Pillsbury Mountain

BY– SHAUN O’NEILL

  • 3.3 total miles up and back
  • 3605′ max elevation, 1460′ elevation gain
  • Panoramic views from the fire tower

Pillsbury Mountain is a fairly short but satisfying hike, ending with beautiful views of surrounding mountain ranges and lakes, and home to a defunct ranger station and fire tower. To get to the parking area within the Perkins Clearing wilderness area, head north on Route 30 out of Speculator and make a sharp left onto the dirt road immediately after Mason Lake. Continue on the dirt road for several miles and follow the signs for Pillsbury Mountain.

A few different trails leave from this lot, follow the Pillsbury Mountain trail which deceptively seems to be going downhill, but that does not last for long. The first mile is steadily up hill with little relief, but not overwhelming. The final push mellows out a bit and opens into a small clearing which is home to the boarded up ranger station and the fire tower.

The tower is not maintained, but is study enough to get yourself above the trees. Unfortunately going up the tower stairs is the only way to get the views, as the clearing is surrounded by tall thick forest which leaves you feeling like you’re within the walls of a mountain top fortress.

Soak in the sunshine and the views, and make your way back. I suggest it as a three season hike only because the roads into the parking area can be questionable during the winter, but if they are clear I imagine it would make for a beautiful snowshoe trip. This is also one of the fire towers for the for the Adirondack Mountain Club’s Fire Tower Challenge, so be sure to keep track and hit them all!

Backpack the Catskill’s Escarpment Trail

BY- CHRISTOPHER ZAJAC

The 23 mile Escarpment Trail offers sweeping views and challenging hiking along the northeastern border of the Catskill Mountains in New York. Several prominent American artists found inspiration for their paintings from the vistas on the trail.

The Escarpment Trail runs the length of the Catskill Escarpment. The Escarpment rises steeply from the valley below forming the northeast corner of the Catskill Mountains. It offers great views toward the Adirondack Mountains to the north and the great Hudson River to the east. The trail is moderately challenging with diverse scenery.

You can comfortable complete this backpacking trip in 3 days and 2 nights. I took a moderate pace so that I would enjoy everything the trail had to offer. My trip began at the trailhead at NY 23 and Cross Road in Windham, NY and ended at the DEC parking lot on Schutt Road near North-South Lake campgrounds. My GPS logged a total trek of 32.4 miles with 8,000 feet of elevation gain. (This included a small side jaunt on the Blackhead Mountain Range to Black Dome Mountain.)

I hiked the trail north to south. I parked my car at Schutt Road and called a taxi service (Smiley’s) to shuttle me up to the trailhead on NY-23. I waved to the driver as he left me realizing, my only way back to my car was to walk. It was quite motivating.

Some of the views you shouldn’t are from the west shoulder of Blackhead Mountain, Stoppel Point, North Point, Newman’s Ledge, and Sunset Rock. There are many other vistas along the way. Each one offers a different perspective the surrounding mountains and Hudson River Valley.

The trail is well marked and well maintained. Sources for water are scarce, so be sure to have enough carrying capacity. On my trip, I used maps by the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference, which I highly recommend. There are a few intersecting trails that offer a way to civilization should you need to bail out early.

If you are interested day hiking through the region from a base camp, I recommend checking out the North-South Lake Campground run by the NY Department of Environmental Conservation.

Vroman’s Nose

Vroman’s Nose is one of most popular hiking destinations in the area. Hike this local landmark in the Schoharie Creek Valley.

Once you leave the parking area, the first 0.25 miles you ascend up an “old woods” road. You will then head left into the forest. At approximately 0.4 miles you will come to a junction. The trail on the left is where you will return from. You will also start to notice aqua blazes among the trees. These blazes mark the Long Path which travels 350 plus miles from New Jersey to New York.

Once you reach the top take in the views but also take note there are steep drop-offs. Though this is an easy family hike, keep a close eye on little ones at the top. The summit features a flat area known as “The Dance Floor”.

Just under the 1.0 mile mark you will reach the last outcrop (great picture opportunity). Here you will also start your descent, shortly after you will turn left. Follow the level trail back to the first junction you encountered. You will then return the way you came.

PACK LIST

  • Sturdy Shoes
  • Snacks
  • Water
  • Camera
  • Snowshoes (winter)

APA Fails To End Criticism Over Boreas Ponds Options

In response to public criticism, the Adirondack Park Agency staff came up with a fourth option for classifying the Boreas Ponds Tract, but it hasn’t ended the controversy.

The APA board is expected to vote Friday to hold public hearings on the four options, despite complaints that the staff failed to present a full range of alternatives for the tract and failed to properly analyze the alternatives it did present.

On Thursday, the State Land Committee voted to approve the hearing schedule and the four options, setting the stage for a vote by the full board, which is expected to follow suit.

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Recent Forest Ranger Search and Rescue Missions

DEC Forest RangerNew York State Department of Environmental Conservation Forest Rangers respond to search and rescue incidents in the Adirondacks. Working with other state agencies, local emergency response organizations and volunteer search and rescue groups, Forest Rangers locate and extract lost, injured or distressed people from the Adirondack backcountry.

What follows is a report, prepared by DEC, of recent missions carried out by Forest Rangers in the Adirondacks.

Essex County

Town of North Elba
High Peaks Wilderness
Lost hiker: On Oct. 7 at 12:25 pm, DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from Essex County 911 requesting assistance for a 31-year-old female from Cohoes lost near the summit of Tabletop Mountain. A DEC Forest Ranger and the Marcy Dam caretaker located the woman at the GPS coordinates provided by Essex County 911 approximately 50 yards from the trail near the summit. She was escorted out to the trailhead at 5:51 pm.

Town of Keene
High Peaks Wilderness
Lost hikers: On Oct. 7 at 8:04 pm, DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a direct call from a 41-year-old woman from New York City lost with her parents on Three Brothers Mountain. She was able to provide GPS coordinates from her phone but stated they had no flashlights or headlamps. A DEC Forest Ranger responded and located the family at 9:14 pm. They were escorted out to the Garden Parking area. The incident concluded at 9:49 pm.

Town of North Elba
High Peaks Wilderness
Injured hiker: On Oct. 9 at 3:07 pm, DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a radio transmission from a Forest Ranger requesting assistance for a 21-year-old male from Glenwood, Md., with a lower-leg injury on Algonquin Mountain. A DEC Forest Ranger and an Assistant Forest Ranger responded and stabilized the injury. The man was assisted to Marcy Dam and transported by utility terrain vehicle to the Adirondak Loj parking area. He said he would seek medical attention on his own. The incident concluded at 4:15 pm.

Town of Keene
Giant Mountain Wilderness
Injured hiker: On Oct. 9 at 12:10 pm, DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from Essex County 911 requesting assistance for a 48-year-old female from Niskayuna injured on Giant Mountain. DEC Forest Rangers responded and located the injured woman. She was stabilized and evaluated. Rangers escorted the woman and her two children to the trailhead. She was taken to an area hospital for further medical treatment. The incident concluded at 1:58 pm.

Town of Keene
High Peaks Wilderness
Injured hiker: On Oct. 10 at 1:12 pm, DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a radio transmission from an Assistant Forest Ranger at Johns Brook Interior Outpost requesting assistance for an injured 19-year-old female from Amherstberg, ON, Canada. She was able to hike to Johns Brook but could not continue from there. New York State Police Aviation responded with a DEC Forest Ranger on board to a landing site at Johns Brook. She was taken by helicopter to an area hospital for further medical treatment. The incident concluded at 3:48 pm.

Town of Willsboro
Private Lands
Lost hikers: On Oct. 10 at 2:18 pm, DEC Central Dispatch advised DEC Ray Brook Dispatch of two females (18 and 19 years old) from Plattsburgh lost on Rattlesnake Mountain. The hikers had lost the trail and were on a herd path heading toward Lake Champlain. The hikers’ GPS coordinates were obtained from their cell phones. A DEC Forest Ranger responded to the trailhead and directed the women to follow the drainage path uphill. They were located at 3:58 pm in good condition. The hikers returned to their vehicle at 5:03 pm.

Town of Keene
Dix Mountain Wilderness
Injured hiker: On October 16 at 5 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a transferred call from Essex County 911 requesting assistance for a 20-year-old female from Rome who had sustained a lower-leg injury while descending Noonmark Mountain. DEC Forest Rangers responded, located the woman and stabilized her injury. Additional Forest Rangers were requested for assistance in carrying the injured woman out to the trailhead. She said she would seek medical attention on her own. The incident concluded at 8:17 p.m.

Hamilton County

Town of Indian Lake
Blue Ridge Wilderness
Lost hiker: On October 12 at 12:41 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from a 66-year-old female and an 82-year-old male, both from Philadelphia, Pa., lost on Sawyer Mountain. A DEC Forest Ranger responded and drove down the road adjacent to the trailhead, using the vehicle’s siren in an attempt to attract the hikers to the road. The pair located the road and walked out to meet the Ranger. They were returned to their vehicle at 1:05 p.m.

Herkimer County

Town of Webb
Fulton Chain Wild Forest
Injured hiker: On Oct. 9 at 2:44 pm, DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from Herkimer County 911 requesting assistance for a 51-year-old male from Elba with a non-weight bearing injury on Bald Mountain. DEC Forest Rangers responded with the Old Forge Volunteer Fire Department and the man was packaged for a litter carry. He was carried down to the trailhead to a waiting Old Forge EMS ambulance and taken to an area hospital for further medical treatment. The incident concluded at 5:16 pm.

Lewis County

Town of Lyons Falls
Private Land
Injured paddler: On October 16 at 3:09 p.m., a DEC Forest Ranger received a call from Lewis County 911 requesting assistance for a woman who was injured and entrapped in her kayak near Knives Edge on the Moose River. The Forest Ranger responded along with the Lyons Falls Volunteer Fire Department and EMS and the Lewis County Sherriff’s office. The team used technical rope rescue techniques to rescue the stranded woman. She was evaluated, stabilized and carried out via litter to an awaiting ambulance. She was taken to an area hospital for additional medical treatment and the incident concluded at 4:32 p.m.

Washington County

Town of Fort Ann
Lake George Wild Forest
Lost hikers: On Oct. 3 at 4:38 pm, DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a transferred call from Washington County 911 concerning fa 29-year-old female from Catskill, a 32-year-old female from Albany, and a 31-year-old female from Clifton Park lost on Sleeping Beauty Mountain. They were able to provide coordinates from their cell phones. DEC Forest Rangers responded to the Hog Town Parking area. The party was able to hike within a half mile of the parking lot with the assistance of cell phone communication. A Forest Ranger met them and escorted them to their vehicle. The incident concluded at 8:02 pm.

Be Prepared: Properly prepare and plan before entering the backcountry. Visit DEC’s Hiking Safety webpage and Adirondack Trail Information webpage for more information about where you intend to travel. The Adirondack Almanack reports weekly Outdoor Conditions each Thursday afternoon.

Editorial Staff

Stories written under the Almanack‘s Editorial Staff byline are drawn from press releases and other notices.

To have your news noticed here at the Almanack contact our Editor John Warren at adkalmanack@gmail.com.