Adirondacks Climb to Formidable Peaks

The Ausable River, which drains more than 500 square miles of New York’s Adirondack Mountains, squeezes through a flume below hiking paths that form a mountainside web. We went for the view and climbed to Flume Knob, about 1,300 feet above the river. After some serious rock scrambling, Sue celebrated as black flies joined us at the top. The Ausable River area, just a few miles from Lake Placid, is known as one of the country’s finest trout-fishing places. It empties into Lake Champlain at the Vermont border.


The mountains of the eastern USA may not compare with the elevations of the Sierra Nevada and Rockies, but they offer steep and rocky challenges that make the Appalachian Trail so tough. We have gotten a taste of the Appalachians during the last several weeks, and this week we got to know a part of the Adirondacks, including New York’s fifth-highest peak, Whiteface Mountain. Forty bucks got us and our truck entry to the road to the ”castle,” several hundred feet below the peak. The last bit is advertised as a ”nature trail” to the top, but without hand rails, it would be too slippery and difficult for many. The views of Lake Placid and much more would have been fantastic if Mother Nature had cooperated. Whiteface was the site of Alpine skiing events in the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics. In 1980, human-made snow was used for the first time in the Olympics.

The Biggest Dune: Where Is It?

Where is the tallest sand dune in North America? A hint: it is the state with 58 fourteeners, mountains higher than 14,000 feet. The Great Sand Dunes National Park has a sandy peak 755 feet tall. Sue and I passed on the climb, which would have taken the better part of a day in the squishy surface. Star Dune is the name of the big pile of granules. Where is it? Colorado!
The Sangre de Cristo Mountains rise behind the great sand dunes range.