Sunday, July 6, 2008

Dreams Crushed at Hadley Mountain

The first time Sister and I hiked Hadley Mountain was last year, before we knew the Adirondack Mountain Club Fire Tower Challenge existed. You can imagine my excitement when Sister called to tell me she hiked it again with a friend and that there was a Potsdam intern at the top passing out signed cards proving that you got to the top, as some of the original fire tower observers did when they manned the towers.


OK, maybe you can't imagine my excitement. But it is exciting - to us. He even had the cab of the tower open so you could get up inside. Jealous of Sister's souvenir and inside-the-cab experience, I convinced a coworker who was excited about the hike, not the intern, to hike it again with me. Well, apparently he has Wednesdays off. Or at least that one he did. Anyway, according to the write up on him in the free local paper, there are also interns on Mt. Arab which we already climbed, and Blue Mountain which is our next adventure this coming Saturday. There's still hope.

Brad-the-Intern's natural refrigerator

Despite the padlock on the cab to the tower, coming back empty handed with no signed card, the view was great, the weather was fantastic, and the mountain seemed much easier than it did as a beginner hiker last year. In fact, it seemed easy.

Stupid padlock!

Anyway, here's the run down of my first and sixth fire tower hike, Hadley Mountain:

June 2, 2006
3.6 mi round trip
Elevation change 1526 ft
Summit Elevation 2675 ft

The 40 foot Aermotor tower originated in 1916. Its original steel ladder up the side was a safety concern, and eventually wooden stairs were installed in 1918. These stairs did not survive the weather well, so in 1929 some permanent steel stairs replaced the wooden ones. However, before these steel stairs were put in, in 1919 the tower was blown over in a wind storm but was quickly repaired and back in use within a year. The tower closed in the 1970s and remained unused until it was restored in 1995-1996 by the Hadley Fire Tower Committee with the help of the DEC ranger corps.

The tower, currently open for climbing

Its original destination was supposed to be on top of Ohmer Mountain, but a property dispute led it to be placed on top of Hadley Mountain instead. It was one of the original 10 towers purchased by the Conservation Commission, costing about $530.00 at the time.

From the tower you can see the Green Mountain range to the east, The Great Sacandaga Lake to the south, and a few High Peaks of the Adirondacks to the north. On a really clear day you can see the Catskills to the south as well. Spruce Mountain, also a fire tower mountain, is to the west. The cute little bald mountain below is called Roundtop.

Sacandaga Lake

Roundtop Mountain,

Looking below in the valleys gives you a great appreciation for all the green that you see, because it was all destroyed in 1903 and again in 1908 by wild forest fires. The soil has still not completely recovered from being sterilized in these fires.

Information from:
Views from on High: Fire Tower Trails in the Adirondacks and Catskills, by John P Freeman

Click here to see the full photo set of my hike up Hadley Mountain.


Anonymous said...

I enjoy your ventures, and the eye/feeling you have for taking just the right pix to share. Often it is the little things that touch me such as the trail marker, the cracked stone from the ice, damn lock, beautiful flower, and such.

Thanks for sharing. Can I move?

storybeader said...

sorry you missed another signed card. The pics are great - it is so beautiful there.

knittingdragonflies said...

How fun! the last time we hiked this the tower wasn't open.

Mama Z said...

Beautiful pictures!