Monday, December  17, 2018
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From time to time, I've been fortunate enough to work in a group that values both team-building events and outdoor activities. When this fortuitous conjunction occurs, we will sometimes organize a day-hike, often to the Adirondacks, in order to enjoy a day in the mountains with co-workers. The destination for this particular outing was Noonmark Mountain - a peak that I have used many times before for the purposes of an introductory hike. It is relatively short and it offers great views along the way and on the summit.
Fresh and Ready
Between days of cool and unstable conditions, we managed to identify a short window of decent weather in which to go on our hike. The forecast was for a day of sun-and-clouds, although with cool temperatures and breezy - perhaps even windy - conditions.

The asymmetrically-pointy tip of Noonmark was clearly visible directly on front of us as we drove down New York's route 73 towards the trailhead and parking lot, located at the edge of the Adirondack Mountain Reserve not far south of the town of Keene Valley. We were starting relatively late, at about 10:30 a.m., but Noonmark, being a relatively short hike, does not require an early start. A short walk up the main access road to the AMR property brought us to a small side-road that led left, uphill into the forest and towards Noonmark Mountain.
Off for Noonmark
Brent points out the obvious
AMR Golf Course
courtesy ABrown
Snow Mountain
A short walk past AMR cottages brought us to a proper forest path. This was the start of the Dix trail, a path that leads between Noonmark and neighbouring Round Mountain on its way to the summit of Mount Dix. We only followed this trail for a short way, though, before turning off on the Stimson trail. The Stimson trail is the shortest and steepest approach to the summit of Noonmark, and it was the way we chose today.
courtesy ABrown
Ascending the Dix Trail
Stimson Trail Junction
Arn attracts attention
courtesy ABrown
Steeper Grade
De-layer break
Silver Storm
The Stimson trail quickly ramps up to a fairly steep grade, and although the day was quite cool for early October, the climb through the forest quickly warmed us up.
courtesy ABrown
A Leafy Ascent
A bit slippery
Leaving the leaves
Although the steep forest path was tiring, it had the fortunate side-benefit of gaining elevation quickly. Soon we left the realm of fall colours and fallen leaves and entered a section of coniferous forest, green and dark. Not long after came a short scramble and the first of many excellent lookouts, this particular one giving a great view over towards Giant Mountain.
Stylish Architect Clogs
Craggy section before lookout 1
Short step
First Lookout
Giant
Mid section
It had not taken us very long to get to this point - a point which was already half-way (elevation-wise) to the top. We had been hiking at a pretty fast pace for a mixed group such as ours, and in retrospect we probably should have taken more pains to reign things in a bit. There is always the danger of creating an unpleasant hiking experience for some when the pace is a bit too fast.
courtesy ABrown
courtesy ABrown
courtesy ABrown
Giant, Rocky, and Round
Drinking in the view
The Motley Crew
Blerp?
First of two ladders
Onto the open ridge
courtesy ABrown
Emerging onto north ridge
The mid-part of the Stimson trail follows the wooded crest of Noonmark's north ridge - sometimes over relatively flat sections, and sometime over some steeper slabs and slopes. There are several excellent rocky lookouts on the westward edge of the ridge, each giving a closer and closer look at the craggy summit blocks above, and expansive views west towards the Central High Peaks. A brisk northerly wind at each of these lookouts soon had us putting several layers of clothing back on, in addition to hats and gloves.
Second Ladder
Peeking out from the crags
Hakto on-the-go
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