Lyon Mountain has been on my list for a few years, and on Monday, when we knew the High Peaks Wilderness would be jammed with vacationers, we opted to check out the peak just across the border in New York.
A rugged dirt road led us to an almost empty parking lot; we knew we'd made a wise decision. The trail entered the woods, rambling through a lovely hardwood forest and crossing several small brooks. Yadi, who hasn't hiked for a while (he hates the heat), was thrilled to be with us and to cool off in the shady pools. Our son David was also with us, which was fantastic!
When you strike out into a new area, you never know what you're going to see. This trail was a pleasant surprise, and I'd encourage you to check it out. Switchbacks cut the grade, and moss and wildflowers gave the trail a lush, wild feeling.
The steel fire tower came into view as soon as we cleared the trees, rising high above the granite outcrops and conifers. I love a good fire tower, and this one was fabulous! However, before I climbed the tower, I had to check out the views from the ledges.
Chazy Lake spread out below us, and Lake Champlain stretched along the horizon. I could see the tops of the High Peaks. That was all I needed! I headed for the tower to get a full view of the BIG mountains.
From the lofty height of the tower, the views were incredible. Below David and I, Adam and Yadi wandered over the granite ledges, a patchwork of trees and rocks dotted the summit, and the High Peaks came into full view, clouds dancing over the summits.
Did towers really fight fires? Fire towers give hikers expansive views of the surrounding area, especially on wooded peaks; it wasn't that long ago they served an essential purpose. A caretaker, called a 'fire lookout' lived on or near the summit and climbed the tower to get a bird's eye view of the landscape to watch for wildfires in the wilderness.
Climbing to a summit with a fire tower always makes me think about days gone by, and the opportunity to climb one and enjoy the views never gets old!