Potash Mountain

Ooooh, it was a brisk one this morning! Started out at 16F and ended at… 16F!!!! We couldn’t remember if we had done Potash Mountain in Lake Luzerne, so last night we were sitting at dinner and thought “did it matter?” The great thing about walking in the woods or hiking a mountain, or running, biking, paddling… is that the view is never the same, day to day, month to month, year to year.

We got up this morning to a clogged up coffee pot that produced just enough coffee with not too many grounds in it, so after chewing down some good, strong coffee we sprang to life, changed from our pajamas (oh, we have matching pajamas!) and started getting our stuff together. When that happens, Blue starts getting jumpy and can’t wait to get out there. We take a little longer than she likes. Maybe some more coffee?

We headed up to Potash Road in Lake Luzerne. The trailhead is very recognizable with a nice parking area, picnic pavilion, and big sign welcoming you to the Harris Preserve… you can’t miss it. We parked in the empty lot and opted for spikes only this morning. The air was freezing, there had been some warmer days so possible snow melt/re-freezing, and anticipated low snow depth. We got Blue’s harness on and leash, donned our spikes, then struck out into the woods.

The trail is very well marked (blue markers) and the snow was hard packed down. As we thought, the ice was pretty solid. A little ways in we crossed a wooden bridge where you could hear a stream running under it, but it was covered in snow… really interesting to the senses! The trail runs fairly level for quite awhile and then starts a gradual climb. You can opt to take the Nature Trail to the right that connects later on, or continue straight. We kept straight, eventually leaving the Preserve to enter State land where the climbing gets more difficult.

Quite a few switchbacks reveal nice drop-offs to the left and rock faces to the right (or vice-versa I guess, depending). With the amount of ice on the trail and the crispy snow pack, there were places that were a little sketchy. Blue actually laid down at one point to chew on some snow and slid down slightly, but hopped up and sprinted ahead. Thanks for the scare, Blue!

There’s a trail junction as it gets closer to the summit where you can go right up the ridge (.21 miles to summit) or follow to the left for the summit via lookout (.24 miles). We swung left and were treated to some beautiful winter views. From the lookout you can see south for miles. Fourth Lake is directly south and closest to you, with Lake Luzerne just past it. I believe you can see Lake Vanare from here as well. Blue posed for a pic before we headed up to the summit, just a few hundred steps away.

We got to the top and took a few pics, then I sat and had some water and told Blue she was a good pup, cuz ya just gotta! Darcy hooked her up with some jerky and treats, then poured some water in her dish which she drank like a fish… if fish drink. Never really thought of that, but that’s a strange saying. Funny thing, Blue seldom eats or drinks during a hike, but she did today! Then we packed up and headed down via the ridge trail.

Summit sign: Potash Mountain 1,751ft.

The way down was slow going with the amount of ice, but with the spikes it wasn’t terrible. There were a couple of spots to be wary, but we were more worried about Blue barreling down the trail. Soon we hit the intersection of the main trail (where we had gone left before) and headed back down toward the lot. Taking care on the ice we still made short work of the hike down, anticipating our after-hike coffee we ALWAYS get from Stewart’s.

Stepping out to the parking lot, there still were no cars there. I popped the back hatch and Blue hopped in, we ditched the spikes, and moments later sat in the Jeep with the heat on. It wasn’t too bad and we worked up sweat for sure on the trail, but it was still nice to be back in the Jeep! 16 degrees still, and just after 11am! Time for some coffee!

Potash Mountain is a moderate hike, I’d say. A little on the short side, but the views are amazing and the trail, at least on this day, was very peaceful and welcoming. I’m sure in the summer or fall it’s just as beautiful, and we’ll be back to check it out.

Keep wandering!