The Crooked Canes Journal


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Spruce Mtn Fire Tower - Then and Now ~ Dec 31, 2015

Journal entry by Wanderer



The last time a hike to the Spruce Mt Firetower was offered as a regular CC outing was back on February 13, 2014. The weather forecast called for snow towards midday but apparently there were still six individuals brave enough to risk driving in poor conditions to enjoy the panoramic view from the top of the tower before it became socked in. Oh - wait a minute – the tower was closed - so just why did we six attend? – I can’t remember.

Fast forward to December 31, 2015 - The weather forecast was slightly better – cloudy but warm for the last day of the year, with a few inches of snow remaining from a recent storm (and only one) – not enough to require snowshoes but Microspikes sure helped. The tower had recently been renovated with its official reopening this past October. Perhaps it was with the anticipation of climbing to the top of the tallest firetower in the Adirondacks that attracted the twenty-two hikers – it didn’t matter because everyone was having fun.

The trail had been rerouted from the old one but did not eliminate the 1,000’ gain and most noticed. The reported distance was 1.3 miles to the tower but our Garmin trackers said it was actually 1.5 – a lot less than some thought but “that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.” The hike up the mountain takes you through a variety of forest types - some mixed hardwoods, some hemlock groves and some areas that were logged in the not too distant past – perhaps a reflection of the different owners of the lands along the trail which include New York State, Lyme Timberlands and Saratoga PLAN. Portions of the trail bordered old stone walls – evidence of a time gone by.

We arrived at the tower and had to spread out quite a bit to find suitable lunch spots and protect ourselves from the wind which had noticeably picked up. Perhaps a picnic table or two will be constructed in the future or some benches – that’s OK, eventually everyone found a nest area. What would a New Year’s Eve hike be without goodies and we weren’t disappointed – there were homemade cookies, Milano and Chocolate covered Biscotti cookies, and dark chocolate for all, topped off with enough Wassail (some call it hot mulled cider) for everyone to have several cups full. Perhaps Barbara’s newly coined phrase “If you lead us you must feed us” will become the norm! Our lengthy time on top allowed small groups at a time to ascend the tower that provides a panoramic view of the area on a clear day – it is said that views as far as 120 miles away can be seen – from the northern Catskills to the Central Adirondacks and Vermont to the east. Eventually our time on top had to come to an end and the group began the hike down in small groups – periodically coming together at times – perhaps thinking about how they would bring in the New Year later on that night. I know how I brought in the New Year and had a wonderful time – I hope everyone else did too.

Thanks,
Peter


1/4/16 - Margie Litwin added 3 photos.

1/5/16 - RayB Bouchard added 2 photos.

1/24/16 - Wanderer . added 13 photos.

18 photos



Happy folks visiting the recently renovated firetower cabin-Joanne, Lynn, Cathy and Jim. - added by Margie



It was a long way down looking at these arriving hikers from the tower. - added by Margie



Sam toasts a well-loved location with a welcome hot cider. - added by Margie



Peter & Linda holding the goodies they brought along so we could celebrate the eve of the New Year properly. Meanwhile, Fran is conditioning her skin in preparation for her first Polar Plunge tomorrow, New Year's day ;-) . - added by RayB



My New Year's Day wish for all of you: May the Bluebirds of happiness follow you no matter where you are. - added by RayB



New Year's Eve Revelers - added by Wanderer



Making their way up the mountain - Linda in the lead - added by Wanderer



Time for a short rest - added by Wanderer



Lunch sitting down .... - added by Wanderer



.... or lunch standing up - your choice! - added by Wanderer



Barbara on the "Tower" - added by Wanderer



The last 75' of the climb - the tallest fire tower in the Adirondack Park - added by Wanderer



The attendees back on 2-13-2014 - Lenore, Diane, Linda, Liz and Sam - notice how happy Linda looks - added by Wanderer



The weather on New Year's Eve wasn't quite as good as it was when I scouted it out on Christmas morning. In order to entice you to visit Spruce Mountain I thought I would include some of the pictures from that day. Trailside cascade - added by Wanderer



One of the stone walls along the trail - a remnant of the past - added by Wanderer



Distant mountain views - added by Wanderer



More of the panoramic view from the top of the firetower - added by Wanderer



Just another stone wall - added by Wanderer




February 13, 2014 Attendees – Sam (leader), Linda F, Diane, Lenore, Liz, Peter

December 31, 2015 Attendees – Donna & Peter, Sam, Ray Bouchard, Ray Boucher, Jan & Jim, Barbara, Joanne, Don, Karen Burke, Gail, Fran, Margie, Lynn, Katie, Tom, Cathy G, Ed, Joy, Linda & Peter

For those of you who would like to see the details of all New York State fire towers please check out:
www.firetowerradio.net/Fire_Tower_List_3-14-11.pdf

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