Roaring Brook Falls

A breathtaking waterfall that’s easy to hike to, Roaring Brook Falls offers a decent view of the High Peaks after a quick hike to the top. The mostly flat walk to the base provides a better view of the full waterfall from beneath. The trailhead starts at a parking area off of Route 73, heading toward Lake Placid from the Northway.

Morning over Pyramid Lake

A July weekend camping expedition to the state campground at Pyramid Lake yielded some incredible morning views just a brief walk downhill from the site. In the morning, wisps of fog remained over the water for a beautiful Adirondack atmosphere.

Giant Mountain Hike

On June 21, the first day of summer, I jumped at the opportunity to hike Giant Mountain with some friends. While I’ve spent significant time hiking in the southern Adirondacks, I have not ventured into the High Peaks Region too often, primarily because of the longer distance to drive for a day trip. With Giant, I added my second of the 46 Adirondack High Peaks to my accomplishments (Cascade being my first and only other 46’er).

The weather turned out to be perfect for hiking, with a high in the low 70s, and much cooler weather at higher elevation. The sky stayed clear for some incredible views of the other peaks.

While I’ll confess I didn’t lug my DSLR along as I often do on hikes, I managed to capture a number of photos with my iPhone 5C.

Evening over Mirror Lake

While spending Memorial Day weekend at the High Peaks Resort in Lake Placid, NY, I took some time in the evening to set up my camera and tripod along Mirror Lake. Mellow evening light and a partly cloudy sky offered the perfect atmosphere for landscape photography. A canoe and a colorful sailboat added interest to the scenery, as well.

Brant Lake in Autumn

In mid-October I had the opportunity to participate in a photography workshop with Carl Heilman, a well-known landscape photographer who has done most of his work in the Adirondacks. This session was an educational time as well as an opportunity to take some fall foliage photography right around peak color time. Here are a few examples of images I took on this day.

Inman Pond Hike

Even after most of the autumn colors disappear, fall continues as the best time of year to hike in the Adirondacks, in my opinion. Cooler weather means more comfortable hiking, no pesky insects, and fewer people crowding the trails, while the freezing cold winter weather has not yet kicked in. The first weekend in November, many of the leaves had fallen off the trees, allowing for a better view through the woods. We could see out over a ridge during the hike in as well as seeing quite a bit of the pond even before reaching the open areas along the water.

Inman Pond lies in the Lake George Wild Forest area, east of Lake George. The hike in covers a little over a mile with slight elevation gain, but not nearly as strenuous as scaling an actual mountain. Once you reach the pond, you can choose to branch off toward either the left or right side of the water. We chose the left side and found a couple of places to walk right up to the edge of the water. This hike offered a great quick journey to get out in the woods a bit and enjoy the crisp, cool weather of fall.

Hadley Mountain Panorama

In my opinion, fall in upstate New York is the best time of year for hiking, with cooler weather that’s not yet freezing, fewer insects, and less water to make trails muddy and slippery. Most of all, the leaves have turned to their red, orange, and yellow colors. On this mid-October hike up Hadley Mountain, the leaf color had slightly passed peak but still was quite bright, illuminated by sunlight on a cloudless day. Here is a panoramic shot overlooking the southern Adirondacks, stitched together with four images from the top of the mountain.

 

Cat Mountain Panorama

Saturday was a perfect clear day to hike Thomas and Cat Mountains, near Bolton Landing, New York. A loop trail (about 7.5 miles doing the whole distance) allows hikers to access both summits over moderate terrain. A few challenging spots exist, but the hike is not too difficult overall, with a decent portion following an old gravel road. While Thomas Mountain did provide a distant view with part of the lake and a fairly plush (for the middle of the woods) cabin on top, Cat Mountain certainly gave a better view.

The view from the top of Cat offers an incredible panoramic perspective of Lake George from the west, as well as views toward Gore and other mountains in the Central Adirondacks if you walked around to another side of the summit. This shot includes 2 images stitched together (click the photo to see a larger version).

Cat/Thomas Mountain Trail Map

Below, a map of the hike shows the path tracked via the Everytrail app. Note that this includes the full loop of both mountains; however, you could just hike to Thomas with about a 3 mile loop, or go all the way out to and back from Cat on the same trail on one or the other side without looping around. Note that the trail on the east (designated with yellow markers) is much easier as it follows a road most of the way, but the western trail (blue markers) offers a number of glimpses of the mountains in the distance through the trees and a bit more of a rugged terrain experience.

Cascade Mountain July Hike

Here are a number of pictures from a hike up Cascade Mountain on July 6, 2013. In line with the rainy weather of late, clouds hung over the mountain as I started up in the morning. Upon reaching the summit, nothing was visible beyond a few trees in the distance, and hikers could be grateful for the yellow paint marking the way forward. However, on the way down, the clouds began to clear at an overlook area, and I was able to capture a view of the High Peaks area from up high.

Summit Fog on Cascade Mountain

Hiking earlier in the morning allows for cooler temperatures in the summer as well as a chance to avoid crowds, but also can mean more of a chance you end up without a view at the top of a mountain. After a very damp, muddy hike up, the summit of Cascade Mountain was completely obscured in a cloud on this day, but still well worth the hike for the experience of standing on the exposed rocky summit over 4,000 feet up. While I missed out on potential views of the scenic area (which I did manage to get on an overlook on the way down as the clouds were clearing out), I still took some time for a few photos. If you look closely, you can see the yellow marks on the ground that, along with cairns (piles of small rocks), serve as an invaluable guide to stay on the trail when you can only see a few yards in front. I used a cross process preset as well as a vignette and some other edits in Lightroom for effect.