Tuesday, April 19, 2016
Kipp Mountain: 04/17/2016
With an early end to the winter that wasn't and beautiful weather on tap for the weekend, we jumped on the opportunity to break out our hiking boots for an easy, close to home outing. Kipp Mountain is one of several small peaks in the Chestertown area that are part of the Chester Challenge: complete 6 out of the 10 hikes and you're awarded a pin and certificate. You can read more about the Chester Challenge in this blog post that I wrote last Fall.
We really only had a half day available to hike, so trekking up to the Keene Valley or Lake Placid area was out of the question. Kipp and the other small peaks in the Chester Challenge are a great choice for a half day hike with an interesting destination.
The Town did a really nice job with trailhead signage and markers. The trail climbs at an easy pace through mixed woods, gaining around 600 vertical feet before reaching ledges that look out across the northern end of Loon Lake. Gore and Crane Mountains rise prominently in the distance. Pines along the cliff edge frame the views. It's really a beautiful spot. The trail ends at the ledges, which lie below the true summit of Kipp Mountain. Because the trail is on private property, hikers are asked to not hike beyond the end of the marked trail.
The view of Gore is terrific. With snow remaining on many of the ski trails it was easy for us to pick out many our favorite runs: Rumor and Lies, Hawkeye and Chatiemac, Twister. It's hard to believe the mountain's already been closed for more than two weeks.
There's a small wooden platform set back from the cliff edge that must have served as a tent platform for the property owners (camping is not allowed). We used the platform as a makeshift picnic table, setting up a backpacking stove to boil some water for tea and cocoa. The warm drinks were hardly needed on a day with temperatures pushing 70, but what 12 year old boy doesn't like lighting up a blow torch that you carry in your pack?
I imagine that we'll do several more of the Chester Challenge hikes. Like many families, we often have less than a full day that we can devote to hiking. If you go, be sure to download and print the brochure I linked above. Also, be aware that some of the trails can be subject to closures during hunting season.