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Hadley and Spruce 4/17

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  • Hadley and Spruce 4/17

    Trying to take advantage of a perfect day and trying to shake off some rust after some recurring neck issues (found out I have no disc between c6 and c7), I figured some fire towers would do the trick. Looking at my map Spruce and Hadley would fit the bill.

    Loooong drive to the Sacandaga Lake region, an area I have never been to before. Hadley trailhead easy to find, about 6 cars in the lot at 10. The Hadley trail is durable and mostly dry, literally like a sidewalk in places because of fires in the past. Only the tiniest bits of snow left on the trail and on northern slopes. The woods are open and full of erratics, looks like a great place for skiing. Great rock formations everywhere, especially towards the top.

    Lucky for us a local had the key to the cab of the tower, although you had fine views without going that high. From the cab it improves the view of the high peaks clearly discernible in the distance. Closer by I recognized Crane, Eleventh, Gore, Snowy, Blue, Black, and easily see into the Catskills and Vermont. The summit alone is great even without the tower, with views in most directions easily found from the open rock. Trip out was quick and painless.

    Quick drive about a half hour SE to Spruce. Only around 12 miles as the crow flies, it was a light years different hike. The trail was reconfigured in 2015, and the trail has almost no erosion and can be tricky to follow with the huge thick pile of leaves-you really needed the markers to get you around. Higher up there are a jumble of logging roads that look like they could be the trail-you really had to stay cognizant of the markers at all times. The grade of the hike is almost absurdly gentle, this would be a great first hike for families with little kids. The forest is much, much older here than at Hadley. Absolutely huge cherry, oak, birch, and pines everywhere. Super attractive cascades at the trailhead as well.

    The tower was finally seen after the short 1.3 mile walk, and it needs all 70 feet to get above the pines at the modest summit. The area around the tower is strewn with broken glass, I'm assuming due to the easily 4-wheeler accessed service road to the radio tower that shares the summit. The view from the tower was even better than from Hadley if possible. The longitude a few degrees east of Hadley allowed even more of the snowy high peaks to be seen. Haystack, Gothics, Basin, Dix and especially Algonquin (64 miles away!) obviously seen in the north. You could see the 'Cats and Albany easily to the south, and the mountains around Lake George (although not the lake itself) loom especially large from here.

    Fantastic 7 easy miles today, happy to say my PT seems to work so far-no neck issues. Towers #14-15, only harder ones left.