Monday, June 18, 2012

Gilligan Mountain: 06/16/2012

At 1420 feet, Gilligan Mountain's summit elevation is lower than most High Peaks parking areas and trailheads. But if you're looking for an easy, rewarding family hike or just a quick fix of beautiful High Peaks views, this off-the-beaten-path mountain fits the bill.

View of the Dix Range and Boquet River Valley from the first overlook on the trail to Gilligan Mountain, just 0.3 miles from the trailhead.

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The first viewpoint on the Gilligan Mt. trail, just 0.3 miles in.

Between school activities, karate, lacrosse, and who knows what else, it's been difficult fitting in any family hiking so far this summer. On Saturday, we had just a half day available and decided it was too nice a day not to hike.

I try to keep a mental list of suitable family hikes. The Adirondack Mountain Club's Kids on the Trail! Hiking with Children in the Adirondacks guidebook is an excellent resource, and is where I first read about Gilligan Mountain.

Gilligan Mountain's trailhead is alongside the beautiful Boquet River

The trail starts out flat and easy before a short climb to the first lookout

The Gilligan Mountain trailhead is located on Route 9, 3.6 miles north of the "malfunction junction" with Route 73. Although it's only 10 minutes from Exit 30 of the Northway, this is a beautiful area that most High Peaks hikers bypass, heading instead to trailheads in Keene Valley and Lake Placid via Route 73. We saw no one else on the trail during our hike.

The short trail (just 1.1 miles each way) to Gilligan Mountain's summit viewpoint gains 670 vertical feet. Several other viewpoints along the way offer rewarding views of the Boquet River valley, the Dix Range, and Rocky Peak Ridge and its various sub-peaks. One of the best viewpoints is just 0.3 miles from the trailhead, at the top of the first of two short, steep scrambles. The other short, steep stretch of trail comes just below the summit. We took our time and spent close to two hours for the round-trip, though most adult hikers could probably do it in closer to one hour.

One of the viewpoints along the trail, looking towards Rocky Peak Ridge

Blueberry meadows (not ripe yet) just below the summit

As any parent knows, each year brings new challenges. With family hiking, one of those challenges is transitioning young children from being carried in a backpack to hiking on their own. We began that transition with Sylvie last summer, when she was 3. Now that she's 4, she's too big to ride in the backpack and wants to do her own hiking anyway (anybody interested in a nice Kelty kid backpack?). With this successful outing under our belts, we'll look to do at least a few more similar hikes this summer.

Final view of the Boquet valley and Rocky Peak Ridge at the summit

The diameter of some of the trees is greater than Sylvie's height!

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