Family Fun: Look for Rock Climbers and Fall Foliage
Getting my family outside is as simple as opening up the door. The leaves are still bright gold and red in parts of the Adirondacks. We only need to look up at the trees to relish the gorgeous autumn colors. It is foggy and a bit damp from a recent rain so we just pull off the side of Route 73 to enjoy and explore nature around us.
One place we like to relax is the Cascade Lakes boat launch on Route 73. Those stopping to climb either Pitchoff or Cascade Mountains easily miss this area. Upper and Lower Cascade Lakes are familiar to hikers as the access for Cascade and Pitchoff Mountains. Others may just drive through Cascade Pass never realizing the treasure spot waiting to be explored.
Even if you have no plans on hiking, the Cascade Lake area is a wonderful place to just sit and enjoy the beautiful fall foliage. The boat launch is about seven miles southeast of Lake Placid or six miles northwest of Keene and located between the two lakes.
The Cascade Pass area is very popular with rock and ice climbers. My children are always on the lookout to see if they can spot someone repelling down one of the steep cliffs of Pitchoff or near the frozen waterfall on Cascade in winter.
For a quick diversion, take a picnic lunch and admire the views over the Upper and Lower Cascade Lakes or explore the paths along the base of Cascade Mountain.
With the aftermath of Tropical Storm Irene and much of the Adirondack High Peaks topography altered, it will be interesting to go back and watch for ice climbers in the winter and see what new paths they are adventuring.
If you are looking for indoor climbing and just need to practice for the rock-climbing season, try the indoor climbing wall at High Peaks Cyclery. That is a wonderful way to burn off some extra energy or learn a new skill.
© photos and contect Diane Chase, author of Adirondack Family Time: Tri-Lakes and High Peaks (Your Four-Season Guide to Over 300 Activities) for the towns of Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, Jay/Upper Jay, Wilmington, Keene/Keene Valley which is available online or bookstores/museums/sporting good stores.
The book includes 33 easy hikes, snowshoe and XC trails, 19 swimming holes, 21 historic sites, free ice skating ponds/rinks, and more. Diane is currently working on the second guidebook in the four-book series of Adirondack Family Activities, covering Plattsburgh to Ticonderoga.