>> Saturday, September 30, 2006
What a beautiful week to spend in the 'Dacks! I had won a bid on a week long stay at Bjorn Lodge in Racquette Lake. This was part of Vera House's yearly Live Auction and I got it for a steal! I was in awe of this place...it truly was a retreat....right down to the complementary fudge brownie mix and recipe to make this batch in a large cast iron pan! We had cinnamon-scented candles, which only further added to this retreat at the height of peak autumn season!
Saturday we went hiking up Wakely Mountain. Though shy of a High Peak status, certainly was not tiny, as it come in as 3,760'. The first half was incredibly easy and felt more like a leisurely stroll through the woods. The second half, though much rockier and steeper, still does not compare to Cascade Mountain, considered the easiest of the High Peaks.
Below is a very rustic cabin at the summit of Wakely. Apparently people can use it if needed, it has a wood-burning stove, kitchen and bedroom with a cot and dresser.
There is also a fire tower on Wakely. At 100' high, it is the tallest fire tower in the 'Dacks and is listed in the National Historic site. From there, one can see a lot, if it was a clear day! Unfortunately it was drizzly all day and couldn't see anything.
After returning to the lodge, we all sat down to a wonderful spaghetti, sauce, and meatball dinner that my sister had made and brought up to the lodge. Between that wonderful dinner, the roaring fire and my own special recipe of hot mulled cider and Captain Morgan's Spiced Rum and a cinnamon stirrer....Yumm!
The following day my sister and I went for a 3 1/2 hour horseback ride that took us down to Cascade Lake for a quick picnic before returning. The horses were beautiful, although a bit to eager to gallop across the open fields. My sister rode Junior, I had Cisco, and the guide had Midnight. I got a bit nervous when galloping, as it was a bit difficult to get them to slow down...they were not too responsive to pulling back on the reins and wanted nothing better than to gallop across the open fields. It wasn't too bad though and definitely got my blood going! :)
This is my sister, being helped onto Junior by Andy, our guide. That's Cisco you see in the foreground.
After spending a few hours riding, we decided to check out Big Moose Lake area for a bit. My sister's husband's family owned a camp there and they used to go out there years ago. Close by is the Eerie Glenmore Hotel, where the infamous Gillette Murder took place years ago.
For those unfamiliar with this "American Tragedy", "...Chester Gillette, murders his pregnant Girlfriend, Grace Brown, all for the love of another woman, a rich and beautiful socialite." The setting begins in Cortland and ends on Big Moose Lake and The Glenmore Hotel. Craig Brandon has done excellent research on this for his books "Murder in The Adirondacks" and "Grace Brown's Love Letters". His 12/21/04 Blog Post, compares Chester Gillette with Scott Peterson!! A movie was also made about that murder, titled "A Place in The Sun" and had such notables as Elizabeth Taylor, Montgomery Clift, and Shelly Winters. That movie won six Academy Awards that year! They just had the 100th anniversary 'celebration' in July.
I get a kick out of being somewhere and running into someone I know. And the more 'out of context' it is, the better! We stopped at The Big Moose Inn for a couple cocktails and appetizers. I walk into the bar and lo and behold, Steve, a guy I used to work with, is tending bar there!! Now, all the locals there can tell we are 'visitors', and they're all ears as he and I start chattin' up a storm. It was good to see him! He's good people! We nibbled on a seafood-stuffed portobello and also split a shrimp cocktail. The shrimp was the largest I have EVER seen!! It was wonderful. I finished that off with a decent Shiraz. Yeah, I know...you shouldn't pair seafood with Red, but I go with what I like! :)
Hard Left! Hard Left! I said "HARD LEFT!!!
Went canoeing the following day. The water was pretty choppy but I was bound and determined. This was a first for my sister, so I took the the back seat. For a first time, she did pretty good and actually got the hang of it pretty quickly. It was kinda funny tho to try to steer clear of the marsh on either side as we made our way down a narrow strip with the wind blowing! Almost like one minute we were fine, the next I'm yelling "Hard Left!"
Saint Gabriel, you're a pretty accomplished Canoer, I'm sure you would have laughed!
Toward the end of the week, my sister and I did another mountain....Blue Mountain. Still not a High Peak and the same height as Wakely (3,760'), but more similar in terrain like Cascade. The wonderful part about this one....it was 70 degrees and sunny the whole day!!! It was beautiful!
This is what a typical Trail Head Marker looks like:
Some pics of the trail on the way up:
Looking up, it's Pretty rocky but not as bad as Cascade.
According to the Trail Guide I had, this particular part of the trail below, has a large crack running up from it. It states it is possibly from an earthquake and is approximately 1.15 BILLION YEARS OLD! Though the rock is quite old, Blue Mountain is not, having formed with the rest of the Adirondacks about 5 million years ago. It also says that the 'Dacks are Still Rising, about one millimeter per year.
Most, if not all, mountains have Purveyor's Benchmarks from the U.S. Geological Survey that 'officially' record the height of a specific peak and the date it was done. Below is a replica of what Mt. Ranier's looks like (when new):
Below is a pic I took of the Original Benchmark by Verplanck Colvin, who is believed to be the first person to have reached the summit of Blue Mountain in 1882.
Below is the newer 'official' benchmark that I found about 30 feet away from the original:
Like most people who like to go Peak-Bagging, I like finding these benchmarks once at the summit! I think it adds to it.
But once at the top, if the view is clear, you are given a view that goes beyond the written word. And because I don't have a decent camera and am not a photographer by trade, the pics below can't even hold a candle to what my eyes took in that day!!!
Below, from the left, you can see Whiteface Mt., Santanoni Peak, Algonquin Peak, Mount Colden and then Mt. Marcy:
Unfortunately, this pic does not do it any justice!!! I'm quite saddened by that. To really understand how incredible this is, you really need to see this with your own eyes. Try looking at a map to see where Blue Mountain is located (close to Long Lake) and then find Whiteface, Santanoni, Colden, Algonquin, and Marcy are. Whiteface, which is 5th in size, is soooo far North to Colden, Algonquin, and Marcy, it's not even really part of the High Peaks Area. Whiteface is located wayyy North of Lake Placid, and most of the rest of the high peaks are located far south of Lake Placid. But from this pic, it looks like it could belong in the same area!! I found a great interactive site that shows the High Peaks, using a Google Map. Check it out here!
If interested in the 46 High Peaks of The Adirondacks, click here.
Facing south, you see Blue Mountain Lake. You can also see (from Left to Right) Lake Durant, Snowy Mountain, Panther Mountain, the Cedar River Flow, Wakely Mountain, and Crystal Lake:
Though it was about 70 degrees and sunny that day, reaching this summit and climbing their 35' fire tower, it was very, very windy, and my nose was cold and started to run! Cold!!!
Though I was tired from this climb, upon descending we ended up having a quick picnic along side Buttermilk Falls. Yes....it's a different one from the one located in Ithaca, as I've discovered there are Four Falls by the same name!
I spent the last day of my time relaxing and checking out gift stores and 'towns'.
Overall, a wonderful time!
I'm Already wonderin' what peaks I want to bag next year.