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Old 06-04-2012, 10:59 PM   #1
dharple
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Blue Mountain - 26 May 2012

I’d like to start by asking a question: does anyone know if Blue Mountain has been surveyed to determine whether or not it was the site of a meteor crash? It has a circular massif and a ring of ponds and lakes around it, and from a topographical perspective, it is very similar to Panther Mountain in the Catskills, which was recently shown to (most likely) be the site of an ancient meteor crash. (For a fascinating read on the subject, see this article in Discover: http://discovermagazine.com/2000/aug/featcrater/ .)

On to the hike: for starters, it was definitely buggy. The black flies were ferocious, and they outnumbered the mosquitos 100:1 (based off of a very informal survey). I ended up actually getting bitten twice, and my bug spray (Picaridin) seemed to be completely gone by the time I got to the summit. I had a similar experience last year, heading up to Phelps at around the same time of year. On the previous hike, however, I was using a different bug spray (Citronella based), which worked wonderfully for the first mile, and then converted into an attractor pheromone (again based on an informal survey). I was harassed by mosquitoes for the majority of the Van Hoevenberg trail, but the black flies only really became prevalent at the summit of Phelps. In both cases (Blue and Phelps), my lunch and summit time was cut short by the buggers. Maybe next year I’ll learn.

I headed out from my car around 11:30, and as I was signing in, a group of 8 college students headed past me. I heard the expected “hey do we need to register?” followed by a response I hadn’t heard before: “no, that’s only if you’re camping.” I corrected them and handed the one closest to me the pencil. As it turned out, the girl to whom I had I handed the pencil ended up being a pseudo hiking companion on the way up. She and another member of their party were traveling at about the same speed as I was, and we ended up passing each other (and conversing) several times along the way.

The hike itself is short and steep for the majority of the second half. Bob Goodwin’s description on adk.org was quite accurate: the majority of the climb occurs over exposed bedrock, and it can be slippery when wet. I imagine that during a typical spring runoff (after a typical winter) the trail would be downright treacherous. I didn’t have a problem myself, but I saw and heard about others having problems on the way up and down.

The only wildlife I saw (aside from the winged variety, and I wish I was talking about birds) was a roughly 3’ long garter snake. It was a beautiful specimen, and I’m afraid I may have accidentally scared it away from the trail with my insistence that it pose for a photograph. It didn’t oblige, and to my chagrin, every picture I took of it ended up blurry in some way or another.

The trail itself used to be a nature trail, and most of the markers still remain. There’s also a “Nature Trail” register box, just a short ways up from the real register box, designed to fool the wary hiker into thinking he or she must have taken a wrong turn somewhere. The second register box is empty, however; a fact that I didn’t realize until I had backtracked to the start of the trail to ensure I was, in fact, headed in the right direction. The signage on the trail itself is elusive; I didn’t see any markers near the beginning of the trail. In fact, I only counted one actual DEC trail marker the entire way up. (Granted, I wasn’t looking that hard for them, since I had no need to do so.)

One final feature caught my eye on the way up. After I had passed the last nature trail marker, #13, the trail leveled off. A short distance past this point, I saw the remains of an old telephone pole (a metal one, with a U-shaped top, to prevent the two wires from shorting out). Backtracking a bit, I saw that it was in line with a corridor through the trees, and a little way up the trail, I saw another telephone pole at the other end of the corridor I had just seen. (I’m fascinated by relics like these.)

The summit itself is flat, with numerous communication towers and a standing fire tower. After allowing the black flies their daily allotment of my blood, I headed up to the cab of the tower, in an attempt to escape from them. It worked, but the wind was enough that I had to hunker down inside the cabin in order to attempt to eat my lunch. Once I saw that other people were headed up, my agoraphobia and acrophobia kicked in and I retreated back down to the summit proper.

I ate my lunch while walking around (to avoid the flies), and then wandered off to explore the summit. I found a surveyor’s eye bolt (or fire tower anchor?), then wandered east to check out a beautiful communications tower and a heavily graffitied cabin. After a little more wandering I picked up a herd path (or possibly an abandoned trail), and found the remains of a campfire. I contemplated following the herd path to see where it lead, but decided that I had had enough of the summit’s voracious hosts. I headed back to the trail and then down.

The remainder of my hike was uneventful. I stopped at the little store on the T intersection in Blue Mountain to get some additional water, and I stopped at the parking area near Lake Durant briefly just to take in the sights. I had planned on bagging Sawyer, as well, but I was so disgusted by the black flies that I decided to save it for another day.

One final note: Bob Goodwin’s description of this as a very popular hike was spot on. All told, I saw over 120 people on the trail that day, including one ~toddler in arms, and 9 dogs.

Pics are here:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/cathdrw...7630011197470/
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Old 06-04-2012, 11:51 PM   #2
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Great pictures! I've lived in Indian Lake most of my life and have only been to the summit of Blue Mountain twice: First time was when my father took me up the jeep trail when I was a kid. The second time was a few years ago when my wife and I hiked it. The trail was in pretty bad shape then and the black flies were NASTY, but the views at the top were awesome. I would like to go up again in the autumn when the colors are in full bloom and the black flies are gone. That's the best time for hiking in my opinion.

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Old 06-05-2012, 12:12 AM   #3
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Nice pictures! I hiked Blue on May 23rd. I only saw 3 people that day, though. It's hard to imagine 120 people!!!
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Old 07-02-2012, 11:02 PM   #4
dharple
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ADK Weatherman View Post
Great pictures! I've lived in Indian Lake most of my life and have only been to the summit of Blue Mountain twice: First time was when my father took me up the jeep trail when I was a kid. The second time was a few years ago when my wife and I hiked it. The trail was in pretty bad shape then and the black flies were NASTY, but the views at the top were awesome. I would like to go up again in the autumn when the colors are in full bloom and the black flies are gone. That's the best time for hiking in my opinion.
Thank you . Indian Lake looks like a great place to live. I've been through it many times, throughout the year, and it always has a good atmosphere.

Yeah, I agree that autumn is the best time of year for hiking. Winter is a close second in my mind, for similar reasons (no insects, great views).

Quote:
Originally Posted by JanelleH View Post
Nice pictures! I hiked Blue on May 23rd. I only saw 3 people that day, though. It's hard to imagine 120 people!!!
Thanks . I wish I had the time to go hiking during the week. Solitude would have been nice on this hike.
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