Tongue Mountain Hike

Last Sunday, I drove to Queensbury, NY, to collect my freshly stoneground skis. It’s a long way to drive for a 10-minute errand, so I drove a few miles north to hike on the Tongue Mountain peninsula.

Seventeen years ago, Ellen and I hiked over the spine of the Tongue Mountain range, to the southernmost point, returning along the water. Today, I wanted to go to Five Mile Point midway down the peninsula.

Setting out from the Clay Meadow trail head, I crossed a bog and began going pretty much straight up.

Waterfall along the trail.

Waterfall along the trail.

On the summit ridge, there’s an intersection. The north- and southbound trails were easy to find, but the continuation of the eastern trail, not so much.  After blundering around for a few minutes, I finally noticed a red trail marker headed east.

Early afternoon light comes through beech trees on Tongue Mountain.

Early afternoon light comes through beech trees on Tongue Mountain.

Where the trail to the ridge was well-used and easy to follow, the descent to Five Mile Point was anything but. My guess is that Five Mile Point isn’t as popular as the ridge hike, which has spectacular views.

There was little trail maintenance, and it seemed that the DEC ran out of red trail markers.

beaver-pond

Beaver pond, east of the ridgeline.

When the trail is easy, hey, who needs a marker?  But obvious bits were interspersed with sections that required serious route finding.  A few times, I thought about turning around.

Looking across Lake George.

Looking across Lake George.

When the slop got really steep, I knew I was close. What had been a trail in name only became a wide carriage road that had been engineered. Gradually, the lake revealed itself.

The obligatory selfie.

The obligatory selfie.

Having returned to eastern standard time that night, he day was short. I’d forgotten to bring a headlamp, so I turned around a quarter mile from the lake.

Road descending to the Lake George shoreline. Steeper than it looks.

Road descending to the Lake George shoreline. Steeper than it looks.

On the way out, I blundered around a few times, but found the right route.  There are sections where there was no trail and I was like, “keep that bog on your right” or “go to the left of the deadfall.”

This area may not have the glory of the massive peaks further north, but it was a great day. Combine Tongue Mountain with Crane or other peaks in this part of the world. It’s a worthwhile trip.

northeast-view-lk-george