Pharaoh Mountain

Well the first hike of the season has officially been completed.  And it was well worth it – though longer than we had anticipated.  We hit the road to head for Schroon Lake about 7:30.  We arrived and started at the trail about 9.  We opted to save B’s car and trek in the 2 miles to the actual trail head  (a decision we somewhat regretted…but more on that later).


Ready to go! Selfie with the Hiking Gear!


So after the 2 mile hike to the actual trail head we headed in to “officially” begin our hike.  We immediately got some pretty decent views of Crane Pond.


a bridge just after hitting the trail, over Crane Pond.


View on the Right side of the bridge.


view on the left side of the bridge.

I always have an issue taking pictures on the way “in” for all my hikes.  So unfortunately there aren’t any photos of our hike up Pharaoh.  But oh well… most of the time i’m just super focused on making it to the top.  The worst part was the mosquitos!  They were attacking us from every angle.  Lots of bug spray was used on this trip!

We arrived to the “almost” summit and got  a great view of the High Peaks!


view from the “almost summit”

Just a little bit more of elevation and we made it to what we thought was the actual summit. Here we stopped to enjoy some lunch – and of course the view!



Since we had read that Pharaoh had lots of views from multiple “summits” after lunch we kept exploring.  And this is when we fond the TRUE summit.


Pano from the summit


Proof we made it!


unknown lake/pond from the summit

Then we began the trek down.  We had decided as we hit the first junction that we would do the Long Swing Trail down to Pharaoh Lake and then back to Gidden Marsh and Crane Pond.  Our calculations were that this would be a round trip of about 10 miles (which later we fond was WRONG!!!).

We had read that using the Swing Trail as the way up is supposed to be easier – and let me tell you IM SO GLAD we cam up the other way….this did not seem like a FUN trek up!

a couple places looked like this - we did not encounter anything NEAR this at all on the way up.

a couple places looked like this – we did not encounter anything NEAR this at all on the way up.

It did make for a fun adventure on the way down. After a rather LONG trek down we finally came to Pharaoh Lake.


a little friend we met on the way down… we actually saw about 3 of these throughout our whole trip.


Pharaoh Lake

Pharaoh lake was really gorgeous, so calm & quite.  It was really peaceful!

Then we came across this:


and realized that we still had 4.8 miles left just to get back to Crane Pond… then it would be an additional 2 miles back to the car… our realization that this would be longer than 10 miles began to set in…

This would be the longest 7 miles EVER!

taking a rest after we had to go back UP! AHHH!

taking a rest after we had to go back UP! AHHH!

By the time we hit this spot we were both ready to be DONE! It had been a long day, we had lost sleep over excitement for our first hike.  Yet we still had probably 3 or so miles to go… we continued on…

We did eventually make it back to Crane Pond, and back to the car… it just took much longer and I realized I NEED NEW BOOTS! My feet got fat this winter… and they need a new hiking home :( its a sad day for my Northface boots!

And we did decide we MUST return to the Pharaoh Wilderness.  The camping areas are amazing and we would enjoy camping by Pharaoh Lake and watching the sun set from the summit of Pharaoh Mountain!  Until we meet again Pharaoh!

Heres the Trip Stats:

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track from the Garmin eTrex 20

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Profile view

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This is a little wrong – its actually 11.0 miles +1.65 miles miles (for the first 1.65 miles, my Garmin had some issues finding satellites…so the first 1.65 miles wasn’t calculated.) ALSO I do find it hard to believe that this was 12.65 miles total… I also wore a fit bit and that calculated 15.39 miles for the day. I put it on a little before we left and theres no way I did almost 3 miles before/after the hike, especially since I took it off as soon as I got home. 

I Love Maps

I touched on some of my maps in my previous post on Navigation. But again, my collection has grown, so here's round two!

Of all my maps I think the Eastern NY All Outdoor Atlas and Field Guide is my favorite – BUT its way too large to take on hikes. So its more of a planning map. But it lists tons of trails and other outdoorsy things in Eastern New York (inluding all the High Peaks)


The maps I generally hike with are the National Geographic Topo Maps – they are awesome. They have most of the trails on them, plus they all have that waterproof coating and are tear resistant so they're perfect for most bad weather situations.


I have these: #748 – Green Mountain National Forest South, #747 – Green Mountain National Forest North, #742 – Adirondack Park: Lake Placid/High Peaks, and #755 Catskill Park

These maps were the first ones I purchased, and had I done some more research I probably would have started off with the National Geographic ones above instead. But I have these around for looking at if needed. They do cover more of the Adirondack region than then National Geographic one.



Books, Books and More Books

A while ago I did a post series on the top 10 Hiking Essentials and one of the dealt specifically with Navigation, where I touched on the maps I use. But now since my collection of supplies has grown I want to revisit everything! Yay. First stop my ever growing collection of books and why I like them.


I mean WOW look at them all! So heres the list:

  1. National Audobon Society Field Guide to the Night Sky
  2. National Audobon Society Field Guide to the Weather
  3. The Backpackers Field Manual – Rick Curits: I like this book so much I've started to highlight it. I starts from the trip planning and covers EVERTHING and I really mean EVERYTHING!
  4. Exploring the 46 Adirondack High Peaks – James R. Burnside: This book details out the trips they took to tackle the 46 high peaks. I love reading others experiences to this books has been a huge help in trip planning for my peaks. This along with current blogs and such.
  5. Don't Forget the Duct Tape – Kristin Hostetter: This book discussed the ways duct tape can come in handy for hiking/backpacking/camping situations.
  6. Views from On High – John P. Freeman: One of my adventure lists is the Fire Tower Challege. This book discussed the trials in the Adirondacks and Catskills on this challenge list.
  7. Allen & Mike's Really Cool Backpackin' Book – Allen O'cannon & Mike Clelland: Another really fun backpacking help. My favorite part is the gret sketches in the book – seriously you need to check this out!
  8. Hiking & Backpacking (A Trailside Guide) – Karen Berger
  9. Basic Essentials Wilderness First Aid – William Forgey, MD: Helpful for all potential medical situations you could run into on the trail and how to “deal” with those situations.
  10. 50 Hikes in Vermont – Green Mountain Club
  11. Adirondack Mountain Club: High Peak Trails (14th Edition): Discusses the trails for some of the high peaks and other trails in that region.
  12. Adirondack Mountain Club: Eastern Trails (4th Edition)



Okay this time I PROMISE this is the last old post.  This was when we hiked Mansfield back in 2006.

Actual Hike Date: June 28, 2006

view from the top

view from the top

View from the ski slope

View from the ski slope

Josh, Jacob & Me on the Top!

Josh, Jacob & Me on the Top!


theres two trail is Profanity trail.

theres two trail options…one is Profanity trail.


Cascade and Porter

I did these back in 2006…and it started “46er fever”… I don’t have a detailed trip report… just some photos.

Actual Hike Date: August 8, 2006



Me, Jacob, Dad & Josh (mom took the photo)

Me, Jacob, Dad & Josh (mom took the photo)


view from Cascade

view from Cascade





Hunter Mountain

This is the last late post (I promise!)

Actual hike date: October 11, 2014

After hearing about the NE 115 we decided why stop at 46…let’s aim higher! Plus it offers us shorter options.

Our first in the Catskills to tackle, Hunter Mountain, which is also on the Fire Tower Challenge list.

Brittney signing us in!


Brittney signed us in at the register and we got started.


The trail, for the most part was wide like this. It was a smooth trip up Hunter!


When we reached the top, there’s not much of a view without climbing the tower. There were two volunteers on duty who arrived just after we did. They would be staying the day and night to be there for other hikers with any questions. They even brought brownies to share!

I decided I had to attempt this fire tower…since I chickened out on Hadley.


Just past the fire tower clearing there is an over look, so if you’re not brave enough to tackle those rickety stairs you do still get a view.

John Robb lean-to



Our trip back took longer than our trip up. But we did the loop and it was well worth it. The wooden bridge and stream were beautiful.

Trip Stats to come…


Harmon Hill

Yet another late post! And another break from our High Peak Adventure. We decided to tackle Harmon Hill, part of the The Long Trail in Vermont.

We couldn’t have picked a better fall day for this hike either!

The is probably my favorite photo of the day. The greens and yellow were so vibrant, and the bent tree was so cool!





Black Mountain

Another late post! Actual hike date: September 13, 2014.

We decided on Black as a nice break from the challenges of the High Peaks. Just on the other side of Lake George, we hit the trail at just after 9am. After our “hot” trek up Esther and Whiteface, the cool 40 degree weather was a nice change.








Some artwork in nature and a sign just as we reached the summit that told of someone who had been buried there.  The sign was too worn to read who or why…

We reached the summit at about 10:15am.


upper Lake George


a great view from the summit

a great view from the summit

the fire tower

the fire tower

black mountain ponds

black mountain ponds

Just on the loop trail down from the summit is a great view of Black Mountain ponds.  You have to veer off the trail a little bit, but its worth it!



a lower view of black mountain ponds

a lower view of black mountain ponds

round pond

round pond

lapland pond

lapland pond

View of Black mountain from the lapland pond loop. can you find the tower?

View of Black mountain from the lapland pond loop.
can you find the tower?


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Tabletop and Phelps

I am very late on posting this – actual date of hike… September 22, 2014

Personally, there’s no better way to spend your 26th birthday then hiking in the Adirondacks.

Our day started early, getting up at 5am so we could hit the road for out 2+ hour drive north by 5:45.  We arrived at the Trail head just about 8am.

Brittney singing into the trail head!

Brittney singing into the trail head!

We signed in to the Van Hoevenburg Trail at the Adirondack Loj to begin the day.

Trail sign at the trail head

Trail sign at the trail head

some really cool walkways on the trail

some really cool walkways on the trail


Fall is coming!


Marcy Dam


We passed over Marcy Brook and arrived to the Marcy Dam at just about 9am.

post Irene bridge over Marcy dam.

post Irene bridge over Marcy brook

Marcy from Marcy Dam

Marcy from Marcy Dam

After crossing over the dam we got a fairly good view of Marcy (UPDATE: I’m not really sure if that is Marcy…In other blogs and research I’m getting different stories…) , but the clouds offered a little bit of a let down. So far it hadn’t rained though, which was a plus!


on the right path!


A little assurance we were on the right path.  We would be going farther on than the 2.0 miles to Phelps to tackle Tabletop first!



We started on our unforgettable trek up Tabletop at about 10:40am.  We felt like we were trekking up a stream, the trail maintenance worker we had met earlier that day was right, we had not picked the best day to tackle Tabletop…

the trail to the summit of Tabletop

the trail to the summit of Tabletop

maneuvering the ponds of Tabletop

maneuvering the ponds of Tabletop



Summit reached at 11:59pm. The view from Tabletop was cold, wet and cloudy.  We took cover with some trees and had a quick snack before heading down to the trailhead to Phelps.

The trailhead to Phelps!

The trailhead to Phelps!

The reported 1.0 mile trek up Phelps is said to be the “longest mile” of the 46 peaks.  The GPS calculated this at more of 1.25 miles and we decided it was nothing compared to Marble!


The top of Phelps held some more surprises.  The clouds began to break and we celebrated my birthday in style! Summit reached at about 2:33pm.


A yummy chocolate treat!

NOTE: we did not light the candle on the summit!

First use of my packs built-in rain cover!

First use of my packs built-in rain cover!

Now it was time to head back down.  Blue sky was in sight!



I think my favorite part is always the trek back down.

trek down

We reached the end of our trail at about 5pm.  And realized I wasn’t the only one to celebrate their birthday on Phelps!



Hope Jake had a good birthday too!



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Trip Planning 101

I’m a researcher, and this past weekend I spent a lovely (yet rainy) weekend camping at Moreau lake.  I brought TONS of books with me!  As an aspiring 46er and soon to be backpacker (I hope), theres lots of information out there to help you as you plan your hiking adventures.  Here’s some things I learned from my weekend research.

Research your trip. There’s no better way to learn then from what other people have experienced.  Theres LOTS of books and blogs out there about peoples experiences becoming a 46er.  My favorites (these are just a few):


  • Exploring the 46 Adirondack High Peaks – James R. Burnside
  • High Peaks Trails – ADK Mountain Club


Make sure you have the right gear.  I recently did a post series about the 10 Essentials.  These are SO important to have with you.  Obviously everyone is different and different hikes and length require different things.  So do your own research and figure out what works best for you.

Know your limits (and the limits of those hiking with you).  From experience I know what its like to almost throw up on the trail from trying to hard.  SLOW DOWN.  Better to take it slow and make it to the top and back, than to over exert yourself and have to turn around, or worse need serious medical attention (hard to come by in the middle of the woods.) There’s no better way to describe some techniques to prevent this than as done in Allen & Mike’s Really Cool Backpackin’ Book (Allen O’Bannon/Mike Clelland) take a look:

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