As with all of my long escapes to the woods, I charged into my Adirondack 46er quest headlong, full of boundless energy and a tight itinerary, back on Memorial Day. But the woods always have a way of slowing everything down, physically and mentally, forcing one to meander and humbly take some unexpected turns. After descending my 46th peak just before Labor Day, I came out changed, the nuances of which are still subtle and taking time to discover.
Two months away from the woods, and it’s still a daunting task to think about how to break down my High Peaks adventure in narrative form. The stories still loom large and tangled, much like the ADKs themselves. So I’ve decided to start small when it comes to my words and let the stories find their voice in due time.
It’s been said that a picture is worth a thousand words, and when it comes to beautiful landscapes, I think it might just be worth a little more. In an attempt to be succinct as I turn inward, hoping to discover how this trip has shaped me, I’ve written a haiku to capture each day’s essence and posted a gratuitous amount of epic mountain photos because the Adirondacks certainly deserve the spotlight.
Stay tuned for the second half…
Peak #1: Table Top (5/29/16)
Up at 4 a.m.
First trail-less experience
Sun, thunder, and rain
Lesson 1 of trail-less peak bagging: there are roots. A lot of roots.
My intrepid hiking partners – Dad and Aunt Deb
1 down; 45 to go!
The point at which I begin to wonder, just what have I gotten myself into this summer?? First sighting of Marcy (the tallest peak) off in the distance.
Peaks #2 & 3: Porter & Cascade (5/30/16)
Woke up in a bed
Clouds cleared, rocks dried, sun came out
What’s with all the poop?
Dad standing atop Porter Mountain.
Ascending the rocks to Cascade.
Classic family foot shot — we have approximately 1.7 million of these. Cascade summit!
Peaks #4, 5, 6, 7, 8: Sawteeth, Gothics, Armstrong, Upper Wolf Jaw, Lower Wolf Jaw (6/11/16)
Who needs sleep? Let’s go!
Swirling clouds, but no black flies
Solo peak bagging
Crossing the East Branch of the Ausable River
During a drought season the ADKs still had plenty of water at the bottom of mountains…
…and at the top.
The one view I had before getting socked in a cloudy drizzle for the duration of this 17+ mile, 5 peak day.
Wind whipped fog atop Gothics.
Peaks #9 & 10: Street & Nye (6/16/16)
Ate two black flies for snack
Nothing but wooded summits
Some days, you just hike
Appropriate signage for wooded summits.
Wait…we’re already here?
Street and Nye – nothing to write home about, but the closest the High Peaks come to a walk in the woods.
Pro tip for day hiking: ice cold beers from a cooler and dipping toes into colllld water sources. Thanks, Heart Lake.
Peaks #11, 12, 13, 14: Dial, Nippletop, Colvin, Blake (6/17/16)
Beat up and badass
Manic laughter halfway there
Sipping from the pond
MOUNTAINS! The view from Dial.
The even better view from Nippletop – a good lunch spot to take a break during this 19 mile day.
Looking down at Ausable Lake.
The harsh reality of bagging some ADK peaks – the dreaded out and back hike. We have to go up and down this…twice?! Ugh. For wooded summits no less.
Always thankful when a ladder appears.
Peaks #15 & 16: Whiteface & Esther (7/7/16)
A rare bone dry trail
Elevator ride on top
Whipped by branch gauntlet
We were the rare breed that reached this summit via foot rather than car.
En route to the castle via a long elevator ride. No joke. Some mountain summits have no fanfare. This one has ALL the fanfare.
The view back to Whiteface’s Observatory from Esther.
Peaks #17 & 18: Giant & Rocky Peak Ridge (7/8/16)
A leisurely start
Socked in clouds, sweating buckets
Caution: slabs are nuts
WHAT created this web orb??!
Today’s hike, brought to you by: ladders, slabs, scrambles, and a heavy dose of anxiety.
Notice the incredibly forced smiles – I felt much closer to tears following the descent to the col at the bottom of Giant en route to Rocky Peak Ridge.
Backtracking to Giant’s summit just after 5pm. Now for the long haul back down…
Giant pano…see what I did there?! Huzzah.
Peaks #19, 20, 21: Couchsachraga, Santanoni, Panther (7/11/16)
Times Square is empty
It’s a long slog to the bog
Trail run for Santa
The impact of Hurricane Irene can still be seen five years later.
Boulders, root wedging, flowing river. In the ADKs, you can be sure, this is also the trail.
Couch: I think once will be enough for this one.
Dad makes his way through the infamous bog. No boots were lost in the bagging of this peak.
First trail run to Santa – I will do whatever it takes to avoid night hiking.
All in a day’s work: the view near the summit of Panther – Santanoni (L), Couchsachagra (R).
Peaks #22, 23, 24: Algonquin, Iroquois, Wright (7/17/19)
Twinning on this hike
Is this Franconia Ridge?
Nothing but blue skies
Sis picking her way carefully up Algonquin.
From the summit of Algonquin, the slides of Colden are epic!
Twinning on top of Algonquin.
Ridgelining to Wright peak a lá Franconia Ridge = best.
One benefit to a late start: the rare empty summit of a popular peak. Taking a moment to reflect: HALFWAY THERE!
Yellow blazing is acceptable in the ADKs…zing!
Sis showing how it feels to bag three peaks in a day. Am I Wright?? 🙂
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