Fulton County

Kane Mountain a popular summer hiking destination

Lori Avery and Susan Ackerbauer walked toward twilight atop Kane Mountain.
Lori Avery, left, and hiking pal Susan Ackerbauer pause during their late afternoon hike to Kane Mountain in Caroga Lake.
Lori Avery, left, and hiking pal Susan Ackerbauer pause during their late afternoon hike to Kane Mountain in Caroga Lake.

Lori Avery and Susan Ackerbauer walked toward twilight atop Kane Mountain.

It was late afternoon when they ascended the Fulton County landmark above Green Lake. They knew it would be dark during the return trip.

“We’re going to watch the sunset,” said Avery, of New Smyrna Beach in Florida. “Then we’re going to hike down with lanterns and head lamps.”

Rushing was never part of the bold venture. “We have salads, cheese, French bread, salami, hummus, veggies and fruit,” said Green Lake resident Ackerbauer, adding that conversation between sips of wine was also part of the night out in Fulton’s “Land of 44 Lakes.”

Most people prefer Kane — and bunches of other nearby hikes in the Caroga Lake area — during daylight hours.

The main trail runs from Green Lake Road; a second trail runs from Schoolhouse Road and while it’s a shorter climb to the top, a steeper grade and more abundant rocks on the path raise the difficulty level.

Many of the Fulton trail adventures are short affairs and are athletically appropriate for children. At Kane Mountain, the Avery and Ackerbauer expedition took the half-mile trail. The women climbed 600 feet and enjoyed their picnic lunch near the 60-foot fire tower bolted into a rock platform. The steel-frame tower was built in 1925; brave hearts can climb nine flights of wooden stairs — eight steps per flight — to reach the observation platform.

An observer’s cabin built in 1960 is now boarded up. Like many hikes, there are natural wonders on the way to Kane. One tall tree has dozens of exposed roots, but they look more like tentacles or monstrous worms lying motionless above the ground. In another spot, a large piece of tree is suspended between two other trees, and a huge gash in the center wood — constructed by either the elements or Adirondack animals — suggests a wide-open mouth in mute protest.

Ackerbauer has other favorite hikes in the area.

“Nine Corner Lake is the most popular hike here,” she said. “There’s a great rock ledge you can dive off. The kids love it.” The trail head begins west of Pine Lake’s Route 29A. It’s two miles for the round trip, and the hike passes waterfalls on a mountain stream.

There are bunches of other ones, like Glasgow Pond, Chase Lake, Holmes Lake and Broomstick Lake. For Broomstick, the trail head can be tricky to find — motorists should look for the Pine Lake Lodge restaurant at the junction of Route 29A westbound and Route 10 north. From that point, the entry to Broomstick Lake is about one mile north on Route 10; a small sign will be visible on the left side of the road.

Dave Nilsen of Gloversville has hiked Broomstick twice this summer. During the winter, he’ll be on the trail with his snowshoes. “It’s a nice little seven-tenths of a mile hike,” he said. “There’s a pretty stream alongside of the trail that you’ll be mostly beside as you ascend.”

The ease of the hike is a great convincer, especially for novice mountaineers.

“Anyone can do it,” Nilsen said. “I’ve witnessed families who go up there — they’re just glowing with words about how beautiful it is. People just love the ambience and the Adirondack atmosphere. They can’t say enough when they experience it.”

The trail offers some sections of steep climbs, with rocks the size of basketballs and basketball backboards. In some parts, moss covers rocks and tree logs. In other parts, foliage on tall trees blocks light from sky and sun — and can make a solitary hiker wonder if Broomstick was named after a witch who might still be hanging around.

“That’s kind of a mystery,” Nilsen said. “I’ve never found out how Broomstick got its name. It doesn’t look like a broomstick to me.”

The lake was good enough for the movies. According to Fulton County historians, Broomstick was used in the original filming of “The Last of the Mohicans” in 1936.

Bugs were not a major problem during a recent late-summer climb. “The black flies got froze off early this year, so they weren’t a problem,” Nilsen said. “The temperatures dropped right off to frost levels in May.”

The 25-minute hike to the lake ends in a small patch of flat rocks and gives people a great look at an unspoiled Adirondack lake. For people with cameras, a few clicks can mean do-it-yourself digital post cards.

Nilsen said Fulton County and the southern Adirondacks can offer hiking experiences as fulfilling as hikes in the northern part of the mountain range. But hikers and swimmers don’t have to drive two or three hours to reach their adventures.

“You don’t have to a 46er to enjoy the hiking, and it’s close by,” Nilsen said.

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