Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Cathedral Rock Fire Tower

We chose Cathedral Rock as our final Adirondack Fire Tower in the challenge. The drive took us through some peak foliage areas all the way up north to Cranberry Lake. The trail we chose, the Latham trail, starts at the Ranger School. We started off intending to take the jeep road as per the guide book but we were easily confused by all the options we had with the different roads and decided that the Latham trail seemed to be the most direct, marked traill. Besides, it is so much more fun to stroll through the woods!

On the way we passed a leaf collecting ranger student, perhaps one of the few people genuinely excited that we were near completion of the challenge. The Latham trail was very easy, well maintained with no steep areas. It brings you by a cliff overlook and up some stairs. It seems to be a popular trail and tower, there were several hikers at the summit despite the light rain.

We were pleased that the tower cab was open, and even though it was a dreary day there were still a couple miles of visibility. A plaque on a large rock near the tower is dedicated to the rangers that have watched over the forest land over the years. A table map of the area is still in the tower where we tried to find Mt. Arab, one of the towers we climbed early on in the challenge, unfortunately a strange talkative intruder asked too us to many questions, creeped us out, and we left before we could find it!

Round trip distance is 2.4 miles, but I think that is using the jeep road. Elevation change is only 185 feet to the summit elevation of 1725 feet, so it is a great hike if you have little kids.

The tower once stood on Tooley Pond Mountain, and the materials were salvaged in 1971 with permission of the DEC by the students of the Ranger School. Reconstruction began in the 1980s and was completed with windows and all in 2000. I didn't notice at the time, and I can't see it in my pictures, but at one time (and maybe still) there was a rotating "stan-helio" signal at the top which reflects the sun's rays in all directions. Also known as a tin sun, it was a replica of the signal used by Verplanck Colvin to locate particular summits from a great distance.

It was a lovely hike, despite the rain and long drive.

Information on the tower and trail is from our favorite fire tower book "Views from on High" by John P. Freeman.

More pictures from the day can be seen on my Flickr page.

1 comment:

corin said...

congrats on your finish!! have enjoyed your trip reports...now what is your plan? work on the 46?