Mt. Jo (2876 ft)
Date of Summit: 10/30/2008
Trailhead to Summit of Jo: 1.2 miles
Trip Time: 2.5 hrs
Ascent: 710 ft
It took me three tries, but I finally took the easy, more enjoyable way up this mountain. Accompanied by my father, Bill Beck, we climbed the back side of Mt. Jo, which was much, MUCH more gradual than the short and steep version that I had experienced in the first and second ascents. After dropping my mother, Kathy Beck, off in the Adirondack Loj for a few hours of serious reading and relaxing in their lounge, my father and I began to tromp through the 6-inch deep snow (that's right - six inches in late October!) towards the trailhead. While we knew that our route would be the longer and more gradual trail, we were still concerned about the snow. As we passed the off-shoot to the short, steep route, we knew that we had made the right decision, for there was not a footprint to be seen on that portion of the trail.
As we slowly climbed around the backside of the mini-mountain, we came across some beautiful icicle formations which appeared, due to their color, to have a substantial amount of iron in them (that's my guess at least). We joked that perhaps this water source was not from a pure mountain spring but perhaps an extremely large animal who just couldn't hold it anymore. We felt lucky to have poles and crampons, for we didn't fall or slip even once on the climb, up or down the mountain. We passed one couple who was resting along the trail, which meant that the duty of blazing the trail through the untouched snow was now our burden, which we gladly accepted. This situation also meant something else - we would be the first people to reach the summit that day, which is always an extra bonus for any hiker.
By the time we reached the top, the clouds had left the immediate area, leaving us a nice and open view that could be seen until roughly just before the very top of Algonquin. This allowed for some wonderful pictures (of which we took many, for this was my father's very first Adirondack hike!). As we began to dig into our summit snacks of pretzels and summer sausage, the party we had passed earlier arrived to join us at the top of Mt. Jo. With their help, we snapped a few more pictures and made a call on their cell phone to my mother (we knew that she was worrying about our lives and talking to the ranger about "emergency mountain rescue" at that very moment, just 700 feet below us).
Twenty minutes later, we were back on the trail, heading down to my anxiously awaiting mother in the Adirondack Loj. The descent was extremely easy. The six inches of snow made every step feel as if the ground was reaching up with a pillow to cushion your impact, thus easing your joints. Since the temperature wasn't too cold, it was nearly the perfect conditions for a hike in the late (snowy) fall. Having done this mountain three different times now, I can honestly say that it never gets old - the view, the trail, and the company is always changing, which keeps things extremely interesting!