Mt. Jo

Atop Mt. Jo

Mt. Jo (2876 ft)

Difficulty: Moderate (but difficult without crampons!)
Date of Summit: 11/25/2007
Trailhead to Summit of Jo: 1.2 miles
Trip Time: 2 hrs
Ascent: 710 ft

I hiked this short but sweet trip with my father-in-law, Byron Bennett. With a considerable amount of outdoors experience under his belt, we were both excited to get to the trailhead. We parked in the ADK Loj parking lot and began our ascent. Unfortunately, the entire trail was covered with a few inches of ice. This made the summit a bit...frustrating. But we did it! After breaking our hiking poles and slipping a couple dozen times, we were standing on top of Mt. Jo, with a beautiful view of Heart Lake below. It's a flexible hike, with two different ways to summit/descend. You can take a trail straight up the mountain, finishing quickly without your breath, or you can meander in a somewhat more gradual progression around the side of the mountain.

Mt. Jo was named after Josephine Scofield, who was to be engaged to Henry Van Hoevenburg. They picked out this specific mountain because of its view of Heart Lake (you guessed it - shaped like a heart - see below pic). No great story of the ADK's would go without a bit of tragedy, and unfortunately the famous "Jo" died before their dream home on Heart Lake was even completed. Henry persisted in finishing the home, and it became the Adirondack Lodge (which later was burned down, and it has been reconstructed and named the Adirondack "Loj" now).

This is the trip that made me realize that I just wasn't prepared (concerning gear) for an ADK winter hike. Or any hike for that matter. Until this point, I had been hiking with old/used ski poles, a messenger bag, and 89% of my clothing was made of cotton. Although I have a great deal of hiking/backpacking/camping experience under my belt, my passion for the outdoors went dormant for nearly 10 years, between high school and now. As any poor, starving artist would do, I sold much of my gear so that the ramen bowl could stay filled. Over the course of this hike, we managed to break my ski poles in half, like toothpicks, and slip on the icy trail every few feet in elevation change. Passing hikers who were wearing crampons and using $150 hiking poles made me feel guilty and excited at the idea of crafting my Christmas list around new-fangled hiking gear.

(UPDATE: Thanks to Byron, I now have a new pair of hiking poles AND some heavy duty crampons. I guess I just need to take this guy on more trips and have my things "conveniently break" :)

Unfortunately Undrinkable

Thanksgiving Ice

Byron enjoying the view

Heart Lake below, atop Mt. Jo


Emily said...

WOw! That looks like fun!

Byron said...

What a view!!!!!!!!!

Tom Murphy said...

Mt. Jo rules. Here's why, for the money, it is the easiest mountain to climb for the view it offers. Also,the location for the view is unmatched. I've hiked it twice and will hike it again ! Tom Murphy

Tom Murphy said...

Mt. Joe has the best views to offer for the effort needed to reach the summit. The location cannot be matched as it offers views of Algonquin, Colden and Marcy peaks, with Heart Lake in the foreground. I've hiked it twice and will hike it again soon!