Saturday, June 25, 2016

The View from Here

Looks like Salt Lake has gotten some much needed relief from the heat as I just pulled up the 2 PM MDT observation from the airport and it's only 77ºF with a dewpoint of 19ºF and winds from the northwest at 12 mph gusting to 18.  That must feel so good.

I'm currently in New York visiting family in advance of the American Meteorological Society Conference on Mountain Meteorology, which will be held in Burlington, Vermont next week.  Although we are warming up here and are expected to hit 90ºF tomorrow, it's been pleasant for my stay so far.

Today I did a hike up Snowy Mountain, which is not so snowy by Utah standards, but at 3899 ft, is the highest peak in the southern Adirondacks and requires about a 2000 vertical foot ascent.  Most of the trail is fairly easy, but the last several hundred vertical feet is your classic Adirondack knee breaker, basically a steep creek bed requiring the occasional "vegetable belay," especially on the descent.  A red trail marker on the tree center left confirms that this is the official route.

Many mountains in the Adirondacks still have old fire towers, which are no longer in use, but are greatly appreciated to provide a full 360º perspective given the dense trees on many summits.  When i was a kid, they still had rangers manning many of these towers looking for fires, and it was always a thrill to finish a climb with a visit.  That always seemed like the ultimate job to me, but fortunately I chose a different career path since we do it all with satellites and other tech these days.

From Snowy Mountain you can see the Adirondack "high peaks", a region encapsulating 46 peaks that were once thought to all exceed 4000 feet, although modern surveys reveal a few of these fall short.  I bagged a large number of these peaks with my Dad, but ultimately gave up the quest when I moved west.  No regrets.  The handful we had left required long misadventures with limited views.

The area around Snowy Mountain ain't Manhattan.  It's pretty unspoiled everywhere you look.  Indian Lake, pictured below, has always been one of my favorite large Adirondack lakes.  There are a few homes and camps, but it's fairly undeveloped and the forest is largely impenetrable.

It's good to be back "in the green."

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