Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Fire Tower Challenge: Mt. Adams

Part of the Adirondack Mountain Club Fire Tower Challenge requires hiking up 18 mountains in the Adirondacks with standing fire towers. On May 24th, my sister (in law) and I completed our fourth fire tower hike - Mt. Adams. We couldn't have asked for a nicer day. It was warm, but not hot; a steady breeze helped to keep the overwhelming number of black flies away, as we regretfully forgot our bug spray.

Lake Jimmy

From what I read up on the hike, the view from the top of the mountain is spectacular, but only from the top of the fire tower. The fire tower had recently been reopened after about 30 years of retirement. In 1912 the Conservation Commission constructed a wooden tower that was replaced five years later with a 47' steel Aermotor LS40 tower (Fire Towers of New York: Eastern Adirondack Region). In 1972, the tower was closed and remained inaccessible until recently when it was reopened. The Outdoor Space Institute, which had purchased the area from the mining company National Lead Industries, works to maintain fire tower and other historical features of the area (Mt Adams - A High Peak Treasure With a Fire Tower). Some of these historical landmarks of the area under the care and reconstruction of the OSI are the McIntyre Blast Furnace, the MacNaughton House, and the observers' cabin.

Unfortunately, the tower was closed again in January because of wind damage, and has not yet been repaired.

Fire Tower

Observers' Cabin

The hike took us about 4-4.5 hours round trip, including a much needed rest and lunch at the summit. While its a short hike, it's not necessarily an easy one. Being only 1.6 miles from the start of the trail of Mt. Adams, it is a hike that's 1800 feet in elevation. Short distance at that elevation makes for a steep climb! The hike begins in Tahawus at the East River Trail head for Mt. Adams and Mt. Allen in the Upper Works. It is about 0.8 mile easy walk through what was described as an Indiana Jones experience. You cross an iron mesh suspension bridge over the Hudson River which swings and creaks as you walk across. If you are susceptible to vertigo, do not fear, there is a railing. A wood plank footbridge takes you over Lake Jimmy. A cairn with a red trail marker for Mt. Adams directs you towards the trail for the mountain.

The trail is not only steep, but muddy and slick in places. If you ever venture out on this trail, be sure to look behind you on your way up. The view between the trees on your way up is actually better than it is from the ground at the top if the tower is closed.

I found a 360o view from both the summit and the top of the tower online. The first picture below is similar to the view that we had. I recommend checking out the view from the top of the tower, which is in the second picture below. If the tower reopens again, it would be worth it to me to try the trail again, because we apparently missed out on a lot!

Click on this picture to see 360o virtual view from the summit.

Click on this picture to see a 360o virtual view from the top of the tower.

Both panoramic views available from Adirondacks 360

Click here to see all of my pictures from this hike! This picture set includes pictures from the deserted village Adirondac, the famous MacNaughton Cottage, and the McIntyre Blast furnace from the days that the area was an iron ore mine. Read my blog post on this ghost town here.


Anonymous said...

The 360 panorama links are So Cool! -Sister

storybeader said...

Wow - those 360s are amazing! And the bridge looks fun. I always liked bridges. It's very beautiful. I went up a fire tower in eastern Oklahoma, were the state is more mountainous and forested, but couldn't make it up the whole way. A little too scary for me - and I started out - up - fine. Sounds like you had fun.

Unknown said...

I want to trying hiking sometime too! The pictures are awesome and sounds like you guys had a great time! :D

Anonymous said...

When I get there I will call!

OMGoodness, what a wonderful place to live!

I can feel the breath of fresh air running like blood through my body.

You have been added as a favorite blog at Tulip's Talking.


Anonymous said...

What a gorgeous hike!! The pictures are wonderful. I didn't realize the Adirondacks had many fire towers.