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 🙂

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)

St. Regis Mountain

12/06/2015

Weather: Beautiful, temp in the 30s

After two months of telling my hiking buddy Sam all about my trip up St. Regis, we decided today would be the perfect day for a summit trip. We left a little after 8am, and finally got to the trail around 10 (it took us half an hour longer to get there than usual…I think because I kept stopping the car to take pictures! Ha!). The trip down was very foggy, which looked cool and all, but we were nervous that the weather wouldn’t clear up. Either way, we wouldn’t let weather ruin our much-anticipated day of hiking.

Luckily, by the time we neared Barnum Pond (which I lovingly refer to in my head as the Gateway to the Adirondacks…It’s the first landmark that tells me I’m getting close!) the weather had cleared significantly to reveal a beautiful crisp day. Barnum Pond was especially gorgeous and crystal clear. I was all ready to say “Forget hiking, lets go kayaking!” but I wanted to finish what we set out to do, so on we went.

We got to the trailhead and started walking at 10:20am after signing in at the register. The trail starts off near a pretty little brook, and I was grateful to have a hiking buddy that didn’t mind me stopping every 2 minutes to snap pictures (and lying upsidedown in the dirt under some cool icicles to get just the right angle).

The trail was vibrantly green, and we really took our time, trying to take in the last vestiges of green we’ll see until…May. Winters are brutal up here!

We reached the first lookout around noon and had our spirits restored by the amazing sights. We stuck around just long enough to snap a few pictures, then I actually started running up the steep trail to the summit (I was just a little excited…).

We finally made it to the summit at 12:30pm, and stared open-mouthed for a while before snapping a few pictures (of course) and having some very cold lunch. It was UNBELIEVABLY windy!

However the views were incredible.So incredible that I had to choose from maybe 50 awesome photos to post on here. Life’s just full of tough decisions >.< .

The firetower was still out of commission, but we didn’t let that stop us from climbing up a few flights (don’t worry, it was structurally sound, they were just rebuilding the bottom steps…which weren’t there, so we had to get creative). We didn’t dare go up to the top though for fear of being blown right off the mountain. I think we only made it to the second platform.

We hung around the top for a while, chatted with a couple of older guys with a dog, snapped a few more photos, and began the trek back down. (After finding the summit plaque, of course!)

The way down was tricky, so I put my camera away for the worst of it and mostly slid down on my butt, a move I’ve dubbed the Butt Scoot. So graceful.

We eventually made it back down to safer ground and I took some time (as usual) taking pictures of cool stuff, like permafrost coming up out of the ground! How cool is that?

After delaying the inevitable, we made it to the end of the trail, signed out at the register, and immediately began making plans for our next mountain hike.

St. Regis Mountain: 2874′  Elevation Gain: 1532′

Round Trip Distance: 6.2 miles

Total Duration: 4.75 hours

All images are property of adktrailtalesandtails and may only be used with express permission.

St. Regis Mountain

10/18/2015

Weather: Cool, cloudy, and snowy (again)

This was the day after my dad and I climbed Baker Mountain, and so we decided against climbing Algonquin (the 2nd highest peak in the Adirondacks) and settled for the much simpler St. Regis Mountain. We left our room at the Inn, had a nice breakfast at a local diner, and headed towards home, which was conveniently on the way to this mountain, and saw some beautiful views along the way. Oh! and as we were leaving Saranac Lake, my dad said “It’s a shame Radioshacks aren’t really around anymore, we could have stopped at one to get a memory card for your camera!” And wouldn’t you know it, we turned our heads, and there was a Radioshack right next to the supermarket we were walking out of after getting some snacks. Not only did it exist, but it was open on a Sunday morning, AND they had memory cards! Woohoo!!

The bottom of the mountain showed beautiful fall colors, and the trail meandered gently for about 2 miles and we enjoyed the brisk weather.

As the trail started to climb, snow began appearing on the ground and on the fall leaves. It made for some seriously beautiful scenery. My dad stopped to admire it and catch his breath, so I took the opportunity to take some photos!

After about 2 miles, we reached some really cool stone stairs that looked straight out of a fairytale. We took a break here, ate some trail mix, and continued on.

The trail began ascending very sharply, and I needed both hands to lift myself up sometimes so I put my camera away. The last .3 miles or so was not only steep, but also covered in thick ice and snow. Knowing my dad and I, we came woefully unprepared without microspikes or poles or anything, and we all but crawled along. Right at the iciest part of the path, however, we got a little glimpse of the scenery, and it kept us going! Luckily, we saw some tracks in the snow where previous people had gone well around the steepest slipperiest section, and we gratefully followed.

We made one last push and emerged onto an almost completely bare summit! It was incredible. There’s an old fire tower that was undergoing maintenance (so we weren’t allowed to go on it, not that we would have anyway, it was so cold and windy up there), and the views were almost 360 degrees. It took our breaths away. When we first came out at the top though, there was almost no visibility…and after 2 hours of listening to my dad say, “Hey! Looks like it’s clearing up!” I just had to laugh. We waited for 10 minutes or so, and the sun actually peaked out!

We reached the summit at 1pm, and took shelter behind an overhanging rock to eat some lunch. Once I had warmed up a bit, I braved the cold to take a few last pictures.

It truly felt like being on top of the world. We stayed up there for about half an hour, and very carefully headed back down the mountain. The trip down was uneventful, though it warmed up considerably  the further we went, and my fingers regained their feeling!

St. Regis Mountain: 2874′  Elevation Gain: 1532′

Round Trip Distance: 6.2 miles

Total Duration: 4 hours

All images are property of adktrailtalesandtails and may only be used with express permission.