January 25, 2018: Baker Mountain, Saranac Lake
Good to be back in the ADK! Hiking today was one of those days where the challenge is to keep your nose. 2 degrees with a high of 14. The sky was a clear, cornflower blue (like Crayola) and everything had permafrost ice crystals on it. We chose the trail for its simplicity, and length, no scrambling and round trip over in 3 hrs or thereabouts. We opt not to attempt summiting in winter, rather be safe than sorry. We are not that familiar with the Saranac area trails and so today was expanding our horizons! Well worth the extra distance.
January 26: Cobble Ledge, Wilmington NY
Another day of exploration! Bill read about this trail from our 2014 hiking book, at the time it was “just opened and not thoroughly marked” however, by 2018 the trailhead is marked, and the foot trail clearly visible. It was level 3 mile round trip with a beautiful view of surrounding mountains (never know which is which) and the summit of Whiteface peeking through (look carefully and you can see it). It was still, and silent as we sat and had our coffee and hot cider. It actually felt warm (14 degrees) and so we took in the view and headed back.
Every now and then, we choose to do something touristy. We wanted to take the road up to Whiteface summit, but when we got there, it was closed for the winter.
Instead, we went to High Falls Gorge an old classic Café Souvenir type spot, that supplies yak-tracks and has a 1/2 mile round trip enclosed boardwalk trail that tours the beautiful roaring waterfalls below the Gondolas of Whiteface. The staff there was warm and welcoming. With a cup of coffee and the yak-tracks on our boots, we did the gorge trail (like tourists) and had a great time.
Added signage explaining flora and fauna added to the fun of the path, and for a bit of trivia, we learned that a 20-ton slab of Adirondack Basalt was laid as the corner of the Freedom Tower.
January 27th: Heart Lake Loop
Final full day in the Adirondacks this time around. Overcast, light snow, we took it easy today and decided to do Heart Lake Loop. Easy peasy, just a nice hike, level snow covered and still. Great way to wrap up the vaca.