Monday, August 24, 2015

Jenkins Mountain Hike

I had climbed Jenkins Mt. about 25 years ago at a time when the Paul Smiths VIC was run by the state (it is now part of Paul Smiths College) and my memory of the hike was rather foggy. I remembered that the trail started on an old road, but I didn't remember that the road part was as long as it is. I remembered walking along a couple of eskers and I thought I remembered being able to see the lower summit of the two-humped mountain from the higher summit. I was totally wrong on the last memory.

The road part has changed since my hike of yore. The road is no longer in the process of overgrowing as it was when the state ran the VIC. Paul Smiths is a forestry college and they call it "Logger's Loop". It winds gradually uphill and there are several demonstration plots along it showing different methods of forestry management. Not too far up I spotted a patch of Bergamot (Bee Balm) alongside the road. I don't know if it is natural or whether it was 'encouraged' to grow there, but it warranted several photos including the one above. Another subject that presented itself along the roadside near a culvert was this fungus.

Over the years I have collected more than 400 photos of fungi, a large proportion of them at the VIC and this trip was no exception. I spotted several more to add to my collection.

After leaving the road which had narrowed to an AVT trail (motorized use limited to the college's staff) the walking trail follows the ridge of an esker (deposits of glacial till) between two low wet areas. The one on the side toward the mountain contained two beaver lodges and offered a view of the lower peak of the mountain. I was fortunate that the raspberries and blackberries were in season. There were patches near the point where a stream cut through the esker to the opposite side.

There was very little climbing to the trail so far but that was about to change although none of the trail is very steep. After leaving the esker you begin climbing the mountain itself through pleasant woods. I had thought perhaps I was alone because it was mid-week and hadn't seen anyone but nearing the top I met a couple descending and at the summit a young woman, her son and their dog were enjoying the view. They soon left however and I ate a late lunch in solitude. I saw no one else the rest of the day. I made a 5 frame panorama from the summit and photographed some other views including a birch tree that was growing next to the summit ledge. The mountain peak in the panorama is St. Regis Mt.

I left the summit around 3 PM and made some photos along the trail as I went back down.

All the data I could find on the web about this hike indicated that it was 4.5 miles to the summit, but my GPS only came up with 8.2 miles for the whole trip which started at the gate by the beginning of the Logger's Loop road. Perhaps the others were using a starting point near the VIC entrance on Rt. 30.

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