Sunday, April 5, 2009

Bald/Rondaxe Mountain Fire Tower

The drive to the trail head was a bleak one. We left home, which was overcast and 47 degrees, and crossed through what seemed to be a time warp before arriving to our final destination. Upon arrival we encountered a problem most unexpected for the month of April. The parking area was not plowed after the most recent snowfall, and the snow plows had displaced the snow from the road into the opening of the parking area. My car easily gets stuck in snow bumps at the ends of driveways, and with no cell phone reception, I was afraid we'd be stuck half in the parking lot and half in the road until the snow melted. Fortunately, I had not yet mustered up enough ambition to remove my winter stock of kitty litter from the trunk of the car, so I thew some down for traction and we sailed in with no problems!

The hike was super easy - the biggest challenge was finding the trail markers buried under a thin layer of fresh snow. According to Views from on High, it is only 0.9 miles to the summit. There was a few slick spots, and a few muddy spots, but overall, few obstacles.

My Stablicers clicked like tap shoes as we carefully walked across the spiny bare rock formations, hence the name "Bald Mountain."

The tower was open all the way up to the cab. We had to use our imagination to see the 360o views, as the fog, snow, and clouds masked the surrounding mountains. We could make out First through Fourth Lakes, and were disappointed that the High Peaks and Blue Mountain remained hidden in the dense gray clouds.

The original tower was wooden and built in 1912, standing 20' tall. The current 35' steel tower was built in 1917 and was closed in 1990. It remained closed until June 18, 2005 which happens to be the day I got married!

On the way down we encountered a few other hikers. One pair of older men remarked that they knew at least one female was on the mountain. I assumed it was because they noticed my kitty littering work in the parking area, but turns out this CSI Rondaxe observation was based on the small size of our footprints in the snow.

It was a quick descent to the car and we exited the parking area over the snow bump with nothing more than a small fish tail swerve.

Naturally, the sun magically appeared not too long after we began our road trip home. It was sunny and 55 degrees at home upon our return.

Check out all my pictures from the hike here!javascript:void(0)


corin said...

oh, wow! I cannot believe you hit that kind of weather in April. You never know, I guess. Thanks for confirming that the wind turbine on Black was new since the fall. I have climbed Black 3x now and thought I was crazy for not noticing it the other 2x's! Wakely is a fire tower I did not document on my blog. That is an awesome hike and great views. I am hesitant to do the Catskill towers because I hate leaving the Adk park. But will obviously have to in order to complete the challenge. I look forward to following your hikes and your jewelry is adorable too.

storybeader said...

I would have guessed small footprints = female too! I don't know why you thought it was because of kitty litter. That gave me a good laugh.

That first picture, of the road, was the best! But maybe I'm just nostalgic for New England. Love the trees!

Becky said...

Yay for cat litter and quick thinking! - were you a girl scout?
That picture of you looks treacherous, like you might slide off! I think I'll try that hike in nicer weather though, it looks like the view is amazing. :D