Two days, three summits, Part 1

Part 2 can be found here

I had big plans. I was going to get six more fire towers done this weekend.┬áMy original plan was to head to the Lake Placid area on Friday to camp at Meadowbrook Campground. On Saturday, I was going to summit Poke-O-Moonshine, Belfry, and Hurricane. Sunday on the way home, hit Lyon, Loon, and Cathedral Rock. Then Mother Nature intervened. Friday I left Syracuse in the afternoon, knowing there was rain predicted for the Lake Placid area. So I changed the plan slightly and stopped at Cathedral Rock since it was on the way. Cathedral is located on the grounds of the ESF Ranger School, outside of Wanakena, NY. It is one of the shorter and easier fire tower hikes, most of the trail is fairly level, it’s only about the last quarter mile that you start climbing through a series of switchbacks.

First trail sign near the parking lot


A portion of the first part of the trail


Beginning of the switchbacks

In two locations there are “stairs” to help get up the next section, this is the first. We did see an older trail near this that would have been along the cliff edge.

StairsWarning sign

This is the first view we got since entering the woods.

Next spot you see is the pavillion. In this photo you can also make out the second “stair” in the bottom right corner.

Next up is the Nathan Louis Peck Memorial Plaque.


After you turn away from the memorial, you get your first view of the fire tower.

Fire tower through the trees

Before you reach it though, there’s another memorial plaque on the right to check out.

Ranger plaque

The clouds were rolling in so there wasn’t much of a view. This is looking towards the way we drove in, Rt 3 by Cranberry Lake. I also found Wheeler Mountain is nearby on the map up in the cab.

Looking towards Cranberry Lake and Route 3

After heading back down, we continued onto Meadowbrook, where upon checking in we got the updated forecast for Saturday morning of high winds and heavy rain. I had anticipated some rain, but not heavy, and not with high winds.

My attempt at trying to cover the picnic table

After a couple hours I had a minor freakout from worrying about the weather and decided to break camp and instead used my hotel points and got a room at the Crowne Plaza in Lake Placid.

Similar room

My travels continue in the next post. To see my complete album of pictures, click here.