Sunday, May 16, 2010

Rondaxe Mountain

This weekend I decided to head up to Old Forge for Paddlefest 2010, in hopes of trying out some solo canoes, attending some seminars, and doing some hiking. *Sigh*, typical me... I got the date wrong... Paddlefest is NEXT weekend. Ooops. Oh well... I got to see my parents (who babysat Cliffie for the day) and visit the North Country, at least. :oP  First trip to the mountains this season, yippee!

First stop (after figuring out my Paddlefest Date Blunder) was hiking up Rondaxe (Bald) Mountain, just north of Old Forge. I've gone up to the Adirondacks for years, but never had much interest in climbing. I prefer more secluded and scenic hikes, around ponds and especially bogs (plus, the mountain paths are always crowded- the lake, pond and bog hikes aren't). And with Lucy and Clifford- well, the past several years they've been slowing down and strenuous hiking just wasn't in the bag. Today, I decided to try climbing a mountain with Jackie-Pants. He's young, he's strong, and I need to sweat off a few (well, more than a few) pounds of winter weight. Jack could lose a pound or two as well (a woman at the Old Forge Hardware store was kind enough to comment, "Well, he's certainly stocky for a greyhound, isn't he?" Um, thanks.). He's not THAT bad, and gets walked twice a day, but *sigh*, he's an eater. That's a good thing and a bad thing!

The mountains in the Old Forge area are certainly nothing like the High Peaks region, so Rondaxe/Bald Mountain would be a nice starting point for us- I could test our endurance, see how Jack handled the ascent, etc. I was a bit ruffled pulling into the trailhead area- it was packed with cars- not my ideal-! But I have to say, for most of the ascent we were alone which was really nice.


...and up...

...and up...

...nope, still not the summit...

...up, up, up-!

...almost there-!...

...The Summit! Finally!

It was really a beautiful hike, just under a mile each way. And can I just say? Hiking with a young dog is DIFFERENT. At first I was really paranoid as the trail went up rooted, steep areas and across huge boulders with NO shoulders to speak of. But Jack's small, tight feet gripped really well and he had no trouble at all scrambling up the steep areas or leaping over logs and huge roots. Towards the summit the trail went over rocky ridges that fell steeply off either side (you can see in a couple of the pics above)... he wasn't fazed at all even though my heart was pounding a mile a minute!!... and was very steady and sure, like a little mountain goat. I wonder if Lucy and Clifford were that agile and brave in their younger days? I don't remember. In 2005 Lucy (then age 8) and Cliff (then age 7) tried to ascend "family-friendly" Baker Mountain in Saranac Lake, and it was a huge Cluster, if you know what I mean! That was the first and last mountain we did together, LOL!

I did find out one thing about Jack's hiking abilities... he has absolutely ZERO navigational skills. I mean that in a trail-sense... I get the feeling he couldn't follow a trail if you paved it in front of him, LOL. Twice on this hike he led us off the main path on smaller side-paths, and I didn't notice until we were really far into the bush and we had to back-track. Cliff is like that too. I tend to think, though, that Clifford just lacks the ability to follow a trail? That he's kind of clueless-? Whereas Jack just doesn't care, LOL.

But that's okay, we all can't be good at everything right?

More pics from the trail:

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