It’s the first day of Spring; got fire tower fever? We sure do! There are 52 fire towers in the Adirondacks and George and I have only hiked about half.
“Cheap” views from atop steel girders raise the temperature of fun for all who can pinpoint the trailheads. Sometimes, that’s half the battle! Case in point: Stillwater Mountain.
This particular hike is a far-flung destination north of Old Forge, south of the Stillwater Reservoir, and part of the Independence River Wild Forest. No surprise, it’s not easy to find.
Be prepared to get your all-wheel-drive mighty dirty on a muddy, logging road by the name of Stillwater and Big Moose. It’s a rollercoaster rife with potholes, dips, and depressions. A true menace for those who aren’t equipped with snow tires. In fact, I doubt this stretch would even be navigable in the dead of winter without snowmobilers helping to tamp it down.
(Oh, and do yourself a favor, print out a paper map or carry a satellite phone – you’ll be lucky to get one bar with a regular cell phone, even atop the tower.)
Today’s 90-minute adventure still called for micro-spikes. George used hiking sticks to keep his balance around human post holes in the snow.
With an elevation gain of 534 feet, the gradual ascent was tagged with blue tree markers. Super easy with few other humans in sight – no surprise.
At about 3/4 of the way up, a large swath of felled trees looks like a natural derecho might have wiped out the area but, unfortunately, this is part of a conservation easement where logging is allowed. Posted signs on the trail and at the top warn you to respect the boundaries.
There is a picnic table at the summit but, better yet, eat your snacks with a panoramic view from a sheltered cabin. Amid the communications devices, solar panels, wiring, antennas, and other equipment is a billowing flag that adds to the majesty.
To enjoy more scenics, visit my FLICKR album.