Mar. 20—PIERCEFIELD — To celebrate the first day of spring, a dozen or so members of the Black River chapter of the Adirondack Mountain Club climbed Mt. Arab under a bright blue ski Saturday afternoon and over a persistent snow pack.
The little mountain, just 2,525 feet in elevation, boasts a peak with a panoramic view enhanced by a fire tower. Mt. Arab is supremely accessible; the trail to the summit is 1 mile long and climbs roughly 750 feet.
Richard R. Ross, of Harrisville, the chapter's chairman, was the leader of Saturday's First Day of Spring Hike.
Mr. Ross said he had climbed Mt. Arab in the fall of last year and thought the climb was both easy enough, yet a challenge, to help other hikers shake the cobwebs off in preparation for the coming season.
Not to say the Black River chapter has been dormant over the winter. The group kept active, including a hike along the Massawepie White Trail near Childwold in December and a cross country skiing and hiking outing near Boonville in January.
Despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the chapter kept planning outings all year while practicing safe protocols.
"We kept the events going, knowing we could pull the plug at any moment," Mr. Ross said. "We wanted to keep people active who felt secure."
There are more than 200 people in the Black River chapter, which is one of 26 chapters spread across the state — from Long Island to Canton.
Between 10 to 20 people take part in the weekly outings, said Linda Burns, also of Harrisville, who is the publicity chair of the chapter.
While keeping active and enjoying the outdoors is an aim of the group, the activities are also about being together.
"It's a nice social event," Ms. Burns said. "It's a nice day."
At the top of Mt. Arab on Saturday afternoon, the hikers shared cookies, took a couple of group pictures and took turns climbing the fire tower to enjoy the spectacular view. There wasn't a cloud in the sky.
Ms. Burns, a former history teacher, told the group about how the mountain got its name. It has to do not with people from the Middle East in the region, but with the French word for maple — érable.
The group has plans for activities at Chimney Bluffs, Baker Woods and Wellesley Island, among others, in the near future.
The chapter is always looking for more members and is not concerned with anyone's ability or experience.
"Our goals are not going fast," Ms. Burns said. "We're slow. Everybody is welcome."
To find out more about the Black River Chapter of the Adirondack Mountain Club, visit its Facebook page or website at hwww.adk.org/adk-chapter/black-river-chapter.