Went up to Keene last night to camp and get an early(er) start Monday. After getting the tent setup around 10pm I had to figure out where I was going in the morning. It came down to Ampersand, Noonmark, Whiteface, or Catamount.
Although Catamount is another great smaller peak, it got the boot because it simply was too short for a full days hiking. It was also the furthest from camp. So I went to bed with one less choice for the morning.
When I got up at 8am, I ran into Agustina and Stephane and promptly found out that it was St. Jean Baptiste Day. This would explain the packed lot at the Alpine Club. So Whiteface was out.
Ampersand added 1 hour roundtrip to my drive and Noonmark was essentially on the way home...it then occured to me that I hadn't hiked Noonmark since 2001 following back surgery, and now it was 2007 and following knee surgery. Noonmark it was.
After a quick swim for Caney, and enough time for my "breakfast" to digest -a roast beef sandwhich and chocolate milk- we were off to the summit of Noonmark.
I actually forgot how great the views were on the summit of this pointy sundial over the valley. The mountain earned it's name because it does cast a shadow over the valley at noonish. And for the hiker 360* views, almost totally unobstructed. Dix, the Great Range, Giant, and Keene Valley are all within clear view. And way back out in the middle of no where is Whiteface with potentially crowds of tourist on it's summit.
On Noonmark today, for the price of a some sweat and fresh air, there were just 6 other people on the summit in the 2 hours I spent up top. I forgot this little 3500ft mountain had some of the best views in all of the Adirondacks.
Well, other than the black flies -who were swarming but didn't draw blood till the summit- and the fact that it was 15* hotter then forecast, we really couldn't have asked for a better day to be in the mountains.
Some photos from our short overnighter.
Big(ger) Verison.... (full size is over 16,000 pixels wide, this is 1/4 downsized).
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