Fall in the ADK and Hiking Cliff Mountain

This past weekend was prime for leaf peeping in the Adirondacks! Sunday morning I drove up to Keene Valley to hike one of my favorites, Indian Head! Last summer Christine and I hiked it and I couldn’t wait to come back.  Just look at this view.

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Monday was my first day off since Labor Day! Brendan and I drove up to the Upper Works trailhead in Newcomb to go back for Cliff, a peak we orphaned back in May when we hiked Redfield. It was going to be a long day.

It was in the mid 30s when we got to the trailhead. Brrr! We got there around 7 and were on the trail by 7:15. The parking lot was crowded, but we were wondering where they all were since we didn’t see many people on the trail. The 4.5 mile hike in to the Flowed Lands was uneventful. We passed the time chatting. When we got there, we signed in and headed to the Uphill Lean-to. We got to the Lake Colden bridge at 9:40am.
Looks like winter here
Looks like winter here
Then it was up, up, up to the Uphill Lean-to. We got there at around 11:45 and stopped for a brief snack before taking the herdpack on the right to Cliff/Redfield, marked with a cairn. I forgot the herdpath splits and Cliff’s goes to the right, and Redfield’s continues along the Opalescent. At 11:15 we were climbing Cliff.
We got some nice views while climbing. There was ice on the neighboring peaks!  Winter is coming!
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The bog was a sloppy mess, but the “cliffy” sections of cliff weren’t as bad as I was expecting. There were lots of hand holds and tree roots to hold onto. There was only one small section where I needed a boost.
We arrived at the summit at 12:30, which was 8.8 miles from Upper Works. We made pretty good time!
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Descending was a lot easier. It included a lot of butt sliding. I had to take my pack off and throw it down first before going down some sections.
After descending the final cliff, our friend took off to hike Redfield, while Brendan and I made our way back to the Uphill Lean-to for lunch. We got back there at 1:40. We shared some lentil soup and cookies. Perfect for a chilly fall day! We also had a visitor, a little Pine Marten! So cute!
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We started heading back at around 2. Again, the hike out was uneventful. We got back to the bridge over Lake Colden at 3:00, stopping for a snack for about 5 minutes. It turned out to be a gorgeous fall day.
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Our speedy friend caught back up with us with a few miles left so we all hiked out together.
We arrived back at the car at 5:45. It was a long, but enjoyable day in the mountains. I’ve got three high peaks left. It’s a bittersweet feeling.
 
Cliff Mountain
17.5 mi RT from Upper Works
10.5 hours, including stops
Elevation 3,944′
Ascent 2,691′
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Gear Used: EMS Gore-Tex gaiters, EMS hiking pants, ExOfficio long sleeve, Reebok puffy vest, LL Bean fleece gloves, Osprey Sirrus day pack, Kelty trekking poles, Keene Durand hiking boots, Smartwool socks, 3L Platypus hydration bladder
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Hiking Indian Head

Hope everyone is having a fantastic holiday weekend! It really is still summer because the weather here has been quite hot and amazing. Yesterday, Christine and I wanted to do an easy hike so we decided on Indian Head, a spot in the high peaks that is not a high peak but has an amazing view. We left Albany at 7:30 and drove up to the Ausable Club Parkin lot in Keene since that’s where the trail for Indian Head starts. The hike begins at the AMR gate (like many of the other hikes I’ve done).

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The hike itself is mostly just a dirt road walk. It wasn’t too exciting. Until the Ausable Club shuttle driver pulled over and told us that there was a BEAR up ahead in the beaver pond! He said the bear was young and wouldn’t bother us because it was far enough away. Sure enough, we continued down the road and when we got the beaver pond, there he was!

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Its hard to see, but the black blob in the middle of the picture is a black bear! It was the first time I had seen a bear hiking. I knew it would happen sooner or later because I’m out in the woods a lot. Bears are active in this area so it’s good to be cautious! He started running away and climbed right up a tree. Too funny.  I can’t believe we saw a bear!

Anyway, four miles of walking down the road later, we came to a trail on the left right before we got to Ausable Lake.

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The trail to Indian head was less than a mile up and soon enough we hit the junction for Gothic Window.

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Gothic Window is a clearing through the trees where you can see Gothics. But there’s a much better view just head on Indian Head itself.

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Christine and I had both been dying to get to Indian Head. The views from the cliff are iconic and we’ve seen them for ages all over the internet. One photo was even my iPhone background. Steeping onto the lookout cliff was surreal.

You can’t even believe what are you looking at! Its just breathtaking.

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You can see upper and lower Ausable Lake, along with Sawteeth, Gothics, Armstrong, Upperwolfjaw and Lower Wolfjaw on the right.

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Gothics and Pyramid.

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Also, Cloudline sent me a pair of their technical hiker socks to try out on my hikes.

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What I love about Cloudline wool socks:

They are made of premium merino wool. Their merino wool blend naturally regulates moisture, temperature, and has antibacterial properties that resist odor. Also, they are made in the USA which is always a nice bonus! The socks are thick and cozy! They may have been a tad bit too warm for a hot 80 degree day in the mountains, but I can’t wait to wear them when snowshoeing and hiking this winter! Their technical hiker socks run $20 a pair on their website and are currently having a free shipping promo for labor day weekend!

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Extremely happy feet! These socks are also available on Amazon!

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Anyway, Christine and I sat at the top of Indian Head for a while, ate our lunch and took a bunch of crazy pictures since we had the summit to ourselves the entire time.

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It was a day well spent! I would HIGHLY recommend this hike. The hardest part is the distance since you are walking: 8 miles total out and back on the dirt road. The trail itself up to Indian Head was easy.

Indian Head
Total Distance 9.3 miles RT
Total hiking time 5 hours 13 minutes (includes long break on top)
Ascent 1,552′
Elevation 2,634′

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