Lyon Mountain is the highest point in Clinton County New York at 3,830’. On a nice clear day The view from the summit and tower are of Chazy Lake, Lake Champlain and the Green Mountains to the East, Montreal skyline to the northeast, Chateauguay Lake to the north, and the High Peaks of the Adirondack Mountains to the south.
This was to be my first winter hike. The new Lyon Mountain trail consists of a fair climb of switchbacks making the trek up steady but not steep. I should start by adding that my first winter hike was cut short. I was disillusioned by the lack of snow in the Champlain Valley and made a conscious decision to leave my snow shoes behind in favor of some microspikes. It only goes to show that it can’t hurt to think you are over prepared.
There was a good two inches of fresh powder at the trailhead so I strapped on my Gaiters and microspikes and headed up. The falling snow made for a lot of wintery photo opportunities. Again I did not have a proper camera with me, but the Cell phone is always a handy backup plan. The hike was very fair at a nice mellow pace. As I climbed higher toward the summit the snow got increasingly deeper. I knew by the time I was kicking through six inches of snow that my decision to leave those snowshoes behind was a poor one.
At the spot where the new longer trail that I had taken and the old washed out trail meet I turned for the toughest part of the climb to the summit. Under good conditions this would have been an easy task, but since I was not properly prepared for the amount of snow I was facing. Only a few steps into the climb I found my short frame buried waist deep in snow that must have collected from drifts off of the summit. Of course I stood for a moment in my snowy cocoon trying to convince myself that I should just trek on. I had to make the decision to turn back. Never the less it is a great hike through a winter wonderland.
The trip back down was incredibly fast compared to the trek up. Aside from my missing the summit, it was a beautiful wintery hike that I will definitely tackle again before the snow melts off. Next time I’ll be a bit more prepared.