Monday, March 28, 2016

Fire tower challenge: Spruce Mountain & Kane Mountain

For a while my focus was on climbing the highest peaks in the Adirondacks. Much like after a big goal race, after completing the 46 high peaks, I fell into a bit of a slump. I had done some Catskill High Peaks and various other mountains, but the rush wasn't there. I found what I was craving with new training plans and running routes. I tackled and achieved new PRs in EVERY distance within the past 6 months ( minus the marathon which I am yet to tackle again) running has been good to me. After achieving my new PR a few weeks back, I've fallen a bit into the post race blues. I have some plans for the rest of the year, but most of the training doesn't start for a few more weeks.  I have gone for a few runs when I've felt like it, but haven't stressed about it much.  
My asthma & allergies have been fighting with me for the past few days, so while I mostly feel okay, running / black lung isn't the most fun.  Instead of going for a long run, I decided to do some easy hiking this weekend. 

I had checked the weather on Friday night, which promised a clear day on Saturday. Amazingly, Marcy dog & Foster Erma allowed me to sleep in, so I was very much enjoying laying in bed around 8am.  It was still cloudy out, and I was being a fair weather hiker. I wanted views! 

I sent a text to my friend Corey that lives up near Saratoga, close to Spruce Mountain.  He confirmed it was still cloudy, but was free to join me for the walk, so I hopped out of bed, grabbed Marcy and headed towards the trail head.  

Marcy very ready for an adventure

Corey had to attach his small human to his back and I had to adjust Marcy on the leash but we were on the trail after just a few minutes. (( I am uncertain what the dog/leash rule is and as much as I know Marcy loves to run off leash, I respect non dog walkers and non friendly dogs and their right to be on the trail, so Marcy and linked up to begin the walk. ))  The walk was a steady incline that meanders through the woods.  There is evidence of old stone walls and the trees are obviously fairly young. 
Just before reaching the top,  Coreys son was ready to stretch his legs, it was fun to watch the little man find the least clear path to follow up the mountain. 

happy dog!

even happier dog
I paid absolutely no attention to my watch, so I'm not sure what time we started, ended up on the summit, left the summit or arrived back at the car.  But it didn't take long. I tied Marcy to the fire tower and headed up the 11 flights to the top.  It had cleared up and the views were great. It was nice to be back. Because Coreys family was doing an easter thing that afternoon & since his nearly 2 year old was with us, we didn't hang for too long.  His kiddo was a good sport about being in the backpack as we walked back down.  Overall a great walk & nice views if you're willing to climb a fire tower.

I wasn't going to hike again on Sunday.  I didn't feel awesome and had a lot of things I had neglected to do.  I slept in again and slowly made progress towards cleaning the house, laundry, and baking bread. It amazes me how some days I don't have enough hours in the day, and then to have accomplished everything by 2pm.  I felt a bit restless so I decided to take a drive to another short hike to a fire tower.  
Despite living in the greater Albany area for nearly all my life, I don't think that I've ever been to Amsterdam.  I enjoyed the drive but questioned if I should even go hiking since I wasn't feeling well. Once I arrived at the trail head and it said .6 I knew that I'd be able to manage just fine.  

Within the first few minutes I passed two groups, both with small children.  I wanted to get a bit of distance so that when I went up into the fire tower, and left Marcy tied to a tree, they wouldn't bother her and vice versa.  But I wasn't putting in a ton of effort.  
According to online this was the "steeper" trail, but it didn't have any scrambles. I had signed in just after 3 and reached the fire tower 20 minutes later.  There was no one around the base & only one person up on the tower, so I trapped Marcy to a tree and made my way up quick.  
can you spot Marcy?

The man that was up there was a bit of a pain.  He was complaining about the other people that had been there previously and then try to show off about other hikes he had done. I had wanted to enjoy the view, but he would not stop talking.  He proceeded to tell me about his very impressive fish tank installations business, after enough nodding and smiling, I decided to make my way back down. I sat on the rock for a bit enjoying the afternoon.  I enjoyed listening to a family negotiate who had to go to the top to take photos ( no one ended up going ) and just sitting.    
me & my best girl

There is quite a bit of space up on the top, including an old rangers cabin.  Since the trail is so short, it has obviously become a spot for people to come to party, it looked neat and I had planned to sit on the porch and take some pictures with Marcy.  As we started walking closer, Marcy got a full mohawk (something she only does if she feels threatened or unsure) and started her real growl, not the 'I'm trying to get you to play with me' growl. I didn't see any people or animals, but there was obviously something there that she could sense. I had absolutely no interest in finding out what it was, I've been watching a lot of the originial x files and figured it was a good time to get out of the woods.

Just about an hour after signing in, I was back at the parking lot and ready to head home.  I officially spent more time driving to this mountain than I did on it.

what a lovely weekend back on the trails!


  1. I was going to spruce this weekend but found out that there is a winery down the road that opens in 2 weeks, so I'm holding off to make it a combo trip. I'd like to complete the fire tower challenge this year if you want to join in on any hikes!

  2. My asthma and allergies have been horrendous too. Maybe the mild winter meant the pollen could come on stronger this spring.

    What a beautiful area to hike!