Monday, October 20, 2008

Columbus Day Hike: Owl's Head Mountain

I usually work on Columbus Day, but this year I had it off, so Sister and I took advantage of the good weather and our free time to squeeze in some leaf peeping before the trees are completely bare. Owl's Head, in Long Lake, NY, was our destination. We chose this based on location and its climbable tower for foliage picture taking. It looked like we had just missed "peak" foliage, but the colors were beautiful nonetheless.

The trail was covered in crisp orange, red, and brown leaves - even the smallest chipmunks sounded like beasts with their feet crunching on the blanket of fallen leaves. It was an easy hike for the most part, despite the fact that it was our longest fire tower hike so far. After about 2.8 miles of hiking, we came across what is left of the old observers cabin. At a quick glance, it looked like a small cemetery, and in a way, the remaining cement blocks were like headstones marking the remains of the cabin.

Remains of the observers cabin

The tail end of the hike was the hardest part - steep, bare rock slimed with run-off from the top of the mountain. I lost my footing on a bare, wet rock and grabbed a tree for support. The tree trunk took off two small chunks of skin from my thumb, resembling a vampire bite, appropriate for the month of October I suppose...

The tower was climbable, and the cab was open! I was proud of my ability to recognize Blue Mountain without a map or guidebook. According to my Views from on High book, by John P. Freeman, you can also see Owl's Head Pond, Raquette Lake and Forked Lake. Because of its proximity, Long Lake is mostly hidden from view.

Blue Mountain from Owl's Head Tower

It was a 360 degree view from the tower, but even from the bottom of the tower you could see Blue Mountain, some foliage, and other gorgeous views.

The 35-ft Aermoter steel tower was built in 1919, and abandoned in 1970. DEC forest ranger Jim Waters, with the help of other DEC personnel and the Friends of Owl's Head Fire Tower, restored the tower in 2004.

See my Flickr set for all the photos from the hike!


storybeader said...

that foliage is surreal! It's truly beautiful. Glad you got a chance to go hiking with Sister before the cold weather set in... Hope your hand is better.

storybeader said...

those pics were just great. Couldn't help but looking at them all. The colors are just beautiful - surreal, actually. The yellows. Thanks for sharing! as always, {:-D

uniquecommodities said...

gorgeous pics! I love nature and anything outside!

Erika said...

The foliage is a gorgeous green. Quite lovely.