Climbing Kane Mountain near Caroga Lake

George takes a bite out of winter while hiking up Kane Mountain in the Southern Adirondacks. Dec. 20, 2014
George takes a bite out of winter while hiking up Kane Mountain in the Southern Adirondacks. Dec. 20, 2014

Don’t let cabin fever take over you this winter. There are hundreds of trails in every direction of Albany and all offer beautiful scenery, diverse terrain and an opportunity to photograph incredible views. It might take a slip or two, a mouthful of obscenities and a frozen nose, but sooner or later, you too (like my boyfriend seen above) will come to appreciate hiking in colder climates.

The half-mile loop at Kane Mountain, with it’s steel-frame lookout tower, is the ideal climb to start the season. Located near Caroga Lake in the Southern Adirondacks, George and I explored the plentiful lake region with no more than a pair of warm hiking boots and a backpack full of peanut butter sandwiches. One blamed the other for not remembering the Microspikes, but the hike was so short and gradual (we even saw teens racing up without gloves) that we quickly resigned ourselves to embrace this carefree moment.

A hiker that we met coming down while we were climbing up, described how she tried to face her fear of heights by climbing to the top of the 60-foot tall observation station. She couldn’t do it. The steps were coated with slippery ice and that alone was enough to scare her.

When we got to the summit, we gripped the handrails tightly and crept up slowly. Crystal-like icicles looking like small jagged teeth coated the perch, circa 1925. Views of surrounding lakes and ponds and undulating valleys and hills is breathtaking.

At ground-level, we propped ourselves against the open window frame of an abandoned lookout station for lunch. Sadly, graffiti and vandalism litter what is left of an important part of the daily life of staffed observers who worked hard on fire prevention and detection. Based on the scribbling, the carvings were probably left by defiant adolescents. It’s not often that I see so much defacing done to wonderful wooden relics of the past.

At the parking lot off Green Lake Road, we discovered that the trail was actually a loop. We could have come down a different way that was even prettier. Definitely, a reason to return in early Spring.

Fire tower at Kane Mountain

Stinging icicles

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