St. Regis Mountain

05/13/2018

A few friends and I had decided today would be a perfect day for a hike, so at 8am we packed all three of ourselves plus two doggos into my Subaru and headed down to St. Regis Mountain. Though I’ve climbed this one twice before, neither of them had done it and myself and one other are still recovering from knee issues, so I thought it would be a perfect climb for today. We arrived at the trailhead at about 9:15am, took our starting photos, and headed off.

The trail initially follows a wide path/road before reaching the register. We signed in, noticing the few groups ahead of us already, and continued on our way.

On the drive down, we had remarked on how much foliage was already blooming on the trees, but here in the mountains most trees were still bare. Se we enjoyed the warm sun on our shoulders and the semi-occluded views through the trees. There were plenty of water sources early on the trail including a flooded section of a valley and the pups enjoyed splashing around in them whenever possible.

For about an hour, the trail meandered slowly up and down while reaching up toward a bit of a ridge. It’s a very nice warm up before starting the actual climbing up the mountain, and my knees were grateful. After about an hour of walking and chatting, we reached the bridged stream crossing that I recall being the last point before the trail begins to climb. We took a break here, letting the dogs soak themselves (well, Juno did of course, but Vas-y wasn’t so sure of swimming) and having a snack.

That is, until the pups began a rousing game of fetch/tug/chase. One of them would find a stick, the other would grab on, and they’d run around together holding it until one of them got it, then the chase would begin.

We lingered here for ~10 minutes letting several other groups pass us, then slung our packs back on. Up until this point the trail had been quite dry but we starting getting creative to avoid stepping in mud and having our boots slurped off (something one of my unfortunate companions still experienced today!). Of course Juno ran right through the nastiest puddles and LIED DOWN IN THEM. Oh well. At least she’s already black! I distracted myself by looking at the beautiful spring wildflowers in bloom.

On this mountain, a tell-tale sign that you’re starting the real climb is the presence of larger and larger rocks and boulders. Some are even arranged in a sort of staircase to make life a bit easier!

After about an hour of climbing since we left the bridge, the foliage started thinning out into juvenile Birch trees, and it was then that I knew we were close.

While climbing, we began hearing a LOT of chattering voices up to our lefts, so we knew we were getting close to the summit, but they were so loud we opted to visit the offshoot in the trail first to hang out at a peaceful overlook for a few minutes.

I have to admit, I’m a little jealous of how photogenic Vas-y is! Juno is so freaking hard to photograph; not only is she rarely sitting still, but even when she is she just shows up as a dark shadow in the picture. I mean look at how regal this guy is!

Although she does take a nice picture when she feels like it ๐Ÿ™‚

After a few minutes of this we decided to join the raucous crowd at the summit and have some lunch. Just a hop and a skip and we were on the summit of St. Regis at 11:45am!

The pups made a new friend with a golden retriever and tried to steal food from anyone they could. Juno was surprisingly on her best behavior today though! She obeyed every command I gave her! Go us!

This mountain is seriously awesome. Just a little work for a huge reward, you really can’t beat it. For us, it’s only an hour from home, the climb is really quite easy, and the views…

After enjoying my victory chocolate and a bit of lunch, all 5 of us decided to climb up the fire tower to see the 360 degree views.

Holy Cannoli was it WINDY up there! It was turning out to be a nice warm day (73 F at the summit!) but even with that sun the wind was making me chilly, so I snapped one last pic and Juno and I headed back down.

I have to say, I’m so proud of my little pup. Once at the bottom, she noticed that Vas-y was too scared to come down and refused to move (something she was familiar with once herself). So she ran all the way back to the top and led him down! She ran over to me so pleased after to have helped her friend.

We all sat back down to have a rest; or so I thought, before the dogs were up again playing their stick game and spilling literally all of their water.

 

At about 1pm we finally decided to make our way down. We had a few close calls with the slippery mud, but fortunately no major incidents. As we neared the bridge however, and Juno was of course off chasing some chipmunk a few dozen yards away, we all caught wind of the same unmistakable skunk scent. My eyes went wide and I yelled for Juno to come back, thinking she’d actually been chasing a skunk and omg how would we ride for an hour in the car with her?! Fortunately, she came right back sans scent and we quickly retreated before pressing our luck any further.

At this point we were all hot, sweaty, and thirsty, and were ready to get back to the beginning of the trail so the pups (especially my black sheep) could cool off in the flooded valley again.

We reached the “pond” about an hour and a half after leaving the summit and lingered for several minutes enjoying watching the dogs play in the water.

We left when black flies started to become irksome and 20 minutes later (3pm) we were packed back in the car, smelly, and taking our leaving photo.

~A muddy dog is a happy dog~

Happy hiking!

St. Regis Mountain: 2874′ Elevation Gain: 1260′
Round Trip Distance: 6.6 miles
Total Duration: 6 hours (including 1.25 hr at summit)

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