For the 2013 Memorial Day weekend, Cheri (my wife) and I made the 4-hour drive from our home in Bethlehem, NH to Saranac Lake, NY. This charming village is centrally located in the high peaks region of the Adirondacks.
Most of the first day of our 4-day weekend was spent driving over to NY in conditions that were unusual for late May, even for northern NH and NY! Along our route we experienced both snow and rain. Yikes!
By Day 2, the snow had subsided, but the rain continued. We made the most of the rainy conditions by taking our umbrellas and visiting locations where we could view waterfalls, brooks, and rivers that were wildly raging due to all the rain. The next two photos show some scenes along the West Branch of the Ausable River.
|Raging waters along West Branch of Ausable River|
|Raging cascade along West Branch of Ausable River|
And shown below is yet another photo from Day 2. This is a more sedate scene from the shore of a beaver pond.
|View from shore of beaver pond on a rainy, misty day|
Day 3 was a day filled with gorgeous weather. Cheri opted to spend a portion of the day soaking in the sun on the shore of Lake Flower and reading a novel. And, she also walked into the village of Saranac Lake to witness the Memorial Day parade. Shown below is a photo Cheri took of this event.
|Memorial Day parade in Village of Saranac Lake, NY|
A portion of my Day 3 was spent hiking to Catamount Mountain (3,168 ft elevation). This trek provided lots of rock scrambles which is something I thoroughly enjoy.
The next photo shows Catamount Mountain as viewed from the roadside just a short distance from the trailhead.
|Catamount Mountain as viewed the roadside just a short distance from the trailhead|
The first 1.3 mile or so of the trail is mild-mannered. But after that, the fun begins with a scramble up a narrow chimney which is nearly vertical. How narrow is it? Well, anyone who has met me knows that I'm a fairly skinny guy. I was unable to squeeze through it with a frontal approach. I was able to squeeze through it by turning sideways. However, it necessitated taking off my backpack and pushing it up ahead of me.
Shown below is a composite photo of the chimney, but it doesn't do justice to the narrowness of this passageway.
|Narrow chimney along the trail to Catamount Mountain|
Within minutes after negotiating the chimney, I arrived at the top of the south summit of Catamount. From there, I was able to get a view of the main summit of Catamount (see next photo). The climb to the main summit was an exhilarating scramble. I loved it!
|Main summit of Catamount Mountain as viewed from south summit|
Upon reaching the main summit of Catamount, I relished the 360 degree views. One of the more impressive views is the one shown in the next photo. At the bottom left is the south summit of Catamount. Off in the distance on the right is the snowcapped Whiteface Mountain with Esther Mountain in front and to the left of it.
|South summit of Catamount (bottom left); snowcapped Whiteface Mountain at top right|
The next photo is a zoomed view of Whiteface Mountain.
|Zoomed view of Whiteface Mountain|
Although the quality of the next photo is poor, it sort of shows what I could see with my binoculars when looking eastward toward Vermont. In this zoomed photo, you can see portions of Lake Champlain. And in the top center of the photo, you can see the snowcapped Mt. Mansfield which is over 50 miles away in VT, as the crow flies.
|Highly zoomed photo: Lake Champlain with snowcapped Mt. Mansfield at top center|
The next photo doesn't do justice to the overall scene. What I'm attempting to show is the contrast between the flowering shrubs at the top of Catamount, as juxtaposed to the snow that covers the mountaintop.
|Flowering shrubs at top of Catamount, as juxtaposed to the covering of snow|
Before leaving Catamount, I took a photo of the metal benchmark disc embedded at the top of the mountain.
|Metal benchmark disc at the highpoint of Catamount|
Toward the end of Day 3, Cheri and I drove a short distance out of the village of Saranac Lake to the Adirondack Loj on Heart Lake. Lodging is available at this location, and it's a major trailhead for several mountains in the high peaks region of the Adirondacks. Along the road leading to this location are impressive views such as seen in the next photo. Mt. Colden is on the left, and peaks in the MacIntyre Range are on the right.
|View from Adirondack Loj Road: Mt. Colden (left); peaks in MacIntyre Range (right)|
On Day 4, we packed up and started to head for home via a route that was different from the way we came. We decided to head north toward Plattsburgh, NY and then onward nearly to the Canadian border (at Rouses Point, NY) where we would cross over the top of Lake Champlain and head eastward to our home in Bethlehem.
At Plattsburgh, we made a short stopover in order to walk to the end of Dock Street to look across Lake Champlain and enjoy the views of the Vermont mountains. The next two photos provide some idea of what we saw. The first snapshot is a wide view that is un-zoomed. The second photo is a zoomed view of Camels Hump mountain as seen through the masts of several sailing ships moored at the docks.
|View from Plattsburgh, NY looking across Lake Champlain toward Vermont mountains|
|Zoomed view of Camels Hump mountain from docks in Plattsburgh, NY|
To sum it up, Cheri and I agreed that this was one of the more enjoyable Memorial Day weekends that we've spent in quite a number of years.