Seventeen years ago, Ellen and I hiked over the spine of the Tongue Mountain range, to the southernmost point, returning along the water. Today, I wanted to go to Five Mile Point midway down the peninsula.
Setting out from the Clay Meadow trail head, I crossed a bog and began going pretty much straight up.
On the summit ridge, there’s an intersection. The north- and southbound trails were easy to find, but the continuation of the eastern trail, not so much. After blundering around for a few minutes, I finally noticed a red trail marker headed east.
Where the trail to the ridge was well-used and easy to follow, the descent to Five Mile Point was anything but. My guess is that Five Mile Point isn’t as popular as the ridge hike, which has spectacular views.
There was little trail maintenance, and it seemed that the DEC ran out of red trail markers.
When the trail is easy, hey, who needs a marker? But obvious bits were interspersed with sections that required serious route finding. A few times, I thought about turning around.
When the slop got really steep, I knew I was close. What had been a trail in name only became a wide carriage road that had been engineered. Gradually, the lake revealed itself.
Having returned to eastern standard time that night, he day was short. I’d forgotten to bring a headlamp, so I turned around a quarter mile from the lake.
On the way out, I blundered around a few times, but found the right route. There are sections where there was no trail and I was like, “keep that bog on your right” or “go to the left of the deadfall.”
This area may not have the glory of the massive peaks further north, but it was a great day. Combine Tongue Mountain with Crane or other peaks in this part of the world. It’s a worthwhile trip.