Last week my son and I did our annual Lake George trip. We typically stay at the “Adirondack Park Motel” and rent a Boat from “Chic’s” marina and explore and swim the lake. We did that on Thursday and had a great time. We had the entire lake practically to ourselves with very little wind and sunny skies.
Lately my son ,Andrew, has shown more of an interest in hiking and ask me to take him on one of my favorite hikes. So many to choose from, Grace from 73 past Lily Pad pond, bushwhack Round Mountain from Round pond, West Mill Brook to Wyman or Camels Hump, all nice choices except I was not confident in Andrews navigation skills should I become disabled (at 62 I am beginning to not trust myself physically as much as I used to) so we settled on the Jay Mountain Range. The new trail is easy to follow and the ridge is easy to navigate for a newbie with common sense. It also meant that if my knees did not want to carry me the whole way I could stop and hang out on the ridge while Andrew could complete the ridge and join me on the way back.
The current trail up Jay Mountain makes access to the ridge very easy, especially coming down. We were at the trail head by 10 AM and out of the woods and up on the ridge by 11:15.
The weather provided a Jurassic Park feel. The surrounding mountains and ridges were draped in low hanging clouds that continually threatened to engulf us but never did. The ridge seemed to be blocking the dense low clouds to the north out of the valley to the south. The view to the south was intermittent, changing from rays of sun through low clouds that lifted occasionally giving us glimpses of the Giant and Hurricane Mountain wilderness areas.
We hiked the entire length of the ridge over slabs of rock, easy scrambles and down then up vegetated low spots. As we had lunch on the eastern most knob we were treated to some beautiful views of lake Champlain through crystal clear holes that opened and then closed in the passing clouds. I spent some time on the summit of Jay peering down on Merrium swamp where my buddies and I spent a week camping and bushwhacking around the Jay, Saddleback, Slip mountain area. That trip was in February and the fact that we only had snow shoes with crampons limited the amount of exploring we could do on a ridge that was encased in boiler plate ice covered by an inch of snow in places. Fortunately the other peaks had better conditions for our equipment and the trip is memorable for me. Now I have the complimentary memory of tee shirts and trail runners on Jay ridge trail.
Just before we left the ridge on our way back we stopped and pondered what a bushwhack, north, would be like over to Arnold Mountain and its open, slab covered top. The whole area to the north looked worthy of exploration. When I got home I researched the area and found a great trip report on the “offonadventure” blog. Sounds like he did exactly what we were contemplating and, if you like bushwhacking, is really worth the read.
The wooded trail down was a delight on my knees and allowed for some nice day dreaming about our experience on the ridge. Crystal clear sky’s with hundred mile views are great and very much appreciated but there is something to be said for the dramatic ever changing atmosphere of dynamic, unstable mountain weather.
Back to the trail head at 4:30 and on our way back to Lake George via Jay Mountain road through Elizabethtown.

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