Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Sleeping Beauty Of Lake George

After getting squared away with the new car that killed a few weekends of potential outdoor adventure, I was ready for a hike this weekend.

Originally it was supposed to be beautiful Saturday and deteriorate Sunday. Thats ok, I can hike just fine in the rain but installing power outlets, and speakers just doesn't work in the rain. So after doing some mods to the new Adventure Mobile it was hike planning time.

With the weather forecast being wrong as usual, Sunday turned out to be another near perfect day. I didn't want to drive far or undertake a hard hike. So I had quite a few hikes in the Southern Adirondacks on the planning board.

Caney Bear hasn't been on a hike since the end of January when he got sick with kidney stones and a bladder infection. Which he promptly followed up with a bout of colitis (probably from stress following surgery) He is only about 6 weeks post surgery for the stone removal and only healthy for about 10 days. However, he is a Border Collie, and he is happiest when he is tired from activity.

Aimee Bear just awoke from a 6 month hibernation. During which time she slept on a bed that was not too hard, not to soft, but just right. Dreaming of room temperature days that were not too hot, not too cold, but just right.

I've never hiked Sleeping Beauty Mountain but I've always found the hiking around Lake George to be as scenic as anywhere in the entire Adirondack Forest Preserve. The thing I like about the Lake George area is that I never expect solitude, but if we find it it's a huge bonus.

The Sleeping Beauty trail head is a relatively short drive from home. It was also a great test for the Suzuki SX4 we just got. Usually 10 miles of dirt roads is something we dread. But the SX4 is perfectly at home doing 40mph down twisty loose gravel dirt roads. Throw in a few mud slicks, some ruts, and some tight elbow turns and you have the makings of a fun drive. Well a fun drive for me, not my passengers.

This time of the year is strange in that it's not very pretty but there also aren't any bugs, whom don't typically arrive till mid May. While the lack of leaves and brush creates a wide open forest, and uncluttered views, the forest no longer offers any protection from the sun. I've had my fair share of April sunburns over the years from late spring hikes. Sunday's hike was no different, 15 degrees warmer than forecast and no refuge from the sun.

Having checked the DEC website I knew we'd have to park at the Shelving Rock Road trail head as the Dacy Clearing road was closed because of mud. Usually it opens later in the year and cuts 1.6 miles off the hike.

The road to Dacy Clearing is a pleasant walk and only added about 30 minutes to the hike at a leisurely pace.

Along the way we passed quite a bit of stone work, perhaps from homesteads, and some of which was from the CCC of the 1930s such as the Bumps Pond horse trail.

Unfortunately, we could a switchback right below the summit of Sleeping Beauty and ended up bypassing the view points and going straight across the summit plateau without the views. By the time I realized we missed the summit we were just starting out descent towards Bumps Pond. Oh well, I wanted to see the pond anyway, so we kept going rather than backtrack through the abundant blow down that fills the trail between the summit and Bumps Pond.

I felt bad for myself, but worse for the girls that blindly followed us and also missed the summit.

Bumps Pond was a pleasant little high mountain pond. Not too large but big on scenery even this early in the year.

The hike out over the horse trail was fast and easy.

Overall it was 7.2 miles and 2700 ft gained and lost over 4 hours.

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1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the photos. I climbed Sleeping Beauty a couple of years ago with my son and dad. Really a lovely hike.