Mount Arab
Dec
04
2013

Snow Shoe In Saranac Lake

Mount Arab is located so close to the Saranac Lake Region, yet it gets very little attention from visiting hikers and snowshoers. This 2,500’ peak is a gem in the tri-lakes area and with its attractive firetower, it boasts has some pretty amazing views.  I had never been up Arab with snow on the ground before and I thought this would be a great day to change that fact. I packed my pack, filled my water bottle, grabbed a small snack and hit the road.

As I left my house the sun was peeking through the clouds and I was pretty sure it wouldn’t last until I summited; it didn’t, but that was OK. I might be vitamin D deficient from the lack of sun of late but I wasn’t going to let that ruin an otherwise nice late fall day in the woods.   At the trailhead I came to the quick realization that I left my Microspikes at home and would have to do a bit of route finding to navigate the icy conditions.  Looking at the icy buildup in the parking lot, I was sure that I would have some along the trail as well.

The trail was completely snow covered and very hard under foot from the heavy traffic over the last weekend. The ice quickly kicked in along small sections but nothing where the trail was impassable without traction. I quickly found myself at the base of a long staircase.

Even though the staircase was covered in snow, I could see what looked like quite the project.  Above the staircase a bit more ice started to appear and I had to do a bit of walking around to get above it, but nothing too bad.  Traction would have allowed me to walk right up it.

Mountain and Water Views

After a long mellow walk along the ridge top I stood below the tower. The fire observer’s cabin, fully restored on the outside, looked like a new structure and probably still had that new cabin smell on the inside. The fire tower is also in amazing condition thanks to the Friends of Mount Arab. I could hear something faint calling my name, quite odd, but it wouldn’t go away. I soon figured out it was the cab of the firetower inviting me up for a view, so I was obliged to go. The stairs were very icy, especially those in the middle, for some reason, but it wasn’t too bad. I was surprised to find that all the windows in the cab were accounted for. Four of the eight could be opened and the views were just as amazing as I remembered them in the summer. Now I had to walk down the icy steps; that were a bit tough with a camera in my hand and no traction on my feet, but it was manageable with a white knuckle death grip on the railing.

 

I walked around the summit area to check out the several small overlooks that dot the top and after about 15-minutes of exploring around I opted to get back down to the car and get home to tell you all about it. Want more information on the firetowers in the Adirondack Park pick up a copy of, Views from on High by John Freeman or Adirondack Firetowers by Marty Podskoch.  Want to snowshoe some of the more obscure firetowers in the Adirondacks, but don’t want to do it alone? Check out a local guide service for details. 

Author:Spencer Morrissey
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