Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Meade and Beckman Mountains: 09/25/2016

Looking out at Gore Mountain from the overlook on Meade Mountain, Sunday 09/25/2016.

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

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.

Trailhead bulletin board - no mention of the 9/27 to 5/20 closure

A front had passed through the Adirondacks on Friday, delivering crisp temperatures (overnight lows in the 30s) and see-forever visibility. Since it's already the third week in September we were curious to see how the fall foliage was progressing. Overall color change was less than 20%, although some individual trees were showing bright colors like the red maple in the photo below. Figure another 2+ weeks for peak colors in the southern Adirondacks.

One interesting feature of this hike is that the trail passes over 2 summits, each offering different views. The first summit (Meade) offers the best views, a sweeping panorama to the south and west that takes in Crane, Gore and Moxham Mountains. As a reminder that this is not a NYS DEC trail, there's some really nice signage at the summit and along the trail, including a great graphic illustration at each viewpoint identifying the lakes and summits in the viewshed. There's a nice bench too!

Meade Mountain summit

View of Gore from Meade Mountain (Round Mt in the left foreground)

Summit panorama from Meade Mountain

Zoom-in view of Gore's ski trails

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.

Crane Mountain from Meade summit

Moxham Mountain from Meade

Loon Lake from Beckman Mountain

The kids enjoyed ringing the bell (actually we all did)

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.

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