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Poke-O-Moonshine, February 2005

This mountain is located north of the high peaks region and sandwiched between Lake Champlain and Whiteface Mountain. For obvious reasons it boasts great views for such a small mountain. The trailhead is at the base of multiple cliffs so the beginning of the hike is steep as the trail cuts through and switches back along the wall of rock and ice.
Signing in    Whoa    Cliffs
The trail was in great shape with the exception of a few icy spots that made for some tricky navigation. The weather was awesome for this winter hike. The sky was cloudless and deep blue, the wind was light and the temps bearable. There used to be a cabin near the summit for the person that manned the old fire tower, all that remains now is the stone fireplace and foundation.
All that's left
After leaving the wind protected flat below the summit, the trail ascends in a switchback manner. Prior to the final ascent toward the summit, the trail leads you onto a south facing slope with the first views of Whiteface Mountain and the northern high peaks.
Jon    Awesome day
The summit itself is partially bare and the fire tower is still intact. Jon and I were bummed to find the observation cabin locked. I guess the fate of all the Adirondack fire towers is questionable at this point. The views from the top are awesome. The crystal clear day we experienced certainly helped. To the east, Lake Champlain seemed endless in both directions. We could see a few large snow capped mountains in Vermont as clear as we could see our own high peaks. The sun was just right to warm your face so we chilled on the peak for quite a while. We were soon joined by another pair of hikers who had brought along their canine companion, Elvis. He proved to be very hiker friendly and we enjoyed his company. I think he expected me to throw my hiking stick for him to fetch. Letting him latch onto it was the only way I could get him in front of the camera lens for more than two seconds. Once I had his attention, all I had to do was hold it over my head and he stood there waiting eagerly.
Gimme back my walking stick    Old tower    Elvis     
On the way back down, we stopped at the lean-to to cook a little lunch. Because the trail was short and the mountain small, we really had plenty of time to relax and enjoy being out in God's country. That is not a luxury you have sometimes when trying to tackle one of the high peaks in one day. The lean-to has seen a lot of use over the years, evidenced unfortunately by the multiple carvings in the wood. Interestingly though, this lean-to contained a few objects that caught my attention. One was a canister with a log book inside. You may be reading this now because I left my web address below my entry. If so, welcome .... I hope you enjoy the site. Anyways, I digress ..... there was also a small clothing tag tacked to the side wall, "Made in USA". I couldn't resist taking a macro shot of it. The strangest thing however was the Gideon's bible leaning against the same side wall with a pair of mittens next to it. Warmth for your hands and your soul I guess!
Jon the camp cook    Star Spangled Banner    The good book
All in all a great day in the Adirondacks with a great friend and some well needed exercise for yours truly! This was my first hike since September of '04!
Whiteface Mountain    Lake Champlain

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