Three Great Guided Fall Hikes
by Elizabeth Folwell
Fall is simply superb for exploring the Adirondack backcountry, and the lack of biting insects is a definite plus. However, once the big-game seasons open many hikers avoid the woods.
This doesn’t have to be so. Wearing high-visibility colors and traveling in a group are smart strategies, and the town of Long Lake is sponsoring treks that head to very interesting terrain.
West Mountain, the 2,900-foot peak that looms over Raquette Lake and offers great views of Pigeon Lake Wilderness and Blue Mountain, is the destination on Saturday, September 28. Guidebook author, 46er, licensed guide and Long Lake native Spencer Morrissey will lead the 9.6-mile round trip. The trailhead can be hard to find and the route has challenging portions, so his local knowledge is a big asset in climbing this lesser-known peak. The trip leaves at 9:00 a.m. To reserve a place in the free outing call Long Lake Parks and Recreation at (518) 624-3077.
On Saturday, October 5 bird expert and licensed guide Joan Collins will lead a daylong trip to Hitchins Pond and Lows Ridge, country that is glimpsed by paddlers but not often explored on foot. This is where you may spot bald eagles and loons, sometimes in the same vista. Some of the trip is on old roads, some ascends a ridge, so plan on a full day that covers approximately eight miles. When you register with Long Lake Parks you can also order lunch from the Adirondack Trading Post—$10 gets you a thick deli sandwich, beverage and snacks. The group departs Long Lake town offices at 8:00 a.m.
Rugged Indian Pass is the featured hike on October 12, a 10.4-mile one-way hike from the Upper Works to Adirondak Loj. Morrissey, who knows the High Peaks well, leads this expedition that has amazing views and fascinating history. Terrain varies from easy to quite difficult; the trip leaves Long Lake at 9:00 a.m. and will take all day, including the hour-plus ride back on the town’s excursion bus.
All these require advance registration (518-624-3077) and are free. Space is limited to the first 15 hikers. Bring water, rain gear, food, binoculars and a spirit of discovery.