5.31.2007

Three seasons of the Jay Range (Adirondacks)

Derby Brook, deep in the trailless woods of the Jay Range in the Adirondacks. This photo was taken May 29, 2005, this is a relatively cold, dark place, the trees were only beginning to leaf out, even though it was Memorial Day weekend. I remember that I encountered a few small patches of ice on this hike deep in cracks in the rocks at higher elevations.


When I lived in Burlington, I could see the Adirondack mountains in New York across the lake -- but I was racing my bike for recreation, so I really didn't spend any time there. There were many reasons why I stopped bike racing but a desire to spend more time on other outdoor activities was a definite contributing factor. Once I stopped racing, did I spend some time in the Adirondack High Peaks and while it is a thrilling, rugged landscape it is also congested and full of wide, well-marked trails. Solitude is kind of hard to come by there.

I bought a guidebook to the Adirondack region that is closest to the lake, and it suggested that the Jay Range as an excellent place for exploring. Travel time from Burlington to this area was quite minimal and this area is quite remote, trailless, and not many people go there, at least from the east side. I have made several trips to this area and it is a great place to get away from all the trappings of suburban living and wander through a trackless and rugged patch of land.

Image and video from a hike in the rain in Fall 2005.


Above: Slip Mountain, December 2005. Below, the same mountain with foliage, October 2006.



Looking from Slip Mountain to the highest point on the Jay Range ridgeline (3300 ft.)

The time I have spent in this area has taught me a lot about navigation -- even with map, compass and GPS I have still repeatedly gotten lost . Wandering through the valleys and scrambling up the small but rugged mountains has also taught me a lot about the correlation between what is drawn on a map and the actual lay of the land.

For example, in my first trip to the area in 2005 I charted a path from the outcrop above, trying to get to the top of the ridgeline by the shortest and most direct route. This was a huge mistake, I wound up badly scared in a remote area that was full of impenetrable blowdown and peppered with sheer cliffs. I was having visions of falling and becoming immobilized and dying alone in the remote woods and was very happy to get back to the car in one piece.

I kind of miss being relatively close to the mountains in New York and the spectacular sunsets across the lake. I did set up my tiny one person backpacking tent this past weekend just to air it out a bit; maybe I'll get the rest of my gear together and plan a short trip there in the near future.


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