drove us off the summit. Great day, great climb, great views. But this tower has not yet been renovated so this sign was a bummer. However there is hope. There is a Friends of St. Regis Firetower. They could use some financial and volunteer help. http://www.friendsofstregis.org/

Monday, July 25, 2011

Cathedral Rock - July 25, 2011

It only took us 6 miles of hiking to do this less than 2 mile trail. Along the way we survived incredibly bad directions, torrential downpours, mud and cloudy views, but we conquered the Latham Trail up to Cathedral Rock. It's an easy trail - once you find it - (Now you can with OUR directions). The trail is easy, but not without its hazards as exhibited by this warning sign. Maybe we should apply for combat pay from my publisher.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Vanderwhacker Mountain - July 14, 2011

"Level over the first half, then relentlessly steep." That's the billing we found in Freeman's firetower book about this hike. And this one is only considered "strenuous", not "difficult." So after 1.22 miles of deadfalls and mud, it was only then that we started up the next mile and the climb of more than 1500 feet to the top. About half way up we asked, "Why are we doing this?" The answer came at the top with this view of the Adirondack Mountains from above the trees. :-)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Poke-O-Moonshine Mountain - July 12, 2011

We took the new trail up to the top of the mountain to find the "cab" of the firetower draped in Old Glory. Co-author Mike Carpenter climbed the 2 mile, 1250 foot ascent with us. He thoroughly irritated us by not breathing hard, and looking as fresh AFTER the hike as he did before the hike. We'll get even with him; somehow. But it was a great, albeit HOT, day on the mountain and a good time was had by all! And, we have now completed #12 of 28 firetower mountains. Stay tuned for more.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Belfry Mountain - July 7, 2011

Okay, it's a mountain at 1820 feet. But you can drive to it at the 1700 feet level. That makes it a climb of only 120 feet and probably, by far, the easiest firetower climb in the "challenge." That's okay. There is a firetower and a great view at the top, all the way to Lake Champlain and Vermont.

But the kinda weird thing is that we did Goodnow Mountain on July 4th. While on top a couple and a young boy arrived while we were there. Three days later, in the afternoon, we met the same couple coming DOWN from Belfry, just as we were headed UP! We had a nice chat about, "What are the chances" of such a meetup? Guess we're all having fun and on the same schedule!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Goodnow Mountain - July 4th, 2011

We celebrated the 4th of July by climbing up Goodnow Mountain near Newcomb, NY. A day trip from Glens Falls, it was 1 1/2 hours to the trail, and just over a three hour trip up and back. A little tough, but listed as a "moderate" trail in Freeman's book. We were seriously disagreeing with Freeman's definition of "not steep", but reasonable people can disagree. Overall it was a great day - hot, humid and "steep" by our standards; not Freeman's. :-) But we survived, just fine.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Hunter Mountain - June 26, 2011 - Rip VanWinkle

We met Rip VanWinkle on this firetower trek! He fell asleep near here in the late 1700's and slept for twenty years. completely missing the American Revolution. Then woke up to a whole new world. At least that's the fictional story according to author Washington Irving in his short stories book published in 1819. Located at about the 3200 foot level of Hunter mountain, just off the high point of the Colonels Chair lift, is a memorial to good old "Rip". It took 14 years to complete this monument out of a chunk of 8 tons of blue sandstone by sculptor, Kevin VanHenteryck. Oh, yea, we found it at the END of our 4 mile, RT hike, up about 900 feet to the Hunter Mountain Firetower. Did we mention that? The photo is of Rip, not Roger; although they are about the same age. :-)

Monday, June 13, 2011

Red Hill Firetower - Re-do - June 12, 2011

In December of 2010 we climbed this mountain in 6 inches of snow. But.... Someone forgot to get the GPS reading at the summit! And since we ALWAYS do what we write about, it had to be done once again. But this time it was even better. On top, we met "Vince" hanging out 8 stories high on the tower. He was the volunteer "Tower Guide" according to his sign in at the base. And, he had the keys to get up into the "cab" at the top where the observers watched for fires. Even Roger, who hates heights, couldn't resist climbing up the nine stories to the top and looking out. It was the first time he has climbed to the top of one of these firetowers. It was a limited view on a foggy day, but Roger remembered to get his reading this time! It was a fun trip, no matter what the reason. And Vince was a good "Tower Guide" for us.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Balsam Lake Mountain - June 11, 2011

The downpours had passed when we began our trek up this Catskill mountain. And, we were pleasantly surprised when we completed our 2.7 mile climb in a relatively dry condition. We were met by Mike, the volunteer firetower guide and "keeper of the keys" to actually get up into the top of the tower where the fire observers actually stood watch for about 100 years. Sadly, the "view" from the top was almost non-existent due to heavy fog. Kate and Mike could barely even see Roger from the top of the tower. But we made it up the mountain today, enjoyed learning from Mike and had a great day! The photo to the right, with Mike and Kate at the base of the tower puts the tower in perspective.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Overlook Mountain - May 28, 2011

It was a two hour drive from Glens Falls to get to this firetower trail near the town of Woodstock, about 100 miles north of NYC in the Catskill Preserve. We climbed, almost constantly, for over two miles up a gravel and dirt forest road, climbing about 1400 feet in elevation. At about 2900 feet we found the ruins of an old hotel originally built in 1871. (Photo here.) At about 3200 feet we found the Overlook Mountain Fire Tower. We found great 360 degree views from the tower. Kate had the "courage" to brave the mountain winds and actually made it to the top of the 8 story, swaying tower. First time she's made it all the way to the top of one of these. We have photographic proof not shown here. Congratulations to Kate! That's #7. Only 21 more mountains to climb this summer! :-)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Mt. Tremper Fire Tower April 19, 2011

Continuing our ADK Fire Tower Challenge adventures, we went down to the Catskill Mountains, about 20 miles west of Kingston to challenge Mt. Tremper. It is billed as a 3 mile trek with an elevation climb of about 2000 feet. It is billed as a "moderate" hike up. Well, it lived up to its billing on a cool and rainy day. We completed it with the great view of the fire tower as exhibited here. :-) It was a tough climb after months of "flatlander" hiking in Florida over the winter, but it's in the books now!

Although Overlook Mountain was the next one scheduled for April 21st, a stone induced, foot arch bruise on this trek has sidelined Roger for at least a few days. But it will be re-scheduled when he is up to it and it can be resheduled, probably the second weekend in June. Stay tuned as we progress through the summer.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

"The ADK Firetower Challenge" - suspended until spring

We will continue the ADK Firetower Challenge in the spring - April, we think. Roger is in Florida doing a book on the trails in the Ocala National Forest. Kate is back teaching 6th graders at some undisclosed school district in New York, freezing.
But you can follow all of our activities, books and antics at: www.RogerFulton.com whenever you like.

Red Hill Firetower - 12/11/10

In the Catskill Preserve on a December day we trekked up the mountain on 6 inches of fresh powdered snow. According to the check-in log, no one had been up the mountain for several days. So we were alone with silence and new fallen snow and no tracks to follow. But the trail was as well marked with yellow markers as any we have seen.
We found any number of animal tracks from voles to chipmunks to what we think, were bear tracks - from the night before – we hoped.
Overall, it was a fantastic day of peace, solitude and nature!

Kane Mountain 11/06/10

It got us breathing hard, even on this relatively short trail. (Remember, we’re out here to have fun?)
Wow! We read estimates on this trail from .4 miles to 1.8 miles. If you hike it up and down, you will have covered about 1.5 miles by our readings.
Ascent : Our GPS read the parking area at 1,675 feet, and the summit at 2173 feet. That’s an ascent of roughly 500 feet over .75 miles. Go for it, but take your time. It's a "heart starter."
We found the firetower and the old Observers Cabin pictured here.

Black Mountain Firetower 10/10/10

Hey, we should have played the Lottery with these numbers on 10/10/10. That's when we climbed Black Mountain. That is the highest mountain in the Lake George Region. We climbed about 2.5 miles up from about 1247 feet to the summit at 2645 feet. Great view of Lake George. It was a little hazy, but here is what the view was from the summit.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Spruce Mountain 10/09/10

1.1 miles up at a steady climb. 2.2 miles round trip.

We GPS’d the base at 1018 feet, and the summit at 2044 feet. That’s an ascent of 1026 feet over 1.1 miles.

What we saw:
This was a steady ascent through mixed wood forests. On a Fall afternoon, we were surprised at how little wildlife or birds we saw or heard. ???? But, that 73 foot high fire tower is impressive. You can’t climb it, but you can explore the cliff area and just imagine what those forest rangers could see from their view on high.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Hadley Mountain Firetower - 9/26/10

Not far from where I live in Glens Falls, NY is Hadley Mountain. So it was the first one we climbed on September 26, 2010. It's about a 2 mile hike to an elevation of about 1530 feet. It was hazy at the top and we couldn't get a good photo of the wonderful view; but you can see for miles, with almost NO civilization in sight. Great! So you'll have to settle for the photo of the firetower itself. It was a great little hike and we bagged our first firetower mountain in The Challenge.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The ADK Firetower Challenge!

Firetowers in the last century were constructed to identify small wildfires, before they became major wildfires in the Adirondack and Catskill Mountains of New York. 23 of those firetowers remain in the Adirondack Park. Five remain in the Catskill Park. By definition, they are all atop mountains and overlook other mountains.

The ADK Firetower Mountain Challenge is sponsored by the Saratoga/Glens Falls Chapter of the Adirondack Mountain Club. To meet their challenge you must climb 18 of the 23 Adirondack firetower mountains and all 5 of the remaining Catskill Park Mountains. We'll be writing a guidebook after we meet this firetower challenge. But we'll keep you updated, via this Blog, on our activities as we progress.

Please subscribe and join us on this fun trek!