My father was fresh off of a somewhat failed attempt at a solo snowshoe to Wilcox Lake from the Northville trailhead last weekend. With the warm weather the crust had given way and he was post holing even with snowshoes on. There hadn't been anyone in there and there was no trail broken so he turned around at about halfway to where he was aiming for. So, he was raring to go today, but we sat and drank our usual coffee and ate donuts with the family until about 12:30 this afternoon. We were trying to interest my mother in coming with us. With such a beautiful day brewing I had wanted to take her to Deer Leap, which is on the Tongue Mountain range overlooking Lake George. It is a gentle up and down and quite short in length. However, my aunt and her grandaughter have just purchased snowshoes, so my mother volunteered to watch Reagan and take them all for a spin around the field behind our house. We all took off to get ready, and it was then that I thought I would suggest Black Mountain to my father. Another fire tower mountain for our unofficial fire tower challenge. Although I have climbed Black Mountain two other times, my father had not been with me either time, so this was perfect. My Husband and Golden Retriever actually did Black with me back in September 2007 and my mother, son and cousin had climbed it with me in June of 2008. Both of those times we did the pond loop, but getting such a late *2:00pm* start at the trailhead, I figured it would be best to go straight up to the summit and back. We started with our snowshoes on but the trail was firmly packed thanks to the snowmobiles that are allowed on portions of the trail. When we reached the junction to either take the trail to the summit or to the ponds, we removed the snowshoes and ditched them behind a log, taking the chance that barebooting would be quicker. Except for a few very icy spots this worked to our advantage. Where the ice was very thick and not manageable we stepped to the side of the trail and only post holed a handful of times. We made it to the summit by 3:45. It was very picturesque. Lake George is frozen which adds a quietness to the view (no boats humming around down there) and the day was clear enough to see several of the high peaks off in the northern distance. There was no wind whatsoever when we were first standing at the top and at the observer's cabin spot just below the summit. Very peaceful. There is a new windmill at the top. This too was still for about 10 minutes. I comfortably enjoyed my cliff bar, although as I just wrote that I realized it was a peanut butter one (not good!) Just as we were about to start descending, the wind picked up and the windmill began to turn. Even with a slight wind this made alot of noise and it was easy to imagine that it must generate quite a bit of power. wind turbines built. It did not take away from any part of being on the mountain. It actually felt more natural and sensible. We started down at 4:00pm with a little concern for the slippery conditions, but it turned out that only one of us had to give in and perform a tuck and roll to avoid a bigger type of slip and slide and possible injury. And it wasn't me. I did have a chuckle over this sight since he wasn't hurt and he too was laughing. I am just glad it wasn't me with my sister's camera. We made it to the car by 5:10. Round trip distance was 3.6 miles and the time was just over 3 hours. We didnt see any deer tracks, just a set of very large turkey tracks. The only motorized vehicle we ran into despite the packed down trail was a golf cart looking thing with a track rather than wheels. We noticed that adirondack artist Lynn Benevento had signed in to do the loop. When she signed out she left us a message in the registry. Maybe she will paint the view we saw today? This hike was pretty strenuous since 1.) I am not doing enough to keep myself in hiking shape, 2.) the straight trail to the summit is a steeper ascent and 3.) leaving so late made it so we needed to keep a quick pace to make it back to the car before sunset. It was a great time though and we were definitely due for an outing. We got coffee on the way out of Whitehall. When I arrived home, I got busy and made a quick vegetable soup for myself with chick peas, black beans, orzo, lots of veggies and turmeric, paprika and sage. Mmmm.