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Accessing the High Peaks from Long Lake Base Camp

By guest Blogger Spencer Morrissey

Owls Head Mountain, Helms’ Aero Service, the Hotel, Hoss’s Country Corner are all things that spark a memory in all of us when we think of Long Lake. But what many don’t realize is that Long Lake makes for a great Basecamp for the High Peaks Region, in fact a portion of the High Peaks Region falls within the town limits. I’m talking about Upper Works and the Tahawus Region. Within a pinch over a half hour you can be at three distinct trailheads that will access you to over a dozen of the 46 High Peaks, not mention many other locations like Duck Hole, Mount Adams, Flowed Lands, Lake Colden, Indian Pass, and Hanging Spear Falls.
Now to break it down a bit for you here are the three locations and the High Peaks you can enjoy from right out Long Lake’s backdoor.

Santanoni and Duck Hole Trailhead: This is located on the left just over 2-miles past the intersection at the Tahawus mine.

Santanoni, Panther, and Couchsachraga can all be climbed from this trailhead and usually as a long day trip. The loop consists of around 14 miles of road walking, trail hiking, and herd path navigation. The views are outstanding and the remoteness of the region is like few others.
Mount Adams and Allen Mountain Trailhead: This is located on the right just over 3-miles past the intersection at the Tahawus mine.

This trailhead is much more popular for Mount Adams that it is for Allen Mountain, but if you want to climb Allen, this is the ONLY trailhead to do so from efficiently. Allen is a very long, nearly 18-mile round trip that will encompass hiking on marked trails, road walking, and navigation of a herd path.
Upper Works Trailhead: This is located at the end of Upper Works Road which is just over 3.5-miles past the intersection at the Tahawus mine.

This trailhead is like a mecca for hikers and during busy weekends will be packed like sardines with cars lined up the road. From here you can access many of the High Peaks and have options for camping as needed for the long hikes.
• Mount Marshall – 14 to 15 mile RT over trails and a distinct herd path
• Algonquin and Iroquois from Lake Colden – 18 to 19 miles RT using trails and a herd path for Iroquois. This is not the most popular route to these peaks but if you want a challenge it will give you that.
• Mount Colden – 15 to 16 mile RT using all marked trail. This will gain you one of the most fantastic High Peaks on the list and this trail is a fun one, steep, but fun.
• Mount Cliff and Redfield – a 16+ mile RT day is what it will take for these two peaks by using marked trails and distinct herd paths to both of these summits. You will be challenged and you will love it. This trailhead is one of the more popular approaches to these two peaks.
• Gray Peak, Mount Skylight, and Mount Marcy – These three peaks while easily accessed from this side will require a 20+ miles RT day, and that’s to get just one. If you so desire all three, a day trip would be one for the record books, but done more often that one might think. Consider one night at Uphill Lean to break up the distance and then come back to Long Lake for some great food and drink to celebrate.
Shorter Hikes from the Tahawus/Upper Works Region are not lacking, so if you have the family or just want to get out for a stroll. Here are a few to consider:
• Mount Adams – 5.2 miles RT over moderate to steep terrain
• Flowed Lands – 9.4 miles RT over moderate terrain
• Summit Rock in Indian Pass – 7.4 miles RT over moderate to steep terrain
• Old MacIntyre Furnace Historical Site – Roadside attraction
• Lake Jimmy – 1-mile RT over easy terrain
• Tahawus Ghost Town – Roadside attraction
• Lake Colden – 11.4 miles RT over moderate terrain

John Collins Former LLCS Teacher Honored

On, November 14, 2009 John Collins was awarded the honorable achievement, the Howard Zahniser Award by the organization, Protect the Adirondacks. He received this award for his efforts, courage, education and passion to protect the Adirondack Park & Catskill Park. I was asked to write something about his time teaching at Long Lake Central School and I thank all of you who generously shared some very funny memories and the following is a compilation of insights many friends shared, so I thank you. FYI Howard Zahniser was the author of the federal Wilderness Act of 1964. I was honored to be asked to write something for the program because Mr. C was a very important influence on my own personal history and on so many others who contributed to this compilation.

The following appeared in the program…
He made an indelible impression on the students passing through his classroom. He expected participation, and was often met with resistance, but he never gave up. He went out of his way to encourage those who didn’t embrace traditional modes of learning for hard labor, hammering nails, reading, physical exertion, or memorizing poetry.

He wore the part well, with a macramé belt, short sleeve print shirt and a cotton tie with a flat end, and he was often heard muttering, “don’t touch my tie.” He made us memorize “El Dorado,” “The Road Not Taken,” and all of the state capitals.

Mr. Collins exposed students to culture through senior trips to Paris and London. He advised the Student Council and National Honor Society. He introduced students to Albany through the Student Senate Policy forum. He stashed cookies in his desk drawer, and pretended not to notice when cookie crumbs trickled down the face of guilty students. His demonstrated finesse by teaching politeness, differentiating between the words “can and may” “Can I go to the bathroom?” “I don’t know, can you?”

He initiated our first relationship with the great outdoors by exposing students to their own backyard, the Adirondacks. There were the mandatory hikes with sixth grade teacher and partner-in-crime, Gary Baker. Yearly trips up Chimney Mountain to explore caves, steep terrain up to Blue Mountain, pushing students up Mt. Marcy, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing into Sargeant’s Ponds and the ultimate rite of passage: the fifth grade overnight. Destinations varied year to year… Kelly’s Point or Marcy Dam.

Mr. Collins, or Mr. C as he was affectionately known, encouraged kids who had never been into the wild to appreciate the natural experience. Rain or shine there were hikes. He tolerated whining, scraped knees, mud, inappropriate shoes, and general disinterest, able to turn apathy into curiosity. His infamous side trips often questioned by inquisitive young minds asking, “are we lost?” His confident response as branches hit his torso and neck, “we’re bushwhacking!” Relief etched on his face as soon as the lean-to appeared. He and wife Ellen always packed their tent to maintain peace and privacy. From his tent he would occasionally beckon “go to bed!” while students giggled and flicked flashlights on and off, amazed how quiet the woods actually were.

His laugh, his floppy hair, his passion and competitive game of kickball carried us through and made our brains work, for that we forgive his impatience and thank him for instilling us with fever for knowledge and an appreciation for what we may have ignored had he not been there to open the door.

Added 2017.
John Collins died on June 16, 2017. Today, June 24, 2017, an abundance of family, and friends gathered in Blue Mountain Lake and Long Lake to celebrate his exuberant life and the gifts he shared with so many. As his grandson said so eloquently today, “even the lake looks sad” It’s a quieter day in the Adirondacks.

Thank you Mr. C.

A collective history was compiled by the alumni of Long Lake Central School through Facebook. Memories from: Roberta Sutton McKinney, Jan Hunt, Maureen Rayome Turcotte, Scott Wight, Lynn Wight Stonier, Seth Baker, Melanie Boudreau Marcone, Michael Marcone and Alexandra Roalsvig.

Long Lake