Bald Peak - A Leaf-Peeper Hike
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October 14, 2018
Fall was ticking by rapidly, and we had not yet gotten our butts out to see the glorious fall colors in the Adirondacks. We managed to get an outing organized for the third weekend in October. The fall foliage report that I looked at showed "peak color" for the Adirondacks, so I was hopeful that we'd get a good show.

We chose to do a relatively short there-and-back hike to the top of Bald Peak, at the eastern end of the Rocky Peak Traverse route. This was a lower route that traversed a lot of good deciduous tree type terrain, and it was also generally quieter than the main trailheads, which we had heard were super busy this fall season.
courtesy JInnes
Northway Beauty
New Russia TH
Not too busy
We got started shortly before 8 a.m. at the New Russia trailhead, which wasn't too busy, but still had more cars than I would have expected for this time of day.

Today's roster of hikers were myself, my work colleague Steve, Jenn and Brian, and first-time Adirondack hiker Kaha.
courtesy JInnes
Signing in
First Ascent
Coniferous down low
The trail soon got off to climbing, rising up through a shady forest of large pines and firs. The trail starts low (at 700 feet of elevation - one of the lowest trailheads of the Central High Peaks), and rises up to roughly 2000 feet at Blueberry Cobble. It was only when we started to near the top of Blueberry Cobbles that the forest changed.
First Lookout
Capturing the Glory
Brian, Blueberry Cobbles
The top of Blueberry Cobbles is one of the little gems of the Adirondacks. Covered in a beautiful forest of Oaks and Maples and with a relatively open and grassy understory, it is quite unlike most of the other Adirondack trails to the west. It's perfect for fall color watching, because of both the pleasant forest on the cobble and because of the many nice lookouts over the surrounding terrain, which is also full of trees that produce excellent fall color.

The first viewpoint on the cobbles did not disappoint. There were good slopes of fall colors visible in several directions.
Eastern Viewpoint
Cobbles Track
Oak Hiking
Cobbletop Hiking
Kaha rest stop
More open patches
Northwestern Viewpoint
Dueling hikers
Dueling hikers
We sauntered along the top of Blueberry Cobbles (on the optional longer but more scenic variant of the two trails that go over the cobbles). We then merged back onto the main trail and continued our hike up to the top of Bald.

Kaha wasn't quite up to doing the final bit up to Bald, so we agreed that she'd wait at the lookout we'd just past - one that looked back down onto Blueberry Cobbles. Myself, Steve, Jenn, and Brian continued on for a quick visit to the top of Bald.
courtesy JInnes
Kaha and Steve
Andrew, Kaha, Steve
Kaha and Bald
courtesy JInnes
courtesy JInnes
What could have been
Back to Blueberry
A bit o' scrambling
Getting more open
Getting more open
The final bit of hiking up to the top of Bald (say, the last 800 feet or so) is characterized by a transition from the deciduous forests of Blueberry Cobble to the more typical scrawny firs of the higher altitudes. There is a lot of open slabs and even a bit of scrambling - and lots of ever-expanding views. Although there were no longer any colorful trees immediately around us, the broad views down onto the colors in the hollows and valleys below more than compensated.
Slabby Climbing
Slabby Climbing
Open Views to the west
courtesy JInnes
Nearing Bald's Summit
Almost at top
The Grizzled Connell
courtesy JInnes
Flattening Out
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