On Saturday morning, we met up with our Fountain Square Outfitter comrades (and long-time friends) and their four-legged best friend at the Stewarts in Indian Lake before making our way to the Wakely Mountain trailhead. Just outside of Indian Lake, the 12-mile road toward the Cedar River Flow camping area will also lead you right to the Wakely Mountain trailhead. The 3-mile hike is very gradual for the first 2 miles.
The trail splits at the “one mile left!” mark and, thanks to Matt’s suggestion, at that point we decided to take a little detour and explore the side trail. Following the trail just a hundred yards or so, the canopy opened up and we discovered that we had stumbled out into a beautiful field, a former beaver pond. The remnants of a beaver lodge and dam, in addition to the smooth rocks, sandy soils, forlorn-looking tree stumps, and small stream meandering through the field made the area’s history pretty clear. What a spot! We even caught our first glimpse of the Wakely Mountain fire tower, which we would later find out is the tallest fire tower in the Adirondacks. Seeing how small the fire tower looked, we realized we still had quite the ascent ahead of us. Heading back out to the main trail, we continued on our trek. Very quickly the trail began to increase its incline, and we also very quickly realized that we had better start doing better workouts to prepare for any High Peak trips we plan on doing this fall! We stopped at about the halfway point between the trail sign and the summit for a peppermint patty break. That little bit of sugar seemed to give us the boost we needed to make it to the top. Abbie seemed to have endless energy and was still bounding along beside us more like a puppy than the old lady she is!
After first passing what we could only assume was a helicopter-landing pad, we finally reached the summit! There was not much of a view from the ground, but we were excited to see what the fire tower had in store. Since the tower was occupied when we got to the summit, we decided to dine first, and then explore. Matt pulled out his trusty frying pan and MSR Whisperlite portable stove while Sarah and I prepped the pesto grilled cheese sandwiches for grilling and poured us each a glass of wine – dining with class! Evan was busy photographing, not unexpectedly. The mountaintop grilled cheese was absolutely delicious and certainly a treat for us hungry hikers.
Once we had sufficiently enjoyed our sandwiches, we made our way up the fire tower – very tall and, in the wind, a little nerve-wracking! The 360-degree views were stunning though, and well worth the climb. Sarah and I made it to the second to last level below the tower cabin before realizing that the very last level lacked the nice chicken-wire type protection of the other levels. That was where our journey ended! Matt and Evan were a little braver than we were, so they ventured up into the cabin to take in the sights and grab some photos with the GoPro.
The hike back down went smoothly, though some of the steeper rocky sections were a little slippery. Abbie finally started to show some signs of being tired, and once we made it back to the cars, we enjoyed some fresh cherries, strawberries, and blueberries as the rain started to fall. Perfect timing.
To learn more about the Adirondack Fire Tower Challenge and the details on each hike, visit our fire tower page.