Sunday, June 14, 2009

Pillsbury Mt Fire Tower: Bike and Hike

My guide books warned of bad road conditions between Rt 30 and the parking lot at the trail head. When it comes off-road driving with my car, a little Corolla, I am always afraid it's going to get stuck somewhere and that I will not be able to get it out. My husband and I had a bad experience driving it to a campground down in the Catskills last summer, I was in a state of hysteria and I wasn't even the one driving!

My dentist's assistant had mentioned that she rode her bike in when climbing Pillsbury, so we decided to do it that way. We probably could have safely driven in farther than we did but I assured Sister that biking in would be a lot less worse than being stuck in the car with hysterical me.

WOW. For the 3+ miles from where I parked to the trail head we had to alternate walking with biking, and we encountered a lot of unfriendly sand. There were parts where I said "I could have totally gotten my car in here" followed by.... "I am SO GLAD I didn't take my car in here." However, there were a few little sedans in parking lot that apparently made it in without harm. Nonetheless, it certainly added to the adventure. We would not have gotten to see the snake if we drove in. And we wouldn't have been able to say we did it!

For an easy 1.6 mile walk to the summit, the trail seemed to last forever! It probably had something to do with the 3 mile bike ride in, but after a while we began to have tower mirages, which is a phrase we made up for when you are so ready to see the tower that you actually start to think that trees and branches are the tower up ahead.

On the way up we saw toads, wild flowers which Sister can name, and a dead moth with a pattern on its underside that resembled two eyes staring up at us.

The tower is climbable but the cab is not accessible. The fierce wind forced us to hurry back down to the ground not giving us time to look for other mountains such as Snowy and Wakely which also have fire towers.

There is a nice little bench and a wooden ergonomically designed makeshift chair surrounding a fire pit where we enjoyed our lunch.

Round trip from the time we left the car on our bikes to the return to the car was about 4 hours. This included a total of 6 miles biking and 3.2 miles hiking. Not too bad.

Elevation change: 1337
Total Elevation: 3597
Round trip from trail head: 3.2 miles

Click here to see all the pictures.

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