May 2, 2009

Thomas Mountain * Bolton Landing

Jennifer suggested that we hike today sometime mid week. I love that she planned ahead for us to do something healthy both mentally and physically together....everyone needs that after a busy week at work! It also gave me the opportunity to "play" before I had to SHAMPOO CARPETS and BABYSIT MY NIECES AND NEPHEWS...WHEW....that is a whole different post people.

No short drive to a local hike should be without a DETOUR.....Yup, we knew exactly where we were going until they threw this little curve ball at us. The detour took us along the Schroon River on a dirt road to Ridin-Hy Ranch. This was CLEARLY not where we wanted to end up....Reagan and Jennifer share a love of horses though, so not all was lost. Reagan wanted to ditch the hiking idea and just go riding. Actually, when she heard the word "Resort", she thought we should rent a cabin and stay a while. Rather than feel stupid that we took an unnecessary trip, we regarded it as a little treat.

We got on the trail about 20 minutes later than we hoped, but it did not affect the ending time that we were shooting for. The trailhead is off Valley Woods Road, which is 4 miles east on route 11 from exit 24 of I-87. I only saw room for about 6 cars. In the summer, I am sure you need to get there early (or late) to get a spot. Reagan signed us in and along with Hudson, the three of us followed the obvious woods road which began to climb steady 10 minutes into the hike. Most of the hike was on good footing, not alot of rocks and boulders in the trail. It seemed moderately strenuous. At the one marker sign pointing us to Thomas, it said .8 miles and 557 feet of ascent. That is nothing to sneeze at. Round Trip is 3 miles to Thomas Mountain and 6 miles if you choose to do Cat Mountain in a loop. Just climbing Thomas fit with the schedules of the day and is a decent hike for the beginning of the season (and Reagan). We encountered a snake, toads and a grouse taking off that scared the bejesus out of Reagan. The bird sounds like an animal growling when it takes off from its perch on the forest floor. The scariness depends on how close you are to them. We remarked that this didn't feel like a "woodsy" hike but the payoff is a cute little cabin at the small summit lookout. We sat on the porch of the cabin and had a snack while enjoying the view of Lake George to the left and rolling mountains to the center and right. Notice that birch logs are the posts of the porch. When Jen pointed this out, Reagan informed us that she had noticed that right away. Well, I am glad she is paying attention to detail out here in nature! "Clearly" ( Jen remarked after Reagan used the term that she doesnt get it from a stranger...sounds funny coming from a 10 year old) Clearly, she is not as blind as we thought. Things are starting to green up, so the view was looking slightly plush..not as barren as a few weeks ago. Reagan asked if I had climbed this mountain before. I told her after two hadley mountain hikes in a row, I was happy to report that I HAD NOT climbed this one before.
Not the same old view of Lake George from this mountain. We had to look real hard to see any sign of civilization out there.

Clearly, Reagan is enjoying her cliff bar....after she confirmed it was not a peanut butter one.

We made it back to the car with a round trip total of 2 hours and 15 minutes. This hike could obviously be done much quicker without my 10 year old...but in all fairness, we all stopped often to look at the scenery (and rest). At one clearing, there were weird plastic cylinders that were protecting seedling spruce trees. We were guessing that a slide had occurred to create the clearing and the Land Conservancy is trying to fill the area back by protecting these little guys. It wasn't until we were on our way back that we noticed that in this clearing is a good size patch of Forget-Me-Knots. A favorite of Jen's late mother-in-law, who was also my great aunt. Was this a little whisper from her?

The slightest thing happened today that I am grateful for....when Reagan signed us out, she wrote thank you.


Cedar ... said...

Love that cabin. Does anybody stay up there now? Friends used to live on top of Pharoah Mt. approx 35-40 years ago when he was a fire warden. She had two toddlers at the time and had to backpack diapers and water up! They loved it! Kudos to Reagan for her signing out with a "thank you!"

A Keeper's Jackpot said...

That's sweet that she signed thank you. If she enjoys the peanut containing Clif bars, Walmart now sells 6 packs of them and the box is labeled "New Batch" and "Fresh Peanuts." Of course they cost more than they used to before the recall!

Jennifer W said...

Thanks for a great morning. We talked about spiritual nourishment, and a hike with a friend is just that. It fortified me for the rest of the day.

lynn benevento said...

Glad that you were able to get to hike in that area! I love it there. Just thought I'd let you know that the loop that includes the "ridge" between Cat and Thomas isn't what I would picture as a ridge. It goes up and down around 6 times and takes a while. We went from Cat to Thomas (after a late start) last November and we hiked around 2 hours in the dark. It was a lot more than we expected. This winter it went a little faster, as we knew what it was like. It is a beautiful walk through the woods and Cat has a wonderful view of most of Lake George. As you could see there is was a lot of logging and changes by people there and I think the area with the tree planting was a gravel pit or something like that. Those beautiful little flowers that we also used to call forget me nots are bluets or quaker ladies. We saw some also this past weekend on Tongue Mountain. I enjoy reading about your hikes!

Matt said...

I am glad you enjoyed your hike up Thomas. Have you hiked the loop?

I help maintain the trails here from time to time when needed. I usally work on the Pilot Knob Ridge trails on the other side of the lake, a 4 mile loop with a nice view and a waterfall.
This is a good hike for the kids, especally if they liked Thomas.

There is a section of open wood on the blue trail to the waterfalls that offers a lot of chances to bird watch.

Have fun