Thursday, June 16, 2016

Sleeping Beauty Mt: 06/12/2016

Sleeping Beauty Mountain, Sunday 06/12/2016.

The Saratoga Skier and Hiker, first-hand accounts of adventures in the Adirondacks and beyond, and Gore Mountain ski blog.

We've done Sleeping Beauty as a family hike in the past, but on a cold (temperatures in the low 50s), blustery mid-June Sunday the kids' enthusiasm level for hiking hovered between 0 and 1 on a ten-point scale. So the kids stayed with the grandparents while Beth and I did the hike. Win - win.

Sleeping Beauty is a justifiably popular family hike, and even though our kids took a pass there were plenty of other families on the trail. For families with young kids, the distance (3.6 miles round trip from the Dacy Clearing trailhead), vertical (1300, but it feels like a lot less) and grade (never steep) are perfect. Heavy use has taken a toll however, with long stretches of severely eroded trail.

A typical section of eroded trail

Maybe it was the fact that the kids weren't with us or maybe the hike is just that easy, in any case it seemed like we were standing on the summit in no time. Our car thermometer read 50 degrees at the trailhead, and it was surely 6 or 8 degrees colder than that on top. A blustery wind made conditions downright cold. Where was this cold hiding all winter when we could have used it?

Cloudy but still beautiful: Lake George

Although conditions at the summit were decidely non-summerlike, the clouds and occasional sun provided some dramatic lighting. Looking out across Lake George toward Crane and Gore mountains, and up north toward the High Peaks, I could almost swear that I saw snow squalls.

Crane and Gore across Lake George

Southern Adirondack hills

Few if any boats plied Lake George's waters. We did see one tour boat steaming north towards the Narrows. You can bet the lake will be a lot busier this weekend with temperatures forecast to be well up into the 80s.

Beth had insisted on the way up that we'd only brave the wind and cold at the summit long enough to snap a couple photos, but we ended up staying much longer than anticipated. Sleeping Beauty is like that - it's got a view that pulls you in and a big enough summit area that you can't help but explore a bit to see what the view's like on the other side.

View to the south from the summit cliffs

Folks were still coming up the trail as we headed down, even though it was late afternoon. I heard one young girl ask her dad why it's called Sleeping Beauty, and I realized I don't know the answer to that question. I know why Marcy's Marcy, I know why Couchsachraga is Couchsachraga, but I don't know why Sleeping Beauty is Sleeping Beauty. Maybe someone will post the answer in the Comments section.

Pink lady slipper along the Sleeping Beauty trail

If you go: Follow Buttermilk Falls Road 8.7 miles from Route 149 to the Hogtown parking area. The road to Dacy Clearing continues another 1.6 miles. It is rough and narrow but passable without a high-clearance 4WD vehicle. The Dacy Clearing road generally opens in late spring, check here for current conditions.

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