Hiking

Buttermilk Falls

Overview:
The trail to Buttermilk Falls is only about 0.1 miles, but Buttermilk falls is so much more than a walk. This destination is a great all-round spot for the entire family no matter age, physical ability level or experience.
Above the falls there is a canoe launch that can be used for boating up the Raquette River to a nice lean-to on a grassy point. Right above the falls there are several rock outcropping, opening up picnic areas and places to relax by the sounds of rushing water.

Below the falls there is also picnic spots, as well as swimming areas directly below the falls or a bit further down the Raquette River. The rocky falls are not recommended for climbing or diving from and should be highly respected.
There are also picnic benches in the area as well as a hiking trail. The hiking trail is designated as a canoe carry and part of the Northern Forest Canoe Trail. You can hike this trail to the put-in below the falls. Past this put-in there is a herd path along the river to access nice swimming areas downstream as well as attractive views out over the water. Eventually the herd path will connect with another carry trail and eventually end at two lean-tos on the south end of Long Lake.

Distance Round Trip:
Less than 0.5 miles
Approximate Time:
Minutes to the base of the falls, 30-minutes to the twin lean-tos on Long Lake

Trailhead Location:
From the intersection of Route 28 and Route 30 in the Town of Long Lake follow Route 28/30 toward Blue Mountain Lake. Continue to North Point Road on the right (located on sharp corner). Follow North Point Road for around 2-miles to the parking on the right.

Winter Access:
This area can be easily accessed in winter but the falls are much less dramatic. However the ice formations on the rocks can be very interesting. Be aware that the area can be very dangerous and slippery during the colder months.

Information and photos provided by Spencer Morrissey of Inca-Pah-Cho Wilderness Guides – 607.267.3474

Leaf Peeping Fall Hiking Trips Slated for Long Lake Area

The Town of Long Lake will be offering three fall hikes during the leaf peeping season. The dates for the hikes will be September 28, October 5 and October 12th. They will be led by NYS certified guides Spencer Morrissey and Joan Collins. These hikes are offered to participants for no charge, but gratuities for the guides are encouraged and appreciated.

Spencer Morrissey

Spencer Morrissey is a 46er, a bushwack 46er, and Adirondack 100 finisher. He has climbed 675 different Adirondack peaks. Morrissey is proficient in GPS, map and compass navigation. In addition to year-round Adirondack excursions, Morrissey has also been a team leader of a Mt. Rainer expedition, a Team Leader for Mount Adams in Washington State, completion of New Hampshire’s 4000 footers, Death Valley expeditions as well as a vast resume of winter excursions. Morrissey is the author of “The Other 54,” and “Adirondack Trail Runner.” He also writes for the Lake Placid Visitors Bureau and the Town of Long Lake’s website www.mylonglake.com/blog.

Joan Collins is a New York State licensed bird guide, bird walk leader, writer, speaker on ornithology topics and an Adirondack 46er. She has led walks and made presentations for many organizations including Audubon, the Adirondack Mountain Club, and the New York State Ornithological Association. Joan is a serious ear-birder and is fascinated by bird vocalizations/sounds, bird behavior, migration, and the history of North American Ornithology. Joan Collins is a Fully Insured, New York State (NYS) Licensed Guide. Joan is a
Board Member NYS Ornithological Association and Northern NY Audubon Society.

View from Lows Ridge, photo by Spencer Morrissey

Saturday, September 28, West Mountain, in Raquette Lake, NY with Spencer Morrissey. Departure 9am. On this 9.6 mile round trip outing you will enjoy a slightly challenging full-day hike up a former firetower peak. This peak even without the tower offers very nice views of the surrounding area. Located in Raquette Lake you will have the opportunity to enjoy another region of the Central Adirondacks.

Saturday, October 5, 2013, Departure 8am
Lows Ridge/Hitchins Pond with Certified NYS Wilderness Guide, Joan Collins

Join Joan Collins for a walk into beautiful Hitchins Pond and the Upper Dam on the Bog River. Common Loons nest on Hitchins Pond each year. Bald eagles and Great Blue Herons are also a common sight. The route is an old dirt road that passes through many lovely and varied habitat areas. After the 2.5 mile walk on level terrain to Hitchins Pond, there will be a food break at a scenic picnic area. There will be an optional 1.5 mile round trip hike up Low’s Ridge featuring spectacular views of the Bog River Valley and High Peaks.

This is a flat, but long trip in a very isolated area. Hikers must be in appropriate condition and carry ample energy food and lunch due to the length of the walk. Check in with trip organizers to order a lunch to be delivered trailside from the Adk Trading Post for $10. The trip is approximately five to six hours in length.

Bug protection, hat, sunscreen, water, lunch, binoculars and appropriate clothing/jacket and footwear. Lunch menus will be provided and must be returned and paid for in cash before departure.

Saturday, October 12, Indian Pass with Spencer Morrissey, 9am
This 10.4 mile, one way through hike has been one of the more popular outings we have offered and have decided to open it up again for those who missed out. This time we will be hiking all the way through the pass from Tahawus to Lake Placid where the little bus will pick us up. This outstanding historic hike offers easy to very difficult terrain, but along the way the views and vistas are well worth the added effort.

All hikes require pre-registration and up to 15 can sign up for the excursion. Hikes are open to all ages, and children under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult. Call 518-624-3077 to reserve your spot.

Free transportation is provided and all trips will depart from the Long Lake Town Offices, 1130 Deerland Rd, Long Lake NY. Pre-registration is recommended. Register by calling 518.624.3077. Please note that there are different departure times. September 28, West Mountain 9am, October 12th, Indian Pass, 9am and October 5th, Hitchin’s Pond/Lows Ridge 8am.

Gratuities Encouraged!

Sargent Pond Loop in Long Lake, NY

This year, Long Lake is offering a new opportunity to hike with Certified Guide Spencer Morrissey. Morrissey is a Long Lake native and has extensively hiked the Adirondacks. This is a unique opportunity to not only hike amazing locations, but also learn more about the area while doing so.

July 15th Castle Rock Loop.
July 29th, Owl’s Head Mountain.
August 5th, Mount Adams
August 12th Indian Pass.

All trips are free and will leave from the Long Lake Town Offices at 1130 Deerland Rd. at 8am. Tips are not required, but they are appreciated. Pre-registration and waiver is required. Children under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult. The Town of Long Lake will provide the transportation to the trail heads and back at the end of the day.

Overview:

Sargent Ponds are located in the approximately 45,000 acre Sargent Ponds Wild Forest and is open to all kind of outdoor activities from mountain biking, hiking, backpacking, fishing, trail running, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and hunting.

The Sargent Ponds Loop makes for an excellent outing for the entire family. One of the nice things about this loop is it can be hiked in its entirety or only in parts. With three very distinctive ponds along the loop, a visitor could visit one or all of them depending on what they had in mind.

For this entire loop it would be required for the hiker to walk North Point Road for 1.5 miles back to their car, unless a second car were available to spot. However, as a visitor to the area a second car might not be an option. With that in mind, the road is a nice walk at the end of a day, but an out and back to Lower Sargent Pond might just be the ticket.

Bug repellant close by, water bottles full, boots tied tight, and camera at the ready you’re off. Starting from the eastern trailhead and hiking in a clockwise direction, just because, you have to start someplace. After a surprisingly quick 1.2 miles over a somewhat heavily used trail you will come to a trail intersection, with only one sign. The sign pointing right leads to
Lower Sargent Pond; left and unmarked is a 0.2 mile trail to the shore of Upper Sargent Pond. Upper Sargent Pond is worth the short hike, if for no other reason than to just look out over the calm waters. This is a fabulous place for a picnic or to wade out and cool off on a hot day. The waters are very shallow allowing hikers to wade out well beyond what most ponds offer.
Returning back to the junction, make this left toward Lower Sargent Pond. This segment of trail is a little more serious with small ups and downs, possible wet crossings, and sections of trail that are very narrow and getting overgrown. Along this route you will begin to see a long marshy area to your left which is part of Middle Sargent Pond but not actually the pond itself – no trail leads to Middle Sargent Pond. At 2.7 miles you will come to another intersection – right is to Grass Pond (the trail you will need to return to) and left is to Upper Sargent Pond. The sign reads Upper Sargent Pond 0.1 miles. A trail then continues along the northern shore for about 0.2 miles to a lean-to if you wish to see it. The trail also continues straight and ends at the Shore of Raquette Lake, 4.0 miles away.

Retrace your steps to the intersection, take that left and continue the loop. This will bring you along a well-maintained trail toward Grass Pond and the western trailhead. It’s only about 0.6 miles to Grass Pond, whose shore is just that, grass-covered, wet and mossy. It is challenging to reach open water, best left for the ducks. However, with that being said, it is a great place to do a bit of bird watching. Great Blue Herons, red-wing blackbirds, and numerous species of song-birds frequent the tall grasses. The slap of a beaver tail or the laughing cackle of a pileated woodpecker could be heard in the distance. The remaining 1.3 miles to the road is a nice, mellow stroll. Small rolling hills dot the landscape and add to the experience. Once at the North Point Road you will need to get back to your vehicle if a second car was not available. It’s a 1.5 mile walk along the windy, somewhat well-traveled road, back to the other trailhead.

Distance Round Trip:
6.8 miles
Approximate Time:
Family of Four with Kids: 3 to 4 hours, loop
Experienced Hiker: 2.5 to 3 hours, loop
Out of Shape Hiker: 3 to 4 hours, loop

Trailhead Location:
You can find these two trailheads off the Forked Lake Road in Long Lake. Start at the three corners in Long Lake drive south toward Blue Mountain Lake on Route 28N/30. North Point Road will be on the right, in 3.0 miles – drive down North Point Road. There will be a fork in the road a few miles in; right leads to Forked Lake Campsite, left to the trailheads. The trailheads will both be marked with state DEC signs on the left side of the road. The first trailhead is at 3.1 miles from the intersection with Forked Lake Road; 1.5 miles separate the two trailheads.

Winter Access:
This loop makes for an excellent snowshoe trip, as well as a decent cross-country ski outing. Parts of this loop get subtle use from snowmobiles, so it may have track set for you. If not, you can expect heavy snow and fresh powder.

Information and photos provided by Spencer Morrissey of Inca-Pah-Cho Wilderness Guides – 607.267.3474

Death Falls aka Death Brook Falls Makes for a Great Photographic Destination

Overview:

This trail, while quite short is an excellent destination for photographers and bird watchers. You will first need to pinpoint the metal gate which marks the start of the trail. This is not too difficult, just be sure to look for it just west of the entrance to the NYS Golden Beach Campground. There is parking for 2-3 cars. Passing by the gate you will be on an old access road that brings you through a grass field with an attractive wetland to your left.

As you continue by the wetland there are a few small areas that you can approach the shore, but don’t get too close the edges are a bit unstable in parts. This opens up great opportunities for birding and wildlife photography. As you continue through you will notice a split in the trail. Right will lead you around to above the falls – the area above the falls is not recommended for young children. The left fork will lead to the base of the falls. At this point you should be able to hear the water pouring to the rocks below. You will have a small stream crossing to where you will be able to see the falls to the right.
Death Falls is a wide fanning cascade where in the spring or after a heavy rain spell, rainbows often develop. Use this area to do some additional photography, but be aware that the rocks along the brook are very slippery and loose. The steep slopes of Estelle Mountain are directly to the south, as a small pond at the base of the mountain helps nourish this wonderful natural feature.

Elevation:
1950’
Ascent:
180’, easy
Distance Round Trip:
0.6 miles
Approximate Time:
Family of Four with Kids: 1/2 hour to base of falls
Experienced Hiker: 15 minutes to base of falls
Inexperienced Hiker: 1/2 hour to base of falls

Trailhead Location:
From the intersection of Route 28 and Route 30 in the Town of Long Lake follow Route 28/30 toward Blue Mountain Lake. In Blue Mountain Lake follow Route 28 toward Raquette Lake for just under 10-miles to the trailhead. This trailhead is located on the left about 0.3 miles past the entrance to Golden Beach Campground. Look for a metal gate across a dirt access road. There is no trailhead sign.

Winter Access:
This makes for an excellent snowshoe or very short cross-country ski destination. Parking in winter can be tough, it is all dependent on if the parking area is plowed.

Information and photos provided by Spencer Morrissey of Inca-Pah-Cho Wilderness Guides – 607.267.3474

Hiking Coney Mountain by Guest Writer Spencer Morrissey

Coney Mountain

Overview:
The trail for Coney Mountain used to follow the county line and climb steeply through rutted terrain to the top of a high ridge. This trail has since been closed and moved a bit further (200’) north along Route 30.
A state trailhead sign now marked the start of the trail and enters what appears to be a dark forest from the road. But once in the woods it becomes very well lit as the light penetrates the canopy. The trail for the majority is very rocky and still quite new, so footing is a bit rough in areas. Following the well-developed trail you will sweep your way around the steep western slopes of the mountain. As the trail steepens a bit, it continues to contour its way around to the northern slopes of Coney Mountain and then meets up with the original trail just below the summit. The final approach is over slab rock, no scrambling is necessary. The views start to open up with Goodman Mountain to the north and Mount Morris to the northeast. The waters of Tupper Lake can be seen to the north as well and the wooded hills of the Horseshoe Lake Wild Forest to the west. As far as views go, this is one of the best in the area, with the best bang for the buck.

View from Coney by Guide Spencer Morrissey

Elevation:
2265’
Ascent:
515’, easy to moderate
Distance Round Trip:
2.2 miles
Approximate Time:
Family of Four with Kids: 1 to 1.5 hours to summit
Experienced Hiker: 45 minutes to 1 hour to summit
Out of Shape Hiker: 1 to 1.5 hours to summit

Trailhead Location:
From the intersection of Route 28 and Route 30 in the Town of Long Lake follow Route 30 toward Tupper Lake. Continue for a little over 12 miles to the Hamilton and Franklin County Line. There is a parking lot located there with a postal box on a state sign. The trail is a couple hundred feet up the road on the opposite side of the road. Be very careful of traffic when crossing Route 30.
Winter Access:
This trail is typically broken out by midday after a storm but can become quite slippery as you approach the summit, and typically very windy. This is a great snowshoe, not recommended for skiing.

Information and photos provided by Spencer Morrissey of Inca-Pah-Cho Wilderness Guides – 607.267.3474

Long Lake