When I advertise my trip lead Adk. mystery hikes, I’ve never considered anything other than the Keene Valley/ Lake Placid High Peaks region. But when hiking with Mark McLane a couple of weeks ago, he talked up his Tongue Mtn. Range hike in June so much so that I changed my thinking and also “went off the reservation” meaning hiking in an area that I’d never hiked before as a trip leader who likes to know where she’s parking, knowledge of the trail, etc. I totally winged it! And the pay off was HUGE!

Pete, Dasha and I met at the Shaw’s lot on Shelburne Road at 6:50 am and then headed to Shelburne to pick up Ted at the Pierson Library lot. As we neared the south property of the Shelburne Museum, the Adks. were sticking up very proudly, snow capped from the previous Thursday’s valley rain and high elevation snow. We made a quick pit stop at the Ti Dunkin Donuts (yes, for donuts!) and then hit the Clay Meadow trailhead, bypassing it once as the sign is not particularly visible from road, grabbing one of two remaining parking spots. We hit the trailhead at 9 am sharp and the rattlesnake warning posting greeted us upon sign in – YIKES!

We knew of the snakes but having the posting there made it really real! (Just one pencil-sized, maybe foot-long garter snake was spotted mid-day.) Lunch on French Point Mtn. with a couple from Amsterdam, NY around 12 N and hit Montcalm Point around 3 pm to see 2 boats with fishermen…how often do you encounter boats on a hike??!! 5 miles from point to car, much of it was along the lake shore so our views were still very much prominent and luckily not as wet as we may have thought with the recent rain. Back at the car at 5:45 pm after the 12.6 mile loop then onto the Bolton Landing Brewing Company for sandwiches and french fries and craft beer! Back at the Shaw’s at 9 pm. A fantastic day all the way around! Ted put it perfectly – this is one for the GMC history books!

What was abundant during our day? Chipmunks, sunshine!, warmth, fabulous views from all summit points of Fifth Peak, French Point Mtn. and First Peak, chipmunks, bright green moss, rolling trails, great foliage, laughs, stories, chipmunks, trail markers, Lake George boater traffic!! What wasn’t abundant? Wind (there was zero to very light breezes), silence (we all had too much to say!), rattlesnake sightings (Ted was especially disappointed), people (I think we encountered 7 all day).

What did we save? About 11′ as per Ted from bushwhacking off Fifth to pick up the trail to French Point rather than backtracking from the Fifth lean-to back to the trail!!

Participants: Ted Albers, Pete Saile, Dasha Zentrichova, Robynn Albert (leader). Photos: Ted and Robynn.

Tongue Mountain Range Trail(linktoPDF)