Celebrate Spring in the Adirondacks on Buck Mountain in Lake George

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As the snow melts and the mud hardens in the high peaks of the Adirondacks, spring is the perfect time to explore the lower elevation trails. On a warm sunny day in April, I met my childhood friend from Glens Falls, Alex Davis, at the top of Buck Mountain in Lake George.

As children, neither Alex nor I were outdoors. We preferred to play dress up and have pool parties. But we’re both older now and live in the North Country, so it was fun to explore the mountains we grew up near.

We leave at noon and the sun is high in the sky. There is still deep snow in parts of the High Peaks, but here the trail is clear, mostly dry, and it’s early enough in the spring that there aren’t any bugs yet.

The trail descends and there is this huge, long stretch of large boulders and rock faces. A little ice breaks and we hear burst against the rock, the noise of winter succumbing to spring.

It’s really wild here, which is amazing considering how close you are to towns like Lake George and Glens Falls. I ask Alex about it.

“You’re from a neighborhood in Glens Falls and you’re here,” I say, as we look around at the huge mounds of boulders and tall canopy of trees. “We’re really in the middle of the woods,” says Alex, and it’s beautiful. “And the lake is beautiful,” she adds, “can’t wait to see the view at the top.”

Alex loves being on Lake George, swimming or boating. The hike above is a bit different, but rewarding in its own way.

We jump from rock to rock, on a series of streams that descend the mountain. We come across one whose fresh water sparkles in the sun.

We walk, sometimes with our hands on our knees, gasping as we climb. To pass the time, we dream of the adventures to come.

“Do you have summer, spring or summer hiking goals?” I ask Alex. “I would love to do Noonmark, that’s my big goal,” she says. “I went three-quarters of the way once and had to slip on the ice. It was a bit treacherous.” Next time, Alex says, she’ll plan to hike in the warmer months.

As we get closer to the top the trail gets even steeper. Luckily, there isn’t much ice or mud, so just put one foot in front of the other and stop occasionally.

Just below the summit, we stop for a short break. We are high enough now to see Lake George through the trees. We are almost there.

Pretty soon the trees thin out and the trail takes us over an open rock mound. From the summit, we see Lake George stretching out before us, a long blue ribbon bordered by mountains that stretch as far as the eye can see.

“It’s beautiful,” says Alex. “I’m very proud of myself for reaching the top and really enjoying seeing Lake George from here. It’s one thing to be on it and it’s another thing to see it from here. “

There is also some ice still lining the edge of the lake. We can also see all the snow-covered ski slopes of Gore Mountain and the snow-capped peaks of the High Peaks. We take in the winter views that linger at higher elevations while enjoying the sunny summit on this spring hike.

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