Back to the Adirondacks Back to Back.

Newburgh. New Paltz. Saugerties. Cairo. Albany. Schenectady. Herkimer. Utica. Barneveld. Forestport. Otter Lake. Old Forge. The cities and towns along the New York Thruway and Route 28 have become familiar markers of my progress into Adirondack State Park. With each town I pass, each building or landmark that I recognize, I know my three-hundred mile drive is getting closer and closer to its ultimate destination. For the second time in two months, I made trips to the Adirondacks on consecutive weekends, enjoying the scenery and my time behind the wheel.

With New York and New Jersey still permitting travel between the two states, my wife decided to spend some more time in the Adirondacks with a dear relative. As I still had work, I happily acted as her own personal chauffeur, traversing New Jersey and much of New York until we were once again in the mountains of upstate. Along the way, I saw amazing views, climbed a mountain, ate great food, and spent some quality time photographing wildlife.

Without further ado… let’s begin:

Adirondack Park, Redux

The First Trip

Map of New Jersey and New York with blue route along I-287 and I-87.
A map that is becoming familiar to my readers: the trip from my front door to Old Forge in Adirondack State Park.
View of I-87 at dusk.
Leaving after work, my wife and I settled into an evening drive northward. Unlike previous trips, traffic was mercifully light.
2012 Honda Accord coupe parked in front of I LOVE NEW YORK sign.
The “I LOVE NY” sign at the New Baltimore Welcome Center should also be familiar to my readers by now.
Sunset over Fourth Lake.
As always, I made time for some sunset and twilight photography on Fourth Lake in the town of Inlet.
Downtown Old Forge, with Christmas Tree on town square across from Old Forge Hardware.
It was nice to return again to Old Forge, one of the larger towns on the western side of the Adirondacks. At the center of town is Old Forge Hardware, established in 1901. The town’s Christmas tree (left) is already lit for the holidays.
Exterior of Blue Line Coffee Shop.
A new favorite of mine is Blue Line Coffee House in Old Forge. Who needs Starbucks when you have an excellent independent coffee shop right in town!
Two coffee cups on wooden table.
That will be one dark roast with half-and-half, and one almond milk cappuccino, please!
Pasta and meatballs on plate, with glass of wine, tossed salad, and shrimp cocktail on table.
It was my wife’s birthday while we were in the Adirondacks, so we enjoyed a meal from Billy’s Italian Restaurant in Old Forge. I had the baked ziti with meatballs, my wife had gluten free pasta with sausage, and our relative enjoyed veal francese. Such a great meal! 
2012 Honda Accord parked in front of Quiver Pond.
And of course, I made time to stop by Quiver Pond for my Accord’s mandatory “glamour” shot.
View of Route 28 southbound toward Utica.
After a fun couple of days, I began the solo drive back to New Jersey while my wife stayed behind with her relative. With its 271-horsepower V6 engine and 270-watt 7-speaker stereo, the Accord ate up the miles with ease.
Car odometer reading 164108 TRIP A 319.9
During the drive home, the Accord broke the 164,000 mile mark, inching closer and closer to 200,000. On a side note, I usually check my car’s engine oil every few weeks, but I realized once I was home that I hadn’t checked since my last oil change, over three thousand miles ago! I removed the dipstick with trepidation… and my worries were ill-founded. The oil level hadn’t budged at all from the “full” line. Have I mentioned how happy I am with this car?

The Return Trip

View of New York Thruway on sunny day with some clouds.
After a week of work, I pulled my wife’s Jeep Grand Cherokee out of the garage and pointed it northward.
White Jeep Grand Cherokee parked in front of Quiver Pond.
After six hours of driving, it was time to relax, enjoy the beauty of the Adirondacks… and also take the Jeep’s “glamour” shot at Quiver Pond.
Pileated woodpecker on tree trunk.
Although much of the area’s wildlife has either migrated for winter or has begun to hibernate, I did still find some cool creatures in the wild, such as this pileated woodpecker.
Raft of common goldeneye ducks.
I spotted this raft of ducks swimming across Fourth Lake (fun fact: a flock of ducks is called a “raft” – thanks to an eagle-eyed reader for pointing this out!). Examining the photos later, my wife discovered that they are not ordinary mallard ducks – these are called “Common Goldeneyes.” Normally found in more northern climates, they winter in places further to the south. It seems like Fourth Lake was a convenient rest stop for them on their journey to warmer lands.
Common Goldeneyes in flight.
Far less comfortable with humans than many of the birds I usually encounter in the Adirondacks, the goldeneyes took flight as I moved closer to take a picture. Since these birds share the name of my favorite James Bond movie of all time, I kept humming the film’s iconic theme song all day. I’m sure my wife and our relative appreciated it.
Sunrise over Fourth Lake.
Sunsets in the Adirondacks are cool… but sunrises are pretty special as well.

Rocky Mountain

Map of Fulton Chain of Lakes
During my last extended visit in the Adirondacks, I climbed Bald Mountain in Old Forge. On this trip I set my sights on another nearby peak: Rocky Mountain.
TOBIE trail beside Route 28 in Inlet. A sign by side of road says INLET A CENTRAL ADIRONDACK COMMUNITY.
My adventure first took me down the TOBIE trail beside Route 28 to the town of Inlet.
Trailhead sign by entrance to woods that says TRAIL TO ROCKY MOUNTAIN .5 MILES
Arriving at the trailhead, there were no other cars in the nearby parking lot, and no evivdence of any human activity. In the warmer months, the parking lot is frequently overflowing with vehicles by mid-morning. However, like the Jersey shore, the Adirondacks are much quieter in the off-season.
Rock-strewn path up a mountainside, with tall trees in background.
I wouldn’t call the path up the mountain a “trail.” It was more like a rock-strewn hillside where you attempted to follow the path of least resistance as you climbed.
IMG_3143
If you can tell me where to find the trail, I’ll be impressed. The only markers were small tags on the occasional tree that said “Foot Trail” (look closely at the tree on the right). However, long stretches of the trail had no markers, so my strategy was simply to keep heading upward, hoping to eventually find another marker. It was… challenging.
Hiking shoes and snow on ground.
What is this white stuff? Oh, right. It’s snow. Between rocks covered in water and ice, wet and decomposing leaves, mud, and snow, good hiking shoes are a must. As I’ve said before, leave the flip-flops, sneakers, high heels, and loafers at home.
Summit of Rocky Mountain.
After a 45-minute climb, I finally reached the summit. I was sweating and gasping for air, but once I took in the view, it was well worth it!
View from the top of Rocky Mountain.
“I can see for miles and miles and miles…” I’m not sure if The Who had this view in mind when they wrote that song, but I hummed the tune the entire time I was standing on the mountaintop.
View of Adirondacks and Route 28 as it snakes its way through Eagle Bay.
Looking down toward Eagle Bay, I was struck by how Route 28 snakes its way through the town. For those that haven’t been to Adirondack State Park, hopefully this photo will give you an inkling of why I love driving these mountain roads.
View of pier and dock on Fourth lake.
With my zoom lens, I was able to peer down along the coastline of Fourth Lake. During the summer, this would be a bustling scene full of people. As winter sets in, the Adirondacks becomes much quieter. 
Panorama of Adirondacks from top of Rocky Mountain.
Taking in one last look from the top of Rocky Mountain, I began my descent. Another Adirondack trip, another mountain climbing adventure completed!

Odds and Ends

Table with turkey, stuffing, gravy, broccoli, brussel sprouts, sweet potatoes, and coleslaw.
Before leaving for home, we celebrated an early Thanksgiving with our relative. It was a team effort – my wife made the stuffing, brussel sprouts, broccoli, and cranberry sauce. Our relative contributed the sweet potatoes and mashed potatoes. And your humble author prepared and cooked the turkey. How did it all come out? Delicious!
View of Wigwam Tavern on Route 28.
The next day, after saying our goodbyes, we began the long trek back to New Jersey. The Wigwam Tavern in Forestport, NY, is my marker that I have finally left the Adirondacks. For much of the next two hours, we would drive through constant snow flurries. Although the temperatures in the mid-30s meant that nothing stuck to the ground, it was a reminder that winter is on its way.
Car odometer reading 59490 miles.
We arrived home safely. The Jeep continues to roll along without complaint, a comfortable and safe ride for us on these long journeys.

A Winter Tire Reminder

Before closing, I wanted to share a quick safety reminder. With the winter season rapidly approaching, proper vehicle maintenance is critical to ensuring that you reach your destination safely. One often-overlooked item is tire choice. While consumers might think “all season” tires are acceptable year round, the truth is that tires designed for winter will keep your car on the road and under control to a much greater degree than all-season tires. Nokian Tyres recently released the below video that demonstrates the ice stopping distances of performance all-season tires, all-season tires, all-weather tires (like the Nokian WR G4 tires on my Accord and my wife’s Jeep), and full winter tires:

While many vehicles in the US are sold with all-wheel drive, that will only help a vehicle start moving on a slick surface. Tire choice determines cornering stability and stopping distance on snow and ice. While all-weather or winter tires may be more expensive than regular all-season tires, it’s cheaper than an accident!

Wrapping Up

It was a fun series of drives to the Adirondacks in upstate New York over the past two weeks. While the late fall and winter months are typically quieter than the summertime, there is still lots to do! Given the care that many businesses and towns have put into operating safely during the pandemic, it is also one of the few places I feel comfortable traveling these days. If you have a chance to tour this magnificent section of our nation, make sure to stop by!

Thanks, as always, for coming along on another journey down the open road ahead.

‘Til next time.

10 thoughts on “Back to the Adirondacks Back to Back.

  1. Happy birthday to your wife!

    Beautiful shots! I appreciate your skills and photo equipment. My cell phone camera is jealous. The lake shot at twilight, first rock strewn hillside pic, and glamour shots are some of my favorites.

    I appreciate you’re supporting small businesses. We’re trying to do the same. I hope businesses can weather the storm.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the kind words on the photos – I’m glad you like them! I’ll definitely pass along the birthday wishes, and definitely agree about trying to support small businesses.

      Thanks for reading!

      Like

  2. I loved the glamour shots! The Accord is looking good. I did not know about a “raft” of ducks. I’m going to test my father on that one since he loves ducks. Great pics!

    Liked by 1 person

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