Saturday, November 9, 2013

Flight to Lake Placid and the High Peaks

I've been wanting to make this flight to see the peaks I've hiked for quite some time but each time weather, usually strong winds has prevented me. On a couple occasions when good weather aligned with my days off I was already in these mountains hiking.

On this day there was high pressure over the northeast and the skies were clear. The only possible problem were winds in the northeast portions of NY, but they were forecast to die off about the time I would arrive.

(click on images for full resolution)
Departing Marcellus just before 10 am I headed NE at 1,600' to remain under the Class C airspace surrounding Syracuse.

My first turn point was Syracuse Suburban Airport (6NK) near Brewerton. A few years back lots of taxpayer money was spent paving and refurbishing this unused field only to have it continue to be unused. Passing 6NK I was out from under the Class C and made an 80 mph cruise climb to 5,500'

Passing north of Camden and Rome marks from the last glacier are visible in the foreground with the large wind farm west of Booneville in the distance.

Mudhole pond and Pine Lakes just SW of Old Forge
Most of the leaves were gone from the trees once I left the lowlands of Central NY, but the endless  undeveloped forest of the Adirondack Park was beautiful none the less. Forest broken only by lakes, creeks, swamps and very rarely, a road.

Old Forge and the Fulton chain of lakes. To the left of center the Old Forge Airport is visible. In the distance just to the right of center is Blue Mountain a great afternoon hike with an unrestricted views from the fire tower on the summit.
Heading into the eastern part of the state skies became a little hazy, though visibilities were still 50+ miles

Approaching the High Peaks, Santanoni Peak in the foreground beyond Moose Pond on the right. Algonquin and Marcy white with snow and ice on the horizon beyond.

Marcy on the left, Skylight closer, Haystack behind. In the distance, Giant.

Hikers atop Marcy in this zoomed in shot

Indian, Algonquin and Wright.

My Cessna at Lake Placid. Whiteface in the background.

I was really surprised to find a Challenger tied out at Lake Placid. This is a single seat version of the two-place I own. Some day I want to fly my Challenger up here and spend a couple days photographing the hills and area where I spend so many of my weekends.

Cessna sizing up the next Challenge.

Whiteface Mountain and the Whiteface Veterans Memorial Highway. My son David and I hiked Esther and Whiteface again a year ago. We first hiked Whiteface almost 20 years ago when he was 6.

After flying over the KOA I frequent when in Placid, I followed Rt 12 to Upper Jay to pick up Rt 9N to Keene and Keene Valley. Marcy Field in the foreground.

From the right: Lower Wolfjaw, Upper Wolfjaw, Armstrong, and Gothics along the Great Range. (I hiked the latter 3 on one 12 hour hike in 2012.) In the distant center is Marcy. These mountains are even more intimidating when flying down low than they are when hiking. The view flying just above the peaks is breathtaking.

I didn't take too many pictures on the way back as the sun and haze made for very low contrast from cruising altitude.

Bald Mountain (Rondaxe) is just northeast of Old Forge. It is an easy under 1 hour hike to the tower for a great view of the lakes

Enchanted Forest - Water Safari in Old Forge.

Onondaga Lake and Syracuse with under 10 minutes to Marcellus.

Total flight time just over 4 hours. A very satisfying ride as we near the end of the season. A few days later as I write this I am already hearing the mountains calling me. Maybe I'll take another hike in the lower hills, before winter settles in and snowshoes are needed.

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