Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Visiting Lake George

To the Iroquois she was known as An-Di-A-Ta-Roc-Te which translates to 'the lake that shuts itself in'. The French settlers knew her as Lac du Saint Sacrement (Lake of the Blessed Sacrement). The British later named her Lake George in honor of his majesty George II of England. There was even an campaign to change the name to Horicon by James Fenimore Cooper. She is known as the 'Queen of American Lakes', but whatever her namesake she is certainly majestic. So much that in a letter to his daughter, Thomas Jefferson wrote "Lake George is without comparison, the most beautiful water I ever saw; formed by a contour of mountains into a basin... finely interspersed with islands, its water limpid as crystal, and the mountain sides covered with rich groves... down to the water-edge: here and there precipices of rock to checker the scene and save it from monotony."

Formed by glacial activity over many years, two rivers that once flowed through what is now the Lake George basin were blocked and filled by advancing and receding glaciers. The melting glaciers that then filled this basin gave us Lake George, since then natural springs and streams took over keeping the water crystal clear.

I have visited Lake George for years and it seems I am just scratching the surface of what there is to see and do.

Heading south into the village from the junction of US-9 and 9N

Looking down Montcalm Street from Canada Street, Shepard Park is on the left.



Daisies, Black-Eyed Susan's and others.

A peek down the alley that runs along Christie's on the Lake.

Dining al fresco is common in Lake George as seen here at the Sicilian Spaghetti House & Pizzeria.

Village docks in the evening.

The perfect fishing hour. The lake has bass, perch, trout, landlocked salmon and other species.

Moorings of the Lake George Steamboat Company, from left to right are: Lac du Saint Sacrement, Mohican, and the Minne-Ha-Ha.

The sidewalk along the lake runs all the way to the Boardwalk Restaurant and Marina (far right).

Nightly gathering at the fire pit for marshmallows, hotdogs, chit chat and relaxation. Mountain View Cottages are a great place to stay.

There's always something interesting to see at night.

There are always motorcycles around, and in fact during the first full week of June, Lake George hosts the World's Largest Motorcycle Touring Rally - The Americade.

Many homes and businesses are landscaped with colorful flowers such as this Tiger Lily.

and these Day Lilies I found while searching for the Prospect Mountain foot trail.

On the backstreets of the village if you search you can find the Trailhead to Prospect Mountain foot trail. I hiked up to the Prospect Mountain highway to before the Cascade/Porter hike.

Part of the path crosses over the Adirondack Northway, these stairs lead to a walkway overpass.

Above I-87, the Adirondack Northway looking north from Prospect Mountain foot trail.

Crossing over Prospect Mountain Highway (the easy way to the top).

Support pillars, remains of the incline railway that took visitors from the village to the top of Prospect Mountain. The railway ran from 1895 until it ceased operation in 1903 for financial reasons.

More remains of the incline railway.

The trail is steep and follows the old incline railway bed.

I think this little guy wanted a handout. He was making noise to attract my attention.

Breathtaking view of the bays from Top Of The World Golf Resort.

From the foreground Dunham Bay, Harris Bay, and Van Warmer Bay.

Looking East toward Fort Ann from Top of the World Golf Resort.

Over one hundred years old the Sagamore resort in Bolton Landing.

Shelving Rock Mountain in the center with Huckleberry Island to the left and Refuge Island to the right.

Lac du Saint Sacrement on her way back to the docks.

Some nice boats at the village docks. Pilot Knob is the far mountain.

Shepard's Cove Restaurant on the left with Shepard Park on the right. The steeple from Caldwell Presbyterian Church is seen just above the trees.

If you've ever visited Lake George Village there is no doubt you've heard the steam calliope on the top deck of the Steamship Paddlewheeler Minne Ha Ha.  The sound carries through the valley, and is a constant reminder of where you are. Minne Ha Ha translates to 'Laughing Waters' the name given to the wife of Native American Chief Hiawatha.

Lac du Saint Sacrement, the largest of the fleet.

Horse and carriage rides are one of the attractions of the village.

Just another great day at Lake George.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Hiking Cascade Mountain and Porter Mountain in the Adirondacks

Five million years ago glaciers advanced and retreated over what is now North America. This movement of ice and stone carved a 160 mile wide dome of rock to form what is the Adirondacks. Adirondack is an Anglicized version of 'ratirontaks', a Mohawk word meaning 'bark eater'. This was a derogatory name given to the Algonquin tribes by the Mohawks for their practice of eating the bark of spruce trees when food was scarce during the long winters.

In the Adirondacks there is an area called the High Peaks. There were 46 peaks originally named as High Peaks being over 4000 feet above sea level. Later surveys show that four of these peaks are not above 4000 feet and one peak that was not included. Due to tradition the list was not revised and remains as originally discovered. Climbers who have made it to the summit of the original 46 are known as 46ers or Adirondack 46ers and can be officially recognized by the organization. The truly hearty that climb all of these peaks between December 21st and March 21st belong to the Winter 46ers, of which there are currently 507 members.

I decided to start with Cascade Mountain since I was making a day trip from Lake George and the typical hike time was listed as five hours. To my benefit I found that I could also hike Porter Mountain with just a little additional time and thus get two of the 46 hikes in.

Heading North on the Adirondack Northway just past Schroon Lake.
 High Peaks Welcome Center on the Adirondack Northway I-87.
The base of Round Mountain on NY-73 approaching St. Huberts.

None spotted on this trip.  This sign is across from the trailhead by Mud Pond on NY-73 in Lake Placid.
Trailhead to Cascade and Porter.  44°13'8.23"N  73°53'15.49"W

Carry-A-Rock To Cascade
Help to protect the fragile alpine vegetation by carrying a rock to the top. The rocks will be used by Summit Stewards used to stabilize the fragile Alpine Soils, build steady cairns, and define trails on the summit. Thank You!
At the summit, you will find a similar sign. Please leave your rock at the sign. Please DO NOT leave your rocks on existing cairns.
Registration sign.

Heading the right way.
Stairway? On the Cascade trail.
Nearing the top of Cascade.
The summit is in sight.
Follow the blazes near the top to stay off the fragile Alpine Ecosystem.
Atop the highest peaks, above the tree line, there is a total of 87 acres (352,000 m²) of extraordinarily fragile alpine ecosystem; the amount of this ecosystem is constantly changing due to variation in the climate from year to year. -Wikipedia

On the way up I was told by a hiker that it was super windy on top, she was right. I estimated the winds at about 50 mph steady with gusts to about 80 mph.
Route 73 at Upper Cascade Lake (dead center of the photo), rough location of the trail head.
U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey Reference Marker.
Alpine vegetation, remnants left from the last Ice Age!
Mt. Van Hovenburg Recreation area on left with Olympic Bobsled and Luge runs, Round Lake left center, and Lake Placid is hiding just beyond the haze on the right. Next time hiking shoes are in order.
Remember to carry a rock?
Another small area of the Alpine ecosystem.
Looking down the west face of Cascade.
This couple from Toronto made the ascent with their two young sons ages 10 and 12. I met another couple in their sixties with their grandchildren, and also a middle age couple from Romania.
The yellow NYS DEC trail markers are on the trail between Cascade and Porter.
The trail between Cascade and Porter can get a bit muddy.
View of Big Slide Mountain from the summit of Porter.
Cascade summit from Porter.
Looking southeast from Porter, a nice view of many High Peaks.
Reindeer Lichen found along the trail.
Wooly Bear. According to legend it is going to be a long winter.
Marcy Field.
Heading back to Lake George 4% complete to becoming a 46er.