One of my favorite areas for four-season backpacking is the Tongue Mountain Range in the Eastern Adirondack, New York (about a four to five hour drive from New York City). It is a wild, mountainous peninsula that juts out into Lake George. I call the Tongue Mountain Range my enchanted forest. It offers a delightful 16-mile walk along a beautiful trail that showcases a variety of flora and fauna. Starting at the northern trail-head (see the red dot on the map) you head south along the Tongue Mountain trail, slogging up over five summits (Brown Mtn., Five-mile Mtn., Fifth Peak, French Point Mtn., and First Peak) on the way to the shore of Lake George. The last three summits in particular will reward you with stunning vantage points and splendid views of the Narrows, Northwest Bay, the Mountains east and west of Tongue Mountain Range, and of Lake George's southern shore. Assuming the weather is good during the trip, setting up camp on First Peak is a good idea as you will be able to catch the sunset and experience the magic of Lake George at night. If the weather is poor you can set up camp at Montcalm Pt., one of the many natural resting places at the southern tip of the Peninsula. Tongue Mountain is a good get-away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life in the city. I consider it my home away from home.
[Photographic Art by Ric Couchman]