Mount Adams, Fire Tower Series

In my latest trek, my friend Adam and I decided to take on Mount Adams in the Adirondacks. This is part of the fire tower challenge and needless to say, it’s quite steep. I’ve never been too fond of getting off at Exit 29 for any sort of hike. They’ve either concluded in extremely long days or falling in a river. Yes, that actually happened three miles into a hike. Although, I haven’t had the best memories, it’s always incredible to see the history there.

The Tahawus

A society that once belonged to the Adirondacks is now far gone. Each time we go anywhere near the Santonini Range or Allen Mountain, there’s such an eerie presence. There’s one home that still stands and oddly enough, the mailbox there looks like one from today. There’s also a massive furnace with trees growing off its sides and scattered fireplaces that used to warm people. Next to all of these abandoned structures, trails for many High Peaks and other hikes begin. Mount Adams is part of the fire tower challenge and is much shorter than hikes I’ve been on. Enjoy the abandoned shots, and let’s get into this hike!

The Start

Near the abandoned furnace is where the hike starts to Mount Adams. It’s on the same trail as Allen Mountain too. Before the split to climb Mount Adams, there’s a lot to enjoy. Near the beginning, you’ll cross a suspension bridge and make sure to cross one at a time. I say this because it seems quite old and doesn’t sound too stable. Later on, you’ll have to go around a body of water where you’ll see a floating bridge that was broken during some point in time. Afterwards, there’s two abandoned cabins that you’ll see which I’m certain would be terrifying to pass in the dark if you went for a sunrise hike. Once you pass all of this, the trail splits and you’ll see the sign for Mount Adams on the left.

1,700 Feet

According to AllTrails, in the 1.6 mile climb to the summit, the hike itself gains 1,700 feet. It begins as a gradual climb and we passed an oil can from what seemed to be centuries ago, as it was completely decayed. From here on out, this trail was quite relentless. We took a few stops and put on bug spray because most of the Adirondacks and NY in general, are notorious for mosquitoes in the summer. There were many slippery areas on this hike from rock slabs as well, so be careful during winter or summer. After what feels like a very long steep climb, you’ll reach the base of the fire tower.

Mount Adams Summit

Climbing up the fire tower from the dense forest to sweeping views of the Adirondacks was incredible. On a clear day, the table map indicates you can see Crane Mountain from the summit. Looking out once you enter the tower, you’ll see Marcy and Colden. Surprisingly, from this perspective, they look very intimidating. It’s as if they just decided to put a fire tower in the middle of some of the most outstanding high peaks to make people fall in love with the wilderness. If you want to try and get someone into hiking, I highly recommend this trail. Just get ready for the pain on your legs from the relentless climb!

Thank You!

For anyone who took the time to read this, I truly appreciate it. I will have a few more coming out as well from older hikes that I never got to. I wanted to complete this first since it was fresh in my mind. If there’s any suggestions for blogs you’d like me to cover, feel free to reach out. If you’d like to, demolish that like button, follow for more treks, and drop a comment. Until next time, keep on adventuring!

For details on this hike:

https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/new-york/mount-adams-trail

Which Camera Should You Bring On Long Adventures?

“A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.”

– Oliver Wendell Holmes

Bringing a DSLR camera with me on +10 mile hikes were an absolute pain. I began to search for compact cameras that would do well on these hikes. Obviously, it was going to most likely be a Canon camera. What I had found was perfect for our hikes and it’s pretty close to a hefty DSLR, except the fact that it’s much smaller. No matter what anyone says, carrying a large camera on extensive trips or needing to create photos with your phone, sucks. Although our phone can create decent photos and videos, I will always prefer creating with an actual handheld camera. There’s something about it that takes away from using your phone which is utilized everyday to take your photos. In the meantime, let’s jump right into the camera I use for my hiking!

The Canon Powershot G9 X Mark ll

Long name, but the camera itself packs quite the punch. Every adventure photographer I’ve seen has a massive backpack with just little space for actual essentials. I strongly believe it’s a fantastic camera for hiking but there’s definitely some pros and cons to it. Either way, consider both as it’s my opinion but carefully look at what you’d be using it for.

The Canon Powershot G9X Mark ll

Pros

The photos that this camera is capable of taking is quite phenomenal. I take it with me on winter hikes which can be very helpful because DSLR cameras take up a lot of space. The zoom works well on it and I usually keep it near the top of my hiking backpack. I’ve also tested slower shutter speeds during handheld shooting which worked surprisingly well! I’ll list the pros under here if you’re skimming through the article too.

  • Small/Compact (easy for travel)
  • Highly functional like a DSLR
  • Slow shutter works well being handheld
A cold morning this May, photo taken on Powershot

Cons

There isn’t much I’ve found from this camera that comes off as negative to me but it could be for others. One of these issues is that you can only shoot live view instead of shooting through a viewfinder such as a DSLR or mirrorless camera. Another common issue that I have faced is definitely with exposure, especially on brighter days. Photos can seem to look blown out of proportion which is why I change some photos to black and white. I’ve noticed that the quality of my Canon Rebel T6 is much stronger but for winter hikes, a compact or mirrorless camera is a necessity.

For comparison, this was on the Canon Rebel T6

At the end of the day…

It really doesn’t matter which camera you have, but I strongly believe in capturing moments because your photo is the only indicator of your emotions with those striking views. If you aren’t able to afford a DSLR or a Mirrorless camera, the iPhone is just as powerful. All it takes is a bit of creativity and learning to enjoy the process of photography. If you have other suggestions for a camera to bring on hikes, I’d love to hear it!

A big thanks!

Thank you to anyone who took the time to read this blog post. Feel free to reach out if you have other suggestions for topics I should cover! I hope this might’ve helped someone out as well and debate getting a camera for hiking! Feel free to destroy that like button, comment, or give a follow for more on hiking or photography!

– Alex

Where Did My Photography Journey Begin?

Landscape photography is the supreme test of the photographer – and often the supreme disappointment.”

-Ansel Adams

Throughout my first couple hikes in the Adirondacks, I became fascinated with the variety of landscapes. The first summer I started hiking, we hiked Buck Mountain and Sleeping Beauty in Lake George. Looking back on it, even adventures have humble beginnings. The next year, we really started to pursue the 46er challenge and I knew I wanted to document these adventures the best way possible. Most of these landscapes couldn’t do any justice on video or through photos. I want to try and change that to showcase the rugged wilderness.

On Mount Washington Trail capturing the breathtaking landscape (Photo by my brother)

Adapting To A Higher Purpose

There’s a different between chasing the wilderness and photos for clout versus the enjoyment of being one with nature. I believe being connected with something much larger than you creates a sense of becoming humble and inspired. I started getting into the realm of photography during the summer of 2018. My brother and I went on a handful of adventures that summer, but unfortunately it was before I really knew how to take better photos. Any photo that you create should make you proud regardless of what anyone says. It’s part of your creative expression. The whole thing about learning something is that you have to enjoy the process. Throughout Ego Is The Enemy by Ryan Holiday, he constantly reminds us of this issue. Purpose and realism is more important than ego, you have to put in the work and stop expecting recognition.

Near the summit of Cadillac Mountain in Acadia after hiking in a storm

May 2019

Around this time is when I became inspired by all sorts of photography. Once I figured out how to slow a shutter speed to shoot waterfalls, I was hooked. Figuring out all of these different aspects to photography was fascinating. I understood light trails and spent time understanding astrophotography as well (still needs work). I took notes on everything I could that I learned from Peter McKinnon on camera basics. Putting in the time was incredibly helpful but even more than that, shooting consistently is crucial for experience.

Our trek to Algonquin Mountain this winter

Planning Ahead

I have a lot of goals to live up to when it comes to photography, especially when it comes to going on an adventure. I read in Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon about combining two or more passions is influential to higher levels of creativity. Being able to pair photography with my passion of climbing mountains is vital towards that. Some time in the future, I’d like to head out West to see the dramatic landscapes unfold before me and be prepared to take the best photos possible. The Adirondacks in the winter has some unbelievable scenes to experience as well. There’s always more to learn from any subject to keep growing. I wrote this post during this time because it’s critical to hone down on new skills. Create new things, dream bigger, and sit back to analyze what you want out of life with the time you have on this Earth.

One of my favorite hikes due to the cloudy weather
Views near the summit of Phelps Mountain in the Adirondacks

To Everyone

These are challenging times that we’re experiencing at the moment, but understand that it’s important. Stay home and realize that this will pass just like every hard time you might’ve already experienced in life. Use the time at home to your advantage to figure out what skills you could learn and spend a little bit on it each day. Everything that you do compounds, whether it’s money, knowledge, or a new skill set. I hope everyone stays safe during these times and maybe you could figure out where you’ll adventure when it’s over. In the mean time, stay safe and think about what you can do to improve yourself during Quarantine!

-Alex

Jay Peak: A challenging icy ridge

My close friend Cole and I decided the day after Christmas that we’d hike Jay Peak. We knew this mountain had a ridge and desired to climb it since this summer. Considering we were both busy, we never really had the time to do it. Hiking in the winter has its challenges and it was well represented throughout this one. Here’s to my last hike of 2019 and let’s get right into it!

Does the trail head exist?

I think part of this has to deal with my friend and I both on about 3 hours of sleep. We always use AllTrails to find directions to our hikes but it kept taking us to the right of where it was. We didn’t realize this until 20 minutes later. The positive about this was the fact that it brought us down a windy road to a huge open field. It was a bunch of farm land and the sky was lit in pink which created a wild scene. Once we found the trailhead, we jumped out of the car and started as soon as we could.

Trailhead for Jay Mountain

Before the ridge

I found this part of the hike very easy and my friend did as well. Although icy, it wasn’t too bad for a climb. It was a gradual incline and there were multiple switchbacks. Without the use of my Kahtoola, I fell a handful of times. I specifically remember an area on the trail that had a dropoff to the right with a little coverage of trees. I had fell right next to it from the ice and I’m happy to say I fell where I could catch myself away from that dropoff. Adrenaline shot through me but in the end it’s a risk that could happen through any winter hike. There were many falls after that as well, but they were in locations without the potential of any dangerous injury. It became even more interesting once we reached the first false summit.

Rock scrambling

Reaching the first false summit, my friend and I had to navigate a very narrow area of the trail. We began climbing up the side of the trail adjacent to another drop off but clung to the wall for safety. We both look after each other so we made sure nothing would occur that we were actually putting ourselves in danger. One of the last false summits was even tougher due to more ice and snow. We continued to rock scramble a bit and when we reached the last false summit it appears to be the highest point. I must admit that it felt a bit demoralizing. Once we hit the top though…we were very happy to complete a new mountain.

Looking at Jay Mountain from the last false summit

A quick stop

We didn’t stay at the summit for too long since my friend had to get back in time for work. I ate the amazing PB & J sandwich from Stewart’s, took some photos, and began to head down shortly afterwards. Understanding that we had to go up and over a couple false summits was definitely discouraging. We took our time and once we kept descending, we took frequent breaks to hydrate. When we were near the car I had to sign us out and I realized all of the destinations said “Jay Range”. I didn’t realize it was considered a range before we went, but I’m glad we did it. It’s one of those adventures that I’m sure both of us won’t forget any time soon.

View of Adirondack Mountains from Jay Mountain
Clouds rolling over below the ADK mountains
Looking at Whiteface Mountain from the summit

Thanks!

I really hope you enjoyed this blog and maybe found some parts useful for your own reference. I always put in mistakes that have occurred without certain gear to emphasize in a way that it is useful. Especially crampons. These adventures and photos mean everything to me and I can’t to see what’s in store for 2020. I’ll be going away soon and I’ll be covering a blog on that as well! To everyone out there, keep adventuring as we get closer to 2020!

-Alex

About Myself and T & H

My name is Alex and I’ve become inspired by the outdoors since I was introduced to the Adirondack High Peaks. Although I live in Saratoga Springs, my brother and I frequently make day trips to go hiking or practice photography. There’s something different about spending time outdoors rather than sitting inside all day. If I have to get up at 2 AM to hike 5 mountains, I’ll do so (true story). When something has such an influence on you, nothing will get in its way. After hiking about 40 miles in two weekends and battling winds on a ridge in Franconia, NH I had realized something. I need to share my adventurous stories with others and provide tips to help them out in the back country! Now I’m certain many of you are thinking, what exactly is T & H?

T & H (short for Travelers & Hikers) was something I had thought of when I wanted to create a unique name for my blog. Something that’d resonate with people and felt very authentic. I knew that T & H would be an outlet to anyone with wanderlust and hopefully inspire many. At the end of the day, I want to create strong relationships with people who have a passion for the outdoors. Not only that, but I’d also like everyone to know that hiking is a teacher for our mentality and physical health. You’ll understand this throughout the stories I’ll tell and the tips given to you! Now what are we waiting for? Let’s get into these adventurous stories, what they’ve taught me, and what they’ll teach you.