Wednesday, September 28, 2016
Meade and Beckman Mountains: 09/25/2016
Once school starts up it seems we always have trouble finding the time to fit in a family hike. We had a half day available Sunday afternoon, so we made the quick drive up the Northway to do another one of the Chester Challenge hikes: Meade and Beckman Mountains. Like the other hikes we've done in the Chester Challenge, Meade and Beckman Mountains is short and easy but offers up some great views.
The trail starts out level but quickly steepens, climbing through neatly kept woods that appear to be managed for timber production. Since the trail is on private land, a number of restrictions apply including (but not limited to) no open flames of any time, no motorized vehicles and no mountain bikes. Additionally, the trail is closed September 27 through May 20, which means as of today's date (9/28), you'll have to wait until late next spring to do this hike. We were lucky to get our hike in just a few days before the seasonal closure. Note that the closure dates (and other restrictions) are not mentioned in the town's Chester Challenge promotional materials - they are buried in a post from July 12 on the Chester Challenge Facebook page.
It's a quick hike over to the Beckman Mountain summit from Meade, perhaps 10 minutes or so. Calling Beckman a separate mountain is probably a bit of a stretch - the two mountains feel more like a single summit ridge. Beckman's views are to the east, towards Loon Lake and the mountains around Lake George. A few hundred yards beyond the Beckman summit is another outlook, this one more to the north with views of Schroon Lake and Pharaoh Mountain. Instead of being a straight out-and-back hike, the return trail loops back on itself, forming kind of a stretched out figure-8. It's a well laid out trail that keeps your interest.
We enjoyed all three of the Chester Challenge hikes that we've done, but I have to say I like Meade and Beckman the best so far. It's too bad the trail is closed eight months of the year, but thanks go out to the landowner for opening it to the public for the other four months. As I've said about the other Chester Challenge hikes, it's great to have some short, family-friendly hikes close to home. We'll likely do several more of these hikes, with Green Hill and its views of the High Peaks next on our list.