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What's the Point?

Okay, so we know how I’ll benefit from this endeavor. I’ll gain experience in the great outdoors that will help me write a better book set in the Adirondacks. But you, my dear reader, may well be asking, “What’s in all this for me?” Hopefully you’ll gain a little knowledge, have a few laughs, and vicariously enjoy a sense of adventure. Think of it as a modern-day Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom, where you get to sit comfortably at your computer screen – much like Marlin Perkins watching from a safe distance behind some bushes. I, on the other hand, will go out into the wild, ala Jim Fowler, and do all the heavy lifting in an effort to entertain you.

            Well, on second thought…

« (Spell) check, please! The Adirondak Loj | Gearing Up to Snowshoe »

Conquering Mount Jo

The day of the family snowshoe outing arrived with warmer temperatures than on our original outing date (See Gearing Up to Snowshoe, March 8), which wasn’t saying much given the frigid conditions in January. But today it was snowing. In February – imagine that. And people wonder why I like staying inside.

Ryan Doyle, outdoor leadership coordinator for the Adirondack Mountain Club, was our guide for the day after apparently having the misfortune of drawing the short straw. My family was the only one signed up for the outing, so he probably figured it would be an easy day. He was wrong.

Ryan suggested we climb Mount Jo on snowshoes. He’d taken a family with little snowshoeing experience on that same hike the week before. Not only had that other family easily completed the hike, they’d had enough time to have lunch then hike around Heart Lake. I guess that’s when my competitive side kicked in, because I wasn’t going to let that “other family” show us up. Or maybe the elastic in my long underwear was too tight and was affecting the amount of oxygen that was making it to my brain – at least to that part of my brain that controls judgment. Because when Ryan asked if we were up for the same hike, I said, “Yes.”


Here’s the thing: Mount Jo is an actual mountain and we were on snowshoes (not to belabor the point about snowshoes, but I want to make it clear that we didn’t have jetpacks strapped to our backs). Outdoorsy types refer to Mount Jo as an easy 710-foot climb. But that’s 710 feet uphill. (And don’t forget – no jetpacks)



We start out by snowshoeing onto Heart Lake. I’m last in line, behind my 6-year-old son. All the fresh snow makes for slow going, so there’s lots of whining and crying. But eventually I calm down and catch up to everyone.



Then we head onto the trail and up the mountain. This is where I begin to wonder when the “easy” part of “easy climb” kicks in – probably back at the Loj when I put on my snowshoes. You’d think that a 710-foot climb would mean Iwould take approximately 710 steps to get to the top. But that would assume that each step propelled me in a forward direction. Unfortunately there were several steep sections where each step forwards sent me sliding several feet backwards. So, after approximately 3,500 steps (give or take a dozen), I made it to the top.



Here are some of the things I learned:

        1)            Black bears in the northeast do not hibernate all winter long, but will wake up during winter         thaws to forage for food. Now they tell me! This provided excellent incentive for me to keep moving and stay with the group.

        2)            The odds that you will meet a snowshoer going in the opposite direction will be directly proportional to the steepness, tightness, and general difficulty of the trail at the point at which you meet them.

        3)            When meeting a snowshoer in above situation, I will fall.

        4)            There’s not much to see at the top of a mountain when it’s snowing.

        5)            When you reach the top of the mountain, you are not done. You still have to get back down.

            Eventually, we did make it back down to the Loj in one piece and without spotting any bears. We’d worked up quite an appetite for our (very) late lunch. And there was no time for a hike around Heart Lake – like that “other family” did – because the sun was getting ready to set at any moment. But my kids had a blast, my husband was a good sport, and I had fodder for my blog. That, and a sore bum.

Here I am, taking a break from looking for bear tracks to pose at the top of Mount Everest, I mean, Mount Jo.


Reader Comments (3)

Just read your blog about gear for snowshoeing and and the one where you and your family actually did that athletic endeavor. You and your family were brave and I'm not sure of the sanity of the mother! Really enjoyed your writing and your sense of humor. Keep the articles coming but be careful!
Your concerned Mom

March 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMom

Enjoyed your blog! You really should head back up Mt Jo in the summer - early in the day when the mist is rising off Heart Lake. And you'll have a view! Or, now that you've purchased your winter gear, try snowshoeing up Coney Mtn. It's small. The trailhead is between Long Lake and Tupper, just along the county line. Enjoy!

March 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKathy Behuniak

Your and your family really did a nice job. I really enjoyed your writing. Your experience Mt. Jo inspired me a lot, even I will try to share my experience of hiking and water Sports near Mumbai in Mandwa, Alibaug
I wish good luck for your next snowshoeing.

February 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterWater Sports near Mumbai

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