Chimney Mountain from 13th Lake

Posted on 07 Nov 2021 by Steve Markham

Janet told me this was a good weekend for her to have all the kids, since many of them are still in isolation anyway. I’ve been meaning to check out Chimney Mountain, a steep 3-mile round trip, so I drove up to 13th Lake and hiked over the long way.

The rock formation is way behind me, and much larger than it appears. Twenty feet high, I think.
The rock formation is way behind me, and much larger than it appears. Twenty feet high, I think.
Map of my adventure
Map of my adventure

I parked in Old Farm Clearing, East of 13th Lake. Friday night I hiked down to Puffer Pond, then spent Saturday walking to Chimney Mountain Trailhead, then up to the summit, coming back the long way, and camping Saturday night at Elizabeth Point. The red trail is the North Country Scenic Trail, a 4,800 mile National Trail from North Dakota to Vermont via Ohio. I don’t know whether I’ll ever hike the whole thing, but both sections I’ve found myself on were lovely.

Anyway, let’s rewind to Friday afternoon and look at more pictures.

I count 10 pickups in the pictures. Two more showed up while I was getting my boots on.
I count 10 pickups in the pictures. Two more showed up while I was getting my boots on.

It didn’t take long after arriving to realize that early November is hunting season. I spoke with a few men with rifles to ask how stupid of me it would be to going walking through the woods this weekend. They assured me I would be fine.

Snack spot Friday afternoon
Snack spot Friday afternoon

It’s hard to describe in words or to capture in a photograph how lovely the walk was. There were some very muddy parts, but mostly it was a hilly walk through the woods along a very cool river (maybe North Creek). Enough up and down that I was sweating even in just a t-shirt despite pretty cool weather (low-50s?). Lots of white water and river noise.

Can you see the bridge footing on the right? But no bridge! This crossing was by far the trickiest, and yes I got a little wet, but only my feet.
Can you see the bridge footing on the right? But no bridge! This crossing was by far the trickiest, and yes I got a little wet, but only my feet.
I stopped taking pictures after a while, but it was just one lovely view after another
I stopped taking pictures after a while, but it was just one lovely view after another

As it started getting dark, I started thinking about where I would camp for the night. There was a short side spur to Puffer Pond, which is often an indication of a campsite. Sure enough, I found a cute but run-down lean-to. The visitor log indicated it was adopted in May of this year by the ADK Mountain Club, and will be getting renovated next year, probably. The spot was lovely, with good water nearby, and a beautiful view of the pond.

Sunset at Puffer Pond
Sunset at Puffer Pond

It was cold overnight. In the course of adjusting my underquilt to be less drafty, I accidentally moved it ~8” towards the head end, meaning my head was protected, but not my feet. By 3am that was very noticable, but I was too sleepy and cold to figure it out at the time. Saturday night when I set up the hammock I realized what had hapened and fixed it.

Morning view of the lean-to
Morning view of the lean-to
I did not photoshop this picture, and it is true to life. Things looked so brown and frosty in the morning, it was surreal.
I did not photoshop this picture, and it is true to life. Things looked so brown and frosty in the morning, it was surreal.
Through the trees, you can see Chimney Mountain summit, where I would eat lunch.
Through the trees, you can see Chimney Mountain summit, where I would eat lunch.
I don't know exactly why these ice crystals form some places and not others, but they were all along the Chimney Mountain trail.
I don't know exactly why these ice crystals form some places and not others, but they were all along the Chimney Mountain trail.
Approaching the rock formations on Chimney
Approaching the rock formations on Chimney
My kids are going to love exploring this place
My kids are going to love exploring this place

There were two women and a dog having lunch among the rock formations when I got there. Another 15 other people came and went or passed me on the trail.

Great views from several spots
If I say the top is knobby, then there's a brown section center-right, then the whole thing rests on a layer that is big and bright gray on the left, do you know what I mean? That bottom gray section in the sun is as tall as I am.
If I say the top is knobby, then there's a brown section center-right, then the whole thing rests on a layer that is big and bright gray on the left, do you know what I mean? That bottom gray section in the sun is as tall as I am.

As I climbed back around the formation to head out, I noticed some icicles. “I wonder if I can find a spot where the sun shines through them?”

Almost
Almost

After climbing around the rocks for a half hour, I headed over to the summit. It looked very tree-covered, but it had looked so rocky from earlier on the trail that I chanced it. It turns out there is just a thicket between the rocks and the summit, and indeed the top also has great views.

That saddle is where I took the earlier picutre through the trees
That saddle is where I took the earlier picutre through the trees
Do not feel like you need to go back through and look at the sky in all the earlier pictures. It didn't get really good until lunchtime
Do not feel like you need to go back through and look at the sky in all the earlier pictures. It didn't get really good until lunchtime
But at lunchtime it got REALLY good
But at lunchtime it got REALLY good

I decided Siamese Ponds would be too far to walk. So, I headed for the car, and decided I’d stop if I got tired, otherwise I’d just make it a one-nighter. About a mile from the parking lot, I saw a sign for “Elizabeth Point Campsite” a quarter of a mile off trail, down by the lake. I figured it would likely have a hunter staying at it, but I could at least eat dinner there, and if it was empty, camp overnight.

Not empty, but the couple and their dog were super nice, and there was plenty of space for all of us
Not empty, but the couple and their dog were super nice, and there was plenty of space for all of us
Thirteenth lake has several campsites around it. We'll canoe-camp it sometime, I bet.

In the pano above you can see the trail up to the picnic table with my aluminum windscreen around my stove. The tent is about equally far away from the table, down on the other side of the hill. It was a pretty big campsite, with two stone fire rings.

Sunset at 13th Lake from my hammock
Sunset at 13th Lake from my hammock

I slept warm all night, but since I went to bed just after dark, around 6:30pm daylight time, I woke up at 3am standard time. I figured if I got up and hiked out, I’d be home in time to make pancakes for the kiddies, which I did. On the way out I got a great view of the stars, and wondered how long until Dewey went for her walk.

The Big Dipper was right ahead of me as I hiked
The Big Dipper was right ahead of me as I hiked
Orion was right behind me
Orion was right behind me

It probably goes without saying, but my eyes were seeing 100x more starts than the camera picks up. I got home about 6am, showered, and went to bed. Janet was pleasantly confused. The kiddies got up around 7 and we made pancakes, with chocolate whipped cream on top!