The woods and the mountains are my home away from home. The place I seek when the final school bell rings. The place that allows for space and silence. The place where time comfortably expands and contracts. The place that brings me inward so I may once again connect outward. The place where the intricacies and delicacies of nature readily reveal themselves to those willing to explore. Worries and regrets are replaced with hope and wonder.
May we continue to protect and maintain these woods and mountains, so as to always benefit from their bounty.
Here’s to you, Adirondacks. You have my heart.
Peak #25: Mt. Marshall (7/22/16)
Hazy and humid
Don’t be fooled by left hand turns
Heat lightning tent show
A little off the beaten path – this monument stands for David Henderson, one of the founders of the Adirondack Iron Works, who lost his life when a loaded gun accidentally went off in his pack.
The view before the wooded summit – high above the Flowed Lands.
Climbing trees to give Mt. Marshall a high five!
Peaks #26 & 27: Cliff & Redfield (7/23/16)
Rock scrambles and mud
Ice cold river submersion
Crossing the suspension bridge over the Opalescent River.
Climbing up the cliffs of Cliff.
Taking a bite out of Cliff.
A hot day and unexpected blue skies means a quick dip in the Opalescent and sunbathing are in order.
So many swimming holes.
From the top of Redfield, Allen looms large and in charge (and in the middle of nowhere) in the distance.
Peak #28: Phelps (7/25/16)
Solo wind whipped summit cairn
Off in record time
Glimpses of the Great Range and Marcy.
Flowers and jagged peaks — the bright spots of an otherwise dreary day.
Peak# 29: Colden (7/26/16)
Bear spray works on humans too
Will sleep come tonight?
Looking back to Colden Pond and Flowed Lands. Satisfying to look back on a day’s work!
Now entering the Alpine Zone…via a very tall ladder.
Always so impressed by the arctic tundra plants that thrive in such a harsh environment.
Oh hello, Alogonquin, Wright, and Iroquois!
Peaks #30, 31, 32: Haystack, Skylight, Gray (7/27/16)
The path less traveled…
Panther Gorge was a mistake
Skylight for the win
So pretty. So little.
Haystack summit – certainly in the Top 5. Amazing views in all directions.
Such a fun (and unnerving) scramble to the summit.
Retreating back down to Panther Gorge. I went up and down that?! Eeeeek.
Skylight – another Top Five.
Nothing but jaw dropping beauty.
A wooded peak to end the day, but it includes a sweet scramble and a glimpse of Marcy. I’ll take it.
Peaks #33 & 34: Dix & Hough (8/8/16)
A new plan hatches
Karma bit me atop Dix
Wait, where is the trail?
Nothing beats that moment when you get up a steep pitch, turn around, and take in the first spectacular views of the day.
Dix has the tiniest geological survey marker I’ve ever seen…and some of the greatest views!
Some days, you throw your original plan out the window when campsites are full. In this case, we’re now hiking wayyyy later into the day than we had planned…shwoops. Still one peak to go!
Climbed up the Beckhorn, over to Dix, then backtracked to find the seemingly secret passage to Hough hidden behind a boulder. Another amazing day to look back on!
On Hough’s ledge with Elk Lake in the background.
Huffed up Hough.
Looking forward to tomorrow’s peaks!
Peaks #35, 36, 37: Macomb, South Dix, East Dix (8/9/16)
I spy Camel’s Hump
Mind the gap or fall right in
Straight up cairn scramble
The rare non-selfie atop Macomb.
Looking down in the valley to Elk Lake.
A look back at Macomb as Dad scrambles toward So. Dix (renamed Carson Peak).
East Dix (Grace Peak) offered some stunning views.
On the summit of Grace Peak – recently renamed in honor of the first Female 46er, and letter writer extraordinaire, Grace Hudowalski.
I have always been, and will always be, mesmerized by the sight of cascading mountains.
This cairn scramble reminds me of the Aggro Crag from GUTS. I finally get to live out a childhood dream – back to you, Mo!
Peaks #38 & 39: Basin & Saddleback (8/11/16)
Savor the flat trail
Dizzying vertical rock
Slides and scorching sun
For context – from below, Dad and I know we’ll be ascending Basin first (on the right) and then making our way over to Saddleback (on the left). Note the vertical pitch leading to Saddleback…eek!
To temper our fear and calm our nerves, we take a moment to enjoy this view of Haystack and Little Haystack.
Nowhere to go but up!
Basin! Huzzah! We lose some of the wind from our sails when we’re promised that this tough peak will pale in comparison to what lies ahead.
After a forever descent into the col, Saddleback looms large and in charge in front of us.
Here she is: hands down the toughest scramble I’ve ever encountered. It takes several leaps of faith (literally) to find safety above. Four incredible women coach us through, and we all whoop and holler at the top! 🙂
Check out that vertical! Go, Padre!
Still weak in the knees when we reach the top of Saddleback.
So proud and humbled to be up here alongside my Dad 🙂
Huge kudos and an enormous thanks to the trail maintainers and volunteers who built this Stairway to Heaven. Incredible.
The detritus from a massive slide – a chilling reminder of how powerful natural forces are.
Peak #40: Big Slide (8/12/16)
Blue skies – gotta go!
The pace quickens with the clouds
Socked in at the top
It’s a race to the top to beat the weather. Still, I have no choice but to stop and take in the beauty along the way!
I hear this lookout has some great views – today, it is a trail that simply ends where the clouds begin.
Some days, you just have your head in the clouds.
The clouds lift momentarily. But today, the beauty is found mostly at my feet. Still plenty to go around 🙂
Peak #41: Allen (8/21/16)
Ominous gray sky
A slimy, slick summit bid
Rain filled squishy boots
Allen Brook: a beauty to behold and a beast to walk up.
On a day that promises a 100% chance of rain, we never cross paths with any other hikers. 9 miles in and elation on top! No rain…yet.
This picture is still before the rain. Wet seems to be Allen’s permanent state.
Allen is full of bells and whistles 😉
The bridge that no longer leads anywhere post Hurricane Irene. Here the rain begins in earnest, filling the trail and, soon enough, all of our boots. Laughter ensues.
Peak #42: Seymour (8/22/16)
Chilling winds, sparse sun
Sopping wet slabs mean soaked sorts
Seymour – where are you?
I can’t imagine what the ADKs look like with a typical year of rainfall. During this dry year, I still adored all the waterfalls along the way.
The state of the trail on trail-less peaks. Mud. Rocks. Repeat.
Followed by exposed roots. Mud. Wet rock. Repeat.
A distant view of the Santanonis.
Insanely windy, but the view is always worth it! …just not for long…
The final countdown is on!
My favorite cairn in the ADKs. Shouldn’t they all have buckets?
Peaks #43, 44, 45: Seward, Donaldson, Emmons (8/23/16)
Imminent death by bare roots
There simply isn’t enough time in the day for all the swimming holes. So good.
The soggiest, muddiest, and rockiest trail of them all, with roots going every which way. My Truth: Seward is a never-ending obstacle course with zero fun obstacles.
First time atop Seward for the day. We’ll return to this spot nearly six hours later, completely exhausted, with the final descent still ahead.
At least Donaldson boasts some excellent views.
Allen, Seymour, and the Sewards might not be much to write home about, but I can’t imagine doing them in better company. Equal parts misery and laughter with this one.
Yep. There’s Seward. We’ll get back there eventually, but first…
Emmons! #45! …now back to #44…and #43.
A final scramble up toward Seward with views back to Donaldson and Emmons.
Time for some technical butt sliding, wet shorts, deep belly laughter…
And one final mud pit crossing.
Peak #46: Marcy (8/27/16)
One last sunrise drive
Bookended with family
One last mountaintop
The end is in sight – here I come, Marcy!
Officially official. 1 summer: 46 peaks. Flooded with ecstasy and relief.
Among family and friends – there cannot be a better ending.
Celebratory sock soda while we wait for the clouds to lift.
As always, the views are worth the wait.
ADK 46-R #9706 and nearly $1000 raised for VT Adaptive Ski & Sports! Another incredible summer adventure for the books 🙂