Tabletop Mountain: High Peak Twenty-Four

High Peak 24/46

What up Road Trip Warriors!? I snagged yet another Adirondack High Peak and I am very excited to share with you all the info I could gather about this hike! I just want to note that this trail is the same one that will bring you to the split where you can hike up to Phelps Mountain. Obviously this time I chose the direction toward Indian Falls/Tabletop because that was the High Peak I wanted to summit.  It was a foggy, snow-filled day which made for some picturesque scenes in the forest. I hope this blog can shed some light on one of the more popular “trail-less” Adirondack High Peaks!

Summary of Tabletop Mountain

  • Difficulty: Moderate/Strenuous
  • Length: 5 miles to summit, 10 miles round trip
  • Elevation: 4,427′ above sea level
  • Hiking Time: 7-8 hours 
  • Elevation Gain: Approximately 2,300′ 
  • Photo Opportunities: Marcy Dam is a great spot to take some photos. The weather on this hike provided some really cool opportunities. I was able to capture the green conifers with the white, snow-covered trees behind them. Fog then made those snowy trees disappear. There is also a bridge on the way to Tabletop (not the one that gets you across Marcy Dam) that is a great spot as well.

Trailhead

The trailhead for Tabletop Mountain can be found at the Adirondack Loj. Follow Route 73 towards Lake Placid and Adirondack Loj Road will eventually be on your left. You will reach it well before reaching the ski jumps. Follow the road for about 3 miles and you will have reached the Loj. It costs $12 to park for the day. Don’t forget to sign in at the wooden structure at the trailhead! Be careful while driving down this road in the winter. I almost fish-tailed into a ditch and that prompted me to get snow tires fast!

Gearing Up

As mentioned in some prior posts, it takes a little longer to gear up for a winter hike. You should be wearing micro-spikes, gaiters, gloves/mittens, etc. You’ll also most likely have to strap your snowshoes to your backpack since they probably won’t be needed until later. All of this takes time, but it is necessary for your safety and others’ safety as well. Micro-spikes increase traction on icy trails while snowshoes prevent you from sinking into the deep snow. If you don’t wear snowshoes, and posthole into the trail, the trail then becomes less safe for others. Rangers will also ticket you if they see you without snowshoes in winter conditions…..so it is clearly in your best interest to bring a pair!

Marcy Dam (2.3 miles)

Marcy Dam is 2.3 miles from the Adirondack Loj and it is always worth the stop. This was my second time taking a pitstop here and it won’t be my last. The forest just opens up into this wide open area where streams run through where the dam washed out. With the fresh snow and thick fog, I was able to capture some really great photos here!

Green Conifers and Frozen Snowy Trees at Marcy Dam

Confiers at Marcy Dam from Tabletop Mountain Hike

At Marcy Dam take a left and follow the trail to a wooden bridge where you will be able to cross. Then take a right that will bring you back up to the other side of Marcy Dam where there is a wooden post with multiple signs. A trail register is ahead for the mountains that ascend from here. There is a split for Avalanche Pass further up the trail  on the right. Continue left towards Phelps and Tabletop.

Marcy Dam Outpost

Phelps Mountain Split (3.2 miles)

Ah, the Phelps Mountain split. If you read my last post about the Phelps Mountain hike, you’ll know that taking a left will bring you up a steep climb that does not let up until you reach the summit. The views are phenomenal though and I highly recommend.

For Tabletop, you’ll want to continue right heading towards Indian Falls and Mount Marcy. Walk down a ways and you’ll have to traverse a well-built wooden bridge over Phelps Brook.

1 mile sign to Phelps

Trail Sign to Tabletop, Indian Falls, and Mount Marcy

I just wanted to include some photos to indicate the wooden signs you should see while following the trail. The signs are hard to miss and the trail is relatively easy to follow, especially since the snow was so packed in from prior hikers. At this point the trail does steepen pretty significantly. Prepare your body to start ascending.

Trail sign to Tabletop 1

If you are hiking in the winter, make sure that you are delayering as you start to sweat. It is important to sweat as little as possible because the last thing you want is that sweat beginning to freeze.

Trail Signs to Indian Falls and Route to Tabletop Mountain

This will be the another wooden sign that you encounter as you continue towards the Tabletop herd path sign. I’m not sure how much longer that yellow sign is going to last. It looks like it has seen better days.

Sign to Indian Falls

The Herd Path to the Summit

At this wooden sign you will bear a left. This is the herd path that is “trail-less,” but it is very easy to follow. The only tough part about the trail is that it gets very narrow and it is steep in some spots. This is where having micro-spikes is a tremendous help. My brother did not have them, and well, he suffered the consequences (slipping, struggling to get up ice, etc).

I’m sure this hike isn’t nearly as difficult during the warmer seasons. Remember that I am basing this blog off of winter conditions.

Herd Path to Tabletop Sign

Summit of Tabletop Mountain

The summit of Tabletop is wooded, but there are views of the Great Range just past the summit. Unfortunately fog obscured those views and we were left with just snow-covered trees. There is a wooden sign on the summit signifying that you have reached the peak. Since it is protected from the wind, it isn’t a bad place to hang out and relish in your accomplishment!

Tabletop Summit Sign

Tabletop Mountain Summit

Getting Back to the Trailhead

Tabletop Mountain is an out-and-back hike which means backtracking will get you to the Adirondack Loj where you parked. Be careful on the descent and especially where it gets narrow. The last thing you want is to slip and fall into a tree, twist your ankle, etc. It only takes one bad fall to end up in a rough spot.

On your way back, when you reach Marcy Dam, take a right and watch for the sign that points to the left where you will recross the wooden bridge. 

Dog-Friendly

This hike is dog-friendly! I saw some dogs hiking on the trails from the Adirondack Loj. There were none doing Tabletop Mountain, but dogs are not restricted from it. All I have to say is keep an eye on your pup’s paws and how they are handling the cold temps. 

Fam-Friendly

This hike is fam-friendly, but I don’t suggest bringing any children on this trail during the winter. The difficulty increases with snow and ice. It is more tiring on the body and requires much more effort. Unless they have experience hiking mountains in these conditions, you may want to wait until the warmer weather.

Clothes/Gear Worn

  • Timberland Hiking Boots
  • Nike Compression Leggings
  • Athletic shorts
  • Adidas Joggers
  • Underarmour long-sleeve
  • Athletic T-shirt
  • Athletic Long Sleeve Pullover
  • LL Bean mid-layer jacket
  • Winter Beanie
  • EMS Hiking socks (warmest pair they make)
  • Gloves (with hand warmers in them from Stewarts)
  • Gaiters 
  • Kahtoola microspikes

Gear/Food Brought

  • 2.5L of water
  • Almonds, peanut butter granola bars, and peanut butter sandwiches
  • Extra EMS hiking socks
  • LL Bean outer-shell jacket (switched into this on summit)
  • Extra Wind-breaker jacket
  • Balaclava
  • Bandana
  • Extra shirts, compression shorts, and underarmour
  • Wind/Rain Pants
  • Emergency tents and blankets
  • Knife
  • Paracord and two carabiners
  • Water-proof matches
  • LifeStraw (water filtration, costs about $20)
  • Trekking poles
  • First-Aid Kit
  • Garmin inReach (satellite device that has a GPS, can send texts, send SOS, and has many other helpful features)

RTW Note

Thanks for reading Road Trip Warriors!! I hope you enjoyed this information on hiking Tabletop Mountain! If anyone has had any recent hikes or trips that they really enjoyed, leave a comment! I would love to see what you all have been up to! I have more photos and hikes coming your way so smash the follow button and like this post! I appreciate all the support my fellow adventurers! 

Remember to practice Leave No Trace while hiking and pick up after others. Little gestures spark larger movements and every little bit helps!

-Ant

 

Phelps Mountain: Halfway to Being a 46er

High Peak Number 23/46!

What is up Road Trip Warriors!? This past weekend on 11/16/2019, I hiked my 23rd Adirondack High Peak! I am so excited to be at the halfway point for becoming an Adirondack 46er. I started this hiking journey back in 2017 and haven’t stopped since. The best time of year to hike is now, in my opinion. Yes, it is cold and icy, but the pros outweigh the cons ten-fold. The crowds disappear, the bugs are gone, and there isn’t any mud. The snow-capped peaks and the frozen coniferous trees paint the most iconic winter scenes in New York. Here is a bunch of information and photos from this remarkable hike!

Summary of Phelps Mountain

  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Length: 4.1 miles to summit, 8.2 miles round trip
  • Elevation: 4,161′ above sea level
  • Hiking Time: 8-9 hours 
  • Elevation Gain: Approximately 2,000′ (most of the gain is in the last mile)
  • Photo Opportunities: Once you are nearing the summit of Phelps, there are plenty of openings to capture the stunning MacIntyre Range. The summit of Phelps also offers views of Mount Marcy, Mount Colden, and Mount Haystack. 

Trailhead

The trailhead for Phelps Mountain can be found at the Adirondack Loj. Follow Route 73 towards Lake Placid and Adirondack Loj Road will eventually be on your left. You will reach it well before reaching the ski jumps. Follow the road for about 3 miles and you will have reached the Loj. It costs $12 to park for the day. Don’t forget to sign in at the wooden structure at the trailhead!

Getting Ready to Begin the Hike

So it takes a little longer to get ready for a hike in snowy conditions than during the Fall or Summer. If there is over of 8 inches of snow on the ground, snowshoes are required. You’ll also want much more gear such as micro-spikes, snow pants, extra layers, gloves, etc. If you plan on hiking in winter conditions, please be prepared. I crossed paths with numerous people wearing untied timberland boots filled with snow, people wearing jeans, and other improper attire. I am not poking fun at anyone, and I think it is great that people want to get outside. Just be safe about it and have all the necessary gear to keep you warm!….Anyways…back to the hike!

You will start at the trailhead from the Loj following the blue trail-markers. Eventually you will cross a wooden bridge and continue along the relatively flat trail. The trail remains undemanding and it comes to a split after one mile. On your right, you can head towards Algonquin Peak which will also get you to Wright and Iroquois. On your left, the trail will lead to the Marcy Dam Lean-To, Avalanche Lake, and Mount Marcy. This is the trail you will want to take if you are heading to summit Phelps Mountain.

Marcy Dam Lean-To Signs

Marcy Dam (2.1 miles to Phelps)

This is a scenic spot in the Adirondacks where you’ll emerge from the forest and the mountains and wilderness surround you. I don’t know what it looks like when it isn’t frozen, but it sure did look beautiful in the snow. It is a great spot for a break and to take photos. Below you can see a picture of the dam itself.

Marcy Dam

At the dam, you will want to take a left. There is a bridge this way that will get you across the water and to the sign on the opposite side of the dam. Take notice at this sign that you are only 2.1 miles from summiting Phelps Mountain! The trail remains rather undemanding between here and the next sign.

Marcy Dam Outpost

Break at the One Mile Sign to Phelps

I HIGHLY suggest taking a stop at this sign to hydrate and eat some food. You’re going to need the energy boost. Most of the elevation gain of this hike is in the last mile. It is very steep, and during mid-November, the trail is a mix of snow and ice.

1 mile sign to Phelps

It took about an hour and fifteen minutes of climbing to get to that first opening where the views of the Adirondack High Peaks opened up. It was more than worth it.

First Opening for a View

The view you get once you break tree-line while climbing Phelps is spectacular. You are rewarded for the hard work you put in while climbing up the last mile of the trail with commanding views of the MacIntyre Range. This time of year, when the mountains are draped in white blankets of snow, are the most picturesque. Here is the view of the MacIntyre Range.

MacIntyre Range

Summit of Phelps

The summit of Phelps Mountain is not a 360º view, BUT it offers a large open area where you’ll be able to view Mount Colden, Marcy, Haystack, and still have sight of the MacIntyre Range! I could have spent hours here taking pictures and taking in the Adirondack scenery. My brother and I ate Stewart’s peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on the summit while taking hundreds of photographs and numerous videos. 

View from Summit of Phelps

Getting Back to the Trailhead

Getting back to the Adirondack Loj from Phelps Mountain is self-explanatory. You will just backtrack the same way that you went when hiking up to the summit. When you reach Marcy Dam, take a right and watch for the sign that points to the left where you will recross the wooden bridge. 

Dog-Friendly

Despite the snow and the cold temperatures, I did see some snow pups hiking with their humans! One was a Siberian Husky with beautiful blue eyes and another was a fluffy golden retriever with orange booties on his paws! Obviously you know your dog(s) best, but just a friendly reminder to make sure they are comfortable in the snow and chillier weather! 

Fam-Friendly

I crossed paths with a few youngsters on this trail. I didn’t see any going up or down Phelps Mountain though. This trail, minus the last mile up to the summit, was relatively undemanding. I would say that most individuals could handle this trail. If you plan on doing it in the ice and snow, just make sure you dress appropriately and have the proper gear in your bag.

Clothes/Gear Worn

  • Timberland Hiking Boots
  • Nike Compression Leggings
  • Athletic shorts
  • Adidas Joggers
  • Underarmour long-sleeve
  • Athletic T-shirt
  • Athletic Long Sleeve Pullover
  • LL Bean mid-layer jacket
  • Winter Beanie
  • EMS Hiking socks (warmest pair they make)
  • Gloves (with hand warmers in them from Stewarts)
  • Gaiters 
  • Kahtoola microspikes

Gear/Food Brought

  • 2.5L of water
  • Almonds, peanut butter granola bars, and peanut butter sandwiches
  • Extra hiking socks
  • LL Bean outer-shell jacket
  • Extra Wind-breaker jacket
  • Balaclava
  • Bandana
  • Extra shirts, compression shorts, and underarmour
  • Wind/Rain Pants
  • Emergency tents and blankets
  • Knife
  • Paracord and two carabiners
  • Water-proof matches
  • LifeStraw (water filtration, costs about $20)
  • Trekking poles
  • First-Aid Kit
  • Garmin inReach (satellite device that has a GPS, can send texts, send SOS, and has many other helpful features)

RTW Note

Hey guys, gals, and fellow Road Trip Warriors! I hope you enjoyed this post and found it helpful if you were planning to hike Phelps Mountain! I have twenty-three more Adirondack High Peaks to go so there will be plenty more posts about those trails and summits! Anyways….SMASH that like button, leave a comment to reach out, and subscribe to the most fun and informative outdoor blog that there is in the Northeast! I look forward to sharing more! 

-Ant

 

Panther Peak: A Long, MUDDY Hike

Adirondack High Peak 22/46

What up Road Trip Warriors!? I just snagged my 22nd High Peak, leaving 24 left to complete. Panther Peak was easily the muddiest Adirondack High Peak I have hiked. It is extremely remote, and a long hike to reach the summit which offers very little views. Here is all the info I gathered from hiking Panther Peak!

Summary of Panther Peak

  • Difficulty: Strenuous (I do not recommend to inexperienced hikers or if you are out of shape)
  • Length: 12.5 miles round trip according to pureadirondacks.com
  • Elevation: 4,442′ above sea level
  • Hiking Time: It took about four hours and twenty minutes to reach the summit from the trailhead. We took occasional water breaks, but not too many. It is a long hike no matter the amount of rests you take. We hung out on the summit for a bit before heading down. It took us about three-and-a-half hours to get back to the trailhead. We started at 8:30 AM and made it back to the car by 5:00 PM
  • Elevation Gain: 3,762′ according to pureadirondacks.com 
  • Photo Opportunities: Before Bradley Pond, as you’re making a gradual ascent, you’ll find a beautiful, long waterfall on your left. It is hard to miss. Step out near the water to get some pictures. Up a little further is another spot to step out into the opening where the water is cascading down the rocks. You’ll see some mountains in the clearing. 

Trailhead

Take I-87N and get off at exit 29 towards Newcomb. If you are heading north, after getting off the exit, take a left on Blue Ridge Road and stay on the road for about 18 miles.  You’ll eventually see a sign that is for Tahawus. Take a right here and follow the Tahawus Road for a few miles. You’ll eventually come across a road on your left, and the parking lot for the Santonini Range trailhead will be on your immediate right. Here is a picture of the parking lot below along with the trailhead register. I apologize for the lighting, took a quick shot on my iPhone without looking at it.

Santonini Range - Trailhead Parking Lot

Santonini Range - Trail Register and gravel road into woods

Starting the Hike

After signing in at the trail register in the photo above, you’re going to follow the non-vehicular gravel road for what it seems to be two miles. It is definitely longer than a mile-and-a-half. As you’re walking it, you’ll eventually reach a pond on your left, with the road blown out in front of you. There is a large metal pipe. You’ll cross this obstacle and continue on the road until you reach a sign with a blue marker. This will be where you depart from the gravel road and head onto the trail in the woods. Below is a photo of the signs you’ll see when it is time to turn for the trail in the woods.

Panther Peak - Blue Signs to to get off gravel road

Following the Blue Markers

I know on many websites it is mentioned that the Santonini Range is an unmarked trail, and it is….for the most part. The trail is actually well-marked with blue markers (the same marker under the arrow sign above) until you reach Bradley Pond. There is a classic Adirondack wooden bridge you will cross over a stream. We stopped here to take some videos and pictures.

Panther Peak -Bridge Across Stream

A Lovely, Long Waterfall

As you continue the gradual climb along the trail, you will hear running water along the left-side of the trail. Eventually there will be a couple openings where you can walk out to view water cascading down the rocks. It is a long waterfall and the perfect place to rest, hydrate, and eat. At the bottom of the falling waters is a natural pool that looks quite enticing.

Waterfall Before Bradley Pond

Waterfall Before Bradley pond #2

Bradley Pond and Sign to Times Square

After hiking for some time, you’ll see Bradley Pond through the woods. Continue following the trail around it. You’ll never get that close to the pond if you stay on the trail. Eventually you will reach the sign in the photo below. After reaching this sign, the trail does become an unmarked herd path. Despite this, it is pretty well-blazed and easy to follow after other hikers have used it all summer.

If you’d like to camp out (which is definitely a huge help in tagging these three High Peaks), there are campsites near Bradley Pond. We did not do this and only made it to the summit of Panther Peak. Obviously, the choice to camp out is yours to make.

Santonini Range - Herd Path to Times Square Sign

Crossing the Bog and Following the Unmarked Herd Path

There is really no way to avoid the bog. You have to cross it, and there is an ideal spot to cross! Look across the bog and you should see a stump that has a blue marker stuck into it. Around that area is where you’ll want to cross. A picture of the stump and blue marker can be seen below.

Blue marker in stump

Keep Pushing, Following the Trail Along Panther Brook

The hike from here gets pretty tough. It steepens, gets more muddy, and does not let up. Take water breaks if needed, and more importantly, watch your footing. You’re deep in the Adirondacks at this point and twisting an ankle would not be ideal. 

Eventually you’ll end up hiking up, on, and along Panther Brook. There are a lot of tree roots and wet rocks here so take caution. Around this point your legs might be pretty tired. It will seem like forever, and I don’t remember the exact mileage, but you’ll hit a junction (in the image below). At this junction you’ll see carvings in the trees. The “P” with the arrow pointing to the right (you’ll see it in the photo) will take you to Panther Peak. The “C” and “S” will take you in the direction of Couchsachraga and Santonini. We took a right for Panther Peak.

Panther Peak Junction

Panther Peak Summit

After taking a right, it is about .4 miles to Panther’s summit. It gets excessively muddy along this short section of the hike, and the mud is quite deep. I didn’t use my gaiters, but they would have probably been helpful. Just before the summit, you’ll reach an open rock face with the only real views you get on Panther. The actual summit is wooded. Unfortunately for us, it was so overcast that you could not see anything. Therefore, I have no photos what the view would have been. 

You’ll know when you hit the summit because there is a wooden sign with “Panther Peak” on it as well as a summit marker. You can see photos of both below.

Panther Peak Sign

Panther Peak Summit Marker

Getting Back to the Trailhead

From Panther, head back to where the trail split where the trees had the letters carved into them. Once you get here, it’s just following your footsteps down the same way you climbed up. This has already been mentioned, but since this part of the hike is unmarked, just keep your eyes open and make sure you stay on the herd path.

On the way down the clouds dissipated and we were rewarded with the view below.

Views on Panther Peak Descent

Dog-Friendly

Panther Peak is dog friendly. I saw a couple scruffy companions while I was out in this neck of the woods. Just beware the length of this hike. If your dog isn’t fit or you’re questioning its capabilities, I don’t suggest bringing them along on this hike. If you do, there is a lot of running water along the trail for water if needed and bring enough food for them for this strenuous hike. 

Fam-Friendly

This hike is NOT family-friendly. It is one of the more difficult hikes I have done in the Adirondack High Peaks due to its length, ascent, and terrain. Panther Peak is also not a rewarding High Peak as it offers very little views for the amount of sweat equity put into the hike. If your goal is to become an Adirondack 46er, or you just like difficult hikes, this one is for you.

Clothes Worn

  • Timberland Boots
  • Nike Compression Leggings
  • Athletic shorts
  • Adidas Joggers
  • Athletic T-shirt
  • Athletic Long Sleeve Pullover
  • Patagonia Hat
  • Hiking socks

Gear Brought

  • 3L of water
  • Almonds and peanut butter sandwiches
  • Extra hiking socks
  • Extra shirt and shorts
  • Gaiters
  • Wind Pants
  • Emergency tents and blankets
  • Bug Spray
  • Knife
  • Paracord and two carabiners
  • Water-proof matches
  • LifeStraw (water filtration, costs about $20)
  • Trekking poles
  • First-Aid Kit
  • Garmin inReach (satellite device that has a GPS, can send texts, send SOS, and has many other helpful features)

RTW Note

Thanks for checking out this post about Panther Peak! I hope that those looking to hike this difficult Adirondack High Peak found the information and pictures helpful! I’m not trying to deter anyone from hiking this mountain. I just wanted to emphasize that it is a hike not for the faint of heart, and it is a very remote mountain. On a Sunday I didn’t see many people attempting this peak which is rare around this time in the Adirondacks.

If you do want to attempt Panther Peak, just make sure you are carrying all the essentials and know what you are getting yourself into! If you enjoyed this post, hit the like and show some support by hitting the follow button! Leave a comment as well if you have any questions or input! Thank you for the continued support and interest, I appreciate it!

-Ant

 

Esther Mountain Hike!!

Adirondack High Peak: 21/46

What up Road Trip Warriors! This past Saturday (1/5/19), my brother and I hiked Esther Mountain in the Adirondacks! It is one of the High Peaks of the Adirondacks and I am very excited to share info and pictures from this beautiful hike! This post is going to be relatively short because most of this trail follows the Whiteface hiking trail. You can read about the majority of this trail by clicking here.

Short Summary of Esther Mountain

  • Difficulty (with snow): I would rate this hike as moderate. Hiking in the snow makes the trek a little more cumbersome, but I do not believe most hikers would have any issue with this trail. I was informed that we still should have had snowshoes on us. That being said, snowshoes are an important item to have with you when hiking. It prevents post-holing the trail, protects yourself from injury, and   protects the trail for others’ use.
  • Length: Roughly 9.4 miles round trip.
  • Elevation: 4,240′. The summit is rather anticlimactic as it is surrounded by trees. It does offer a nice view of Whiteface Mountain.
  • Hiking time (with snow): Including all of our pitstops to hydrate and take photos, it took us about 3 hours and 15 minutes to summit Esther Mountain. It took us roughly 2 hours to get back to the car at the Wilmington Atmospheric Research Center.
  • Photo opportunities: There is a cool spot on top of Marble Mountain where you can take photos. There is a large cement footer on top of this mountain as it used to be a ski mountain. The snow makes the trees look picturesque, so anywhere along the trail during the winter could prove to be a beautiful picture. Lastly, the summit of Esther Mountain offers some great views of its neighbor, Whiteface Mountain.

Photos From The Hike

Since most of the hike is detailed in the Whiteface Mountain post, I figured I would share some of the photos from this hike. Sometimes during the winter you end up really lucky. What I mean by this is that every once in awhile, the weather cooperates, the temps are tolerable, and the sky is blue. That was the type of day we had on 1/5/19.

blue sky and clouds whiteface mountain photo

edited whiteface mountain photo

frozen trees, esther mountain hike

looking at whiteface mountain

whiteface mountain through the trees

Dog-Friendly

This hike is friendly for our dog friends! I did not come across any spot on this trail a dog would have an issue with.

Family-Friendly

I would say that this hike is family-friendly, especially during the spring, summer, and fall. During the winter, hiking in the cold temps can be tough on children and inexperienced family members. I would personally wait to bring children or amateur hikers until it is warmer out or after they gain experience. It is only 7.8 miles round trip to Whiteface, but the cold weather can be brutal. You can also drive the family up to the summit when the road is open!

Clothes Worn

  • Timberland Boots
  • Nike Compression Leggings
  • Long-johns
  • Athletic shorts
  • Adidas joggers 
  • Athletic T-shirt
  • Athletic long sleeve top
  • LL Bean Jacket (rated for -20º F)
  • Beanie
  • Ushanka hat
  • Gloves

Gear Brought

  • 3L of water
  • Almonds and peanut butter sandwiches
  • Wind/Rain pants
  • Extra layers (UnderArmour)
  • Extra hiking socks
  • Knife
  • Paracord and two carabiners
  • Water-proof matches
  • LifeStraw (water filtration, costs about $20)
  • Adhesive body warmer
  • Hand Warmers
  • Balaclava
  • Trekking poles (A MUST => weight off knees, helpful when dealing with ice)
  • First-Aid Kit
  • Garmin inReach (satellite device that has a GPS, can send texts, send SOS, and has many other helpful features)

RTW Note

I hope you enjoyed this post and these photos my Road Trip Warrior pals! I have so much planned for 2019 and I look forward to sharing it with you all. If you liked this post, hit the like and follow buttons and leave a comment! There will be many more mountain photos and info to come throughout this year!

-Ant 

 

 

Whiteface Mountain: A Frozen Bandana and Snowy Wipeouts

A High Peak Blanketed in Snow

What is going on Road Trip Warriors!? I apologize for the delay. Unfortunately I was caught up in the Thanksgiving activities and busy with schoolwork! Anyway, last weekend on 11/18/2018, my friend Sleezer and I hiked up Whiteface Mountain. It is located in Wilmington, NY and it has been a hike that we have both wanted to do for awhile. Its not a long hike, but we had seen pictures of the vantage points from the summit and it looked amazing.

I am so glad we waited until this mountain was covered in snow. It was some of the most breath-taking scenery I had seen in quite some time. The snow had accumulated on every tree, fallen log, and boulder. It remained untouched and we were lucky enough to hike through it. I am excited to share this little excursion with you all!

Short Summary of Whiteface Mountain

  • Difficulty (With Snow): Moderate, the cold was probably the toughest factor coming into play
  • Length: 9.3 miles round trip
  • Elevation: 4867′ above sea level
  • Hiking Time (with snow): It took us 4 hours to summit from the trailhead. Mind you, we had to take time to delayer and relayer. When hiking in the cold and snow, it is extremely important to minimize sweating. It took us an hour-and-a-half to get back to the car. We sort of jogged down the mountain because we could wipe out in the powder. Take as much time as you need as safety is of utmost importance.
  • Photo Opportunities: When the snow is fresh and untouched, almost anywhere on the trail is a great photo spot. The white powder on the trees makes for a great backdrop.

Start of The Trek

You’ll start this hike off the Atmospheric Science Research Center Road in Wilmington, NY. The road is a roundabout. Drive around it and you will see a sign that points you towards the hiker parking. The trail starts right next to the parking lot and take note that the trail is not labeled with a DEC sign.

Right off the bat, the trail is steep and it is a long haul up Marble Mountain. This section of the hike used to be a ski slope. There is one spot where you will find to see an old cement footer.

First Intersection

At the top of Marble Mountain, you will find an intersection. You will want to continue right. From this point on, the trail got more beautiful. The snow had accumulated on the trees and the sunlight seemed to make it glow. There were almost no clouds and it was the perfect day for a snowy hike.

Walking in Snowy Trees on Whiteface

Trekking Further Through the Snow and The Esther Intersection

You will continue making your way along this trail through the woods and eventually reach a second intersection. There is a wooden sign that points you in the direction of the Esther herd path if you so choose to do this Adirondack High Peak. Whiteface and Esther can easily be combined, but we did not have the time and continued onwards to Whiteface.

Esther Sign

Keep on moving forward and shortly after this sign, you will end up at an area where there is a ski lift. The way the sun was shining, it made a gorgeous ring and I did my best to capture its beauty.

Whiteface Ski Lift

Continuing the Ascent!

We probably could have gotten closer to the ski lift and explored, but the summit was awaiting. I encourage anyone that hikes to take time to explore this spot. You will follow the trail back into the woods and continue to climb gradually. Soon enough, you will be by the road that cars can drive to the summit. There is one spot here that was a little difficult to get up with the ice. So if you go anytime this winter, be careful.

You have broken tree-line at this point, and the vantage point you are rewarded with is ridiculous.

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Hiking up Whiteface

The Observatory is In Your Line of Sight!

At this point, you will climb along the ridge towards the Whiteface Summit and observatory. You will be able to look down and see the skiers gliding down the mountain (if you do this during ski season). This is what you will see in front of you…

Whiteface Observatory

The Summit of Whiteface Mountain

First, I want to say that this was the coldest summit I have ever been on. There was no windchill. It was just dry, bone-chilling cold. Sleezer and I were well-dressed for the weather, but let me put this into perspective. My bandana froze solid in minutes from the moisture from my breath, my water bottles that were outside of my bag froze very quickly, and the cuffs of my pants froze to my boots (I forgot to bring my gaiters). When taking pictures with my phone, it was so cold that it would take the phone a couple of seconds to process the photo. So, with that being said, be extremely careful when you plan to be in these sort of conditions and dress accordingly!

Back to the summit….The summit of Whiteface Mountain offers beautiful 360º views of the Adirondacks. It has an observatory at the summit with plenty of areas to walk around. There are railings, binoculars, etc. At this point in the season, the observatory was closed so we were outside of it. We were able to take some awesome photos at the summit of this beautiful mountain.

Whiteface Sign

Whiteface view with lake as backdrop

Back to The Car

I do not think it is necessary to dive too deep into an explanation here. The trail is an out-and-back so just go back the way you came to get to the parking lot.

Dog-Friendly

This hike is friendly for our four-legged adventure pups! I actually saw one on the trail that seemed more than happy to be out in the snow! There really was not any spot on this trail a dog would have issue with. There were no ladders, really steep rock faces, etc.

Family-Friendly

I would say that this hike is family-friendly, but not in this weather. I would personally wait to bring children or amateur hikers until it is warmer out or they are more experienced. It is only 9.3 miles round trip to Whiteface, but the cold weather can be brutal. You can also drive the family up to the summit when the road is open!

Clothes Worn

  • Timberland Boots
  • Nike Compression Leggings
  • Long-johns
  • Athletic shorts
  • Adidas joggers (I am getting a pair of moisture resistant hiking pants for next time)
  • Athletic T-shirt
  • Athletic long sleeve top
  • LL Bean Jacket (rated for -20º F)
  • Beanie
  • Ushanka hat
  • Gloves

Gear Brought

  • 3L of water
  • Almonds and peanut butter sandwiches
  • Wind/Rain pants
  • Extra layers (UnderArmour)
  • Extra hiking socks
  • Knife
  • Paracord and two carabiners
  • Water-proof matches
  • LifeStraw (water filtration, costs about $20)
  • Adhesive body warmer
  • Balaclava
  • Trekking poles (A MUST => weight off knees, helpful when dealing with ice)
  • First-Aid Kit

RTW Note

I typically include pictures of a map for when I hike in the Adirondacks, but the sources on the Internet for this one are more than sufficient. It is a relatively straightforward trail, but always be aware of your surroundings. Thank you again to all of you that read my blog posts. I try to offer as much insight as possible. I hope you enjoyed the photos and find some of this information helpful.

No matter what season you decide to hike in, whether it be a hot summer day or a cold snowy day like this was, make sure you are prepared. That means physically, mentally, and you have enough gear with you to last a full night. Even if it is a hike you have completed before….it does not matter. Things can always turn sour and it is best to be prepared for the worst!

If you have any comments or suggestions, feel free to drop them in the comments section. I answer every single one. If you found this post helpful, feel free to share it or reblog it. Lastly, don’t forget to tap the like button and follow me on here or Twitter for more adventure pics and hiking tips. Happy adventuring fellow warriors! 

-Ant

 

 

 

 

Sawteeth Mountain In The ADKS: Trekking Through a Snowstorm

Sawteeth Mountain Via The Scenic Route

What’s happening Road Trip Warriors!? This past Sunday (10/21/18), we took on Sawteeth Mountain in the Adirondacks. It was a cold one and it ended up being pretty snowy and windy! Fortunately, being the warriors that we are, Alex, Sleezer, and I (my brother and best-bud) were well-prepared for the adverse weather! The snow was beautiful and the views of Lower Ausable Lake from the outlooks along the trail were mesmerizing. Let’s dive into this Adirondack High Peak hike!

Short Summary of Sawteeth Mountain

  • Difficulty: Strenuous
  • Length: Roughly 13.1 Miles
  • Outlooks: There are six outlooks along the scenic route offering beautiful vantage points of Lower Ausable Lake
  • Sawteeth Summit (4,110′): The summit is wooded, but still offers a great view of Gothics in the near distance
  • Rainbow Falls: Near 150 foot waterfall

Lake Road

Once parked in the Ausable parking lot, walk the half-mile up to the Ausable Club and take a left in-between the two tennis courts. You will sign in and walk past the wooden AMR gate. For this hike, you will walk the whole length of the road which is roughly 4 miles. Make the most of the trek up the road. It can seem long, but find a way to enjoy it by sharing stories, taking pictures, etc. I was able to get some great photos while on the road. (Note: this photo was taken at the end of the hike, heading back to the parking lot)

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End Of Lake Road

Once you hit the end of Lake Road, you’ll head towards the gravel/dirt road on your right that descends towards a long wooden bridge.

Once across this bridge, walk up to the concrete wall just before Lower Ausable Lake to take in the views. When we hit this area, some snowflakes started to fall. It was not supposed to snow, but we brought snow gear anyway. Remembering to be prepared for anything is important. Below is the view once crossing the bridge.

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Sawteeth Via The Scenic Route (2.9 miles to summit)

After spending some time putting on warmer clothing, we took a left in the direction the sign pointed us for Sawteeth Mountain via the scenic route.

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This is my opinion based off of what we did, but I suggest taking the scenic route to the summit. There are six outlooks along the way and they make for great places to take photos and recoup. You will be following yellow trail markers on this path.

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Initially, this trail will bring you along the edge of the Lower Ausable Lake. While you make your way, you will gain sight of the cliffs that tower above the lake. Watch your step when on the perimeter of the lake. The last thing that you want to do is soak your foot.

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As you make your way up in elevation and into the woods, be sure to keep your eye out for those yellow trail markers. We initially had trouble spotting one or two of them and it took us a few minutes to find the trail. This is also because many leaves had fallen over the trail in this area. I am sure that during the summer (or winter when someone has already blazed a path through the snow) the trail is much easier to follow.

While on this hike, take notice to the green “Outlook” signs. They provide great vantage points of Lower Ausable Lake. One in particular that was our favorite was the first outlook. We took a majority of our pictures at this spot.

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The trail after this was self-explanatory as the leaves were not nearly as prevalent. Keep moving forward and stop at the indicated outlooks. Eventually, you will hit a ladder. These are always fun, just be careful not to slip if the rungs are wet/icy. Also, the wires that tie off these ladders are sometimes difficult to see after climbing them. Make sure that you watch your step to avoid tripping.

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Keep making your way along the trail and you will eventually hit a green sign right in front of you that says “Marble <- Point.” To continue to Sawteeth Mountain, you are going to want to take a right.

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Shortly after taking this right, you will see a sign that says “Cougar’s Gulch.” Be careful on this part of the hike as there is a little bit of rock climbing that will require your hands. My brother almost slipped here and had a mini heart-attack. Once I saw that he was okay I laughed hysterically, but please be careful!!

Within the next hour or so of hiking, you’re likely to hit a sign that will boost your morale. It notifies you and your group (if you are with a group) that the summit of Sawteeth is a 0.1 miles away. This should take you about four to five minutes depending on your pace.

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Summit of Sawteeth Mountain (4,110′)

I had read that the summit of Sawteeth was wooded and the view would not be that spectacular. I was glad that a majority of what I read was wrong. Whilst on this summit, Gothics Mountain towers above in the near distance.

This summit is not that large, but we had it to ourselves which was great. Not many other people are willing to hike 6.9 miles through wind and snow, but we’ve always been a group known for our commitment. We hung out for fifteen minutes or so to snack, rehydrate, and take some pictures. Also, there is a sign on the summit of this mountain that states how far it is to get back to the St. Hubert’s parking area. If you head back down the scenic route, it will be 6.9 more miles. If you continue forward, it will be 6.1 miles.

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This shot of Gothics was taken just past the summit of Sawteeth Mountain

The Descent Down to Rainbow Falls

Around this time of year (Late October to mid April), it will be icy once you’re up in the mountain ranges. This was the case for our hike down. Most of the large rocks had become covered in an inch or more of slippery ice. Take your time and watch your footing so you do not get hurt. Crampons or ice spikes would have been helpful in this scenario.

After gaining some distance, you will hit a sign pointing you in the direction of St. Hubert’s parking area. I apologize for not having a high-quality photo of the sign. Take notice that at this point, you will be following blue trail markers on your way down like the one on the sign.

Keep following the blue trail markers and after about roughly an hour of hiking, you will hit my favorite sign in the Adirondacks. It is a cliff that overlooks Rainbow Falls that has a hand-built railing.

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Please do be careful here as the drop-off from this cliff is very steep and falling would most likely result in…well…you know.

Hike ten more minutes down the trail and you will reach the sign that will point you in the direction of Rainbow Falls. It is about a five minute walk to the falls from this sign and I highly recommend visiting it. The waterfall is nearly 150 feet tall and it truly is amazing.

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Rainbow Falls

Rainbow Falls is roughly 150 feet tall and is one of the coolest waterfalls I have seen to date. In all honesty, and this is my opinion, I liked it more than Niagara Falls just because it is not in a developed environment and not commercialized.

Also, if you would like to just walk to this waterfall, it is a very short walk from that bridge mentioned earlier in this post. It would not be anything too strenuous besides walking the entirety of Lake Road and a little bit of distance in the woods.

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Back to St. Hubert’s Parking Area

At this point, it is very easy to get back to the lot. You will walk back to the Rainbow Falls sign shown above and it shouldn’t take you more than ten to fifteen minutes to emerge from the trail to the bridge. At this point, you will just have the 4 – 4.5 mile walk down Lake Road back to your vehicle.

Dog-Friendly

Dogs are absolutely PROHIBITED on the AMR property. I do not want to see anyone getting in trouble for having their furry friends with them. There are many other trailheads in the Adirondacks where you could bring your pal and have a great time.

Fam-Friendly

I would say that this is not a hike that is entirely family-friendly. The distance of 13.1 miles alone would be difficult for young ones and out-of-shape hikers. There are also some spots that will involve having to do a little climbing with your hands. However, if you want to bring the fam to Rainbow Falls, it would be about 8 miles total and the entire trek would be relatively flat terrain.

Clothes Worn

  • Timberland Boots
  • Nike Compression Shorts
  • Long-johns
  • Adidas Sweatpants (joggers)
  • Adidas T-shirt
  • LL Bean Jacket
  • Beanie
  • Ushanka hat
  • Gloves

Gear Brought

  • 3L of water
  • Granola bars, trail mix, peanut butter sandwiches
  • Wind/Rain pants
  • Extra layers (UnderArmour)
  • Extra hiking socks
  • Knife
  • Paracord and two carabiners
  • Water-proof matches
  • LifeStraw (water filtration, costs about $20)
  • Adhesive body warmer
  • Balaclava
  • Trekking poles (A MUST => weight off knees, helpful when dealing with ice)
  • First-Aid Kit

Map

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RTW Note

My Road Trip Warriors. This was a great adventure and I highly recommend it. The views of the mountains, trees, and waterfalls are what make hiking one of the best activities out there. This Adirondack High Peak was number 19/46 for me and I look forward to completing and writing about more. I wish you all the best, and remember to leave no trace! Keep on adventuring!

Sidenote: I always mention Sleezer and Alex, but I have not included a decent photo of them. I feel that it is important that my audience knows the people I adventure with. The Dirty Sleez is on the left and Brother Alex is on the right.

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Gothics, Armstong, Upper Wolfjaw, Lower Wolfjaw: Four More High Peaks!!!!

*Note*

From now on I am going to try and be even more detailed in regard to the hikes/trips that I take on with my pals. I want to offer as much information as possible so people feel better prepared if they head onto any of these trails. On the bottom of each post, there will be tips for each specific trail, a picture of the trail on a map (with our route highlighted), if a hike is dog-friendly, and if it is family-friendly. As usual, I will include the time it took for the hike in its entirety as well as how long it took to get from peak to peak if we bagged more than one mountain. I will also be updating my previous posts in the near future to include said information. If anyone has any other info they think I should add, don’t hesitate to offer your input.

We Bagged Four More High Peaks Baby!!

What is good my Road Trip Warriors!?!? This past Saturday (9/29/18) my brother and I headed back into the Adirondacks to take on some more mountains. The four peaks we were after were Gothics Mountain, Armstrong, Upper Wolfjaw, and Lower Wolfjaw. It was an amazing day and the weather could not have been more perfect at a cool 59º. We hopped out of the car at 6:30AM and did not get back until 12 hours later. That being said….I clearly have a lot to talk about! I am excited to share information and photos with you from these four lovely mountains!

6:30AM at the St. Huberts Parking Area

My bro and I hit the St. Hubert’s parking area at 6:30 in the morning when the sun was just starting to rise above the mountains. The parking lot was already three quarters full at this point. I assumed it would be as the weather was supposed to be perfect and the fall foliage in the Adirondacks is to die for. The colors that you’re able to witness when you climb these mountains in the fall is absolutely stunning. We watched other individuals getting themselves ready for their treks as we did the same. We put any remaining items that we would need in our bags and made our way.

After parking in the lot, you’ll head up the dirt road for about a half-mile. Once you hit the tennis courts, you take a left in between them and walk down the road for a short while. Eventually, you will hit the small building with the sign-in sheet just outside of it. Don’t forget to sign in and leave your information!

Down Lake Road Way & Beginning of the Trail

After signing in, you’ll walk down Lake Road Way for two miles. Just after the little green two mile marker on a tree, you’ll see the sign where you’ll take a right into the woods to head towards Beaver Meadow Falls and Gothics.

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Sign you’ll see 2 miles down Lake Road Way

After hiking through the woods for 0.5 – 0.6 miles, you’ll reach another sign. This sign points you in the direction of Beaver Meadow Falls as well as Gothics. You’ll drop down to cross Beaver Meadow Bridge and at this point you’ll be very close to Beaver Meadow Falls.

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Beaver Meadow Falls!

Continue on the trail for another 5-10 minutes and you will find yourself at the bottom of Beaver Meadow Falls. My brother and I got here around 7:45AM (roughly an hour and twenty minutes after leaving the car). The waterfall here is amazing and if you hit it at the right time, the sun hitting the mist will create a gorgeous rainbow. My brother and I stopped here for about a half-hour to admire the falls, eat some food, and take tons of photographs/videos of the falls.

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Hop back on the trail and near Beaver Falls, you will find this sign pointing you in the direction of Gothics and Armstrong.

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Following the Trail

This trail has numerous ladders along with some steps and they start right after leaving Beaver Meadow Falls.

Take notice that you will be following blue trail markers like this one below.

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This trail is well-marked with these blue markers as you continue to ascend towards Gothics. The signs are hard to miss and I took pictures of each one we came across to make sure this post was explicitly detailed.

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Another sign you’ll come across while on the Beaver Meadow Trail towards Gothics

The trail continues to steepen and it does not let up. There aren’t many spots that flatten out on the way to Gothics so be prepared for a leg workout. Eventually, you’ll reach an opening and this is where my brother and I stopped to rehydrate. The opening does not offer many views. It looks more like an open slide caused by erosion.

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Ladders, Ladders, Ladders

As you continue to finesse this trail like a Road Trip Warrior would, you’ll come across a few ladders. None of them are too difficult, and I find them fun to climb up and down. Here are some photos of said ladders.

While you’re having fun going down these ladders, take a look out to admire some of the views. At this point, you’ll be able to see Gothics. We were also able to take in some fall colors.

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Gothics

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Last Sign Before Gothics and Summit of Gothics

You’re going to reach a sign in which you can take a left and continue to Gothics, or take a right and head towards Armstrong. We took a left to head towards Gothics Mountain. It is only 0.4 miles away and it should not take more than 20-30 minutes to hit the summit. Gothics is number 10 of the Adirondack 46er’s sitting at an elevation of 4,736′. It boasts some amazing 360º views and you’ll be able to see many other High Peaks such as Giant, Whiteface, Armstrong, Sawteeth, etc. If you take off the 30 minutes that we spent at Beaver Meadow Falls, it took us roughly 4 hours to reach the summit of Gothics. This can take more or less time depending on your fitness as well as how much you want to push yourself. We had all day so we were in no rush.

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Summit of Gothics Mountain

Next: Armstrong Mountain

To reach Armstrong Mountain, you’ll head back down Gothics the way you came until you reach that sign pictured above. If you want to continue, Armstrong is only another 0.4 miles away as the sign indicates. Take notice that the trail signs have turned yellow once you head this way. Another important note is that the trail is very muddy from here on out. I did not use gaiters, but it would probably be helpful to have them. We were careful where we stepped so we didn’t bury our boots.

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Summit of Armstrong

We hit the summit of Armstrong Mountain at about 12:30PM. This was about an hour after we left Gothics. The summit of this mountain does not have a marker, but you’ll know you hit it when you reach the lookout on a large rock. You’ll be rewarded with views of Gothics as well as other mountains in the area. It is a nice place to stop and rest before heading towards the Wolfjaws if they are on your itinerary. Armstrong sits at 4,410′ and is number 22 on the list of ADK 46ers.

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Gothics is in the upper left

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Some beautiful fall foliage

Moving Towards Upper Wolfjaw Mountain

Trekking from Armstrong Mountain to Upper Wolfjaw is rough. It is muddy for a majority of the way there, you’ll descend steeply into a col, and then have to ascend again to reach the peak. We left Armstrong at roughly 12:50PM. The trail is roughly a mile to Upper Wolfjaw, and there is a one ladder you will have to descend. There is also one sign you will encounter very close to the summit of UWJ.

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Summit of Upper Wolfjaw

The summit of this High Peak is not as admirable as the two mountains before this, but it still offers a decent view. We hit the summit at 1:50PM which was about an hour after leaving Armstrong. This peak sits at 4,203′ and is number 29 on the list of Adirondack 46ers.

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View from summit of UWJ

Onward to the Last High Peak of the Day

We left UWJ at 2:00 PM and started heading towards Lower Wolfjaw. We were unsure about doing this mountain because the weather was looking iffy and I had known the views of this High Peak are subpar. The sun decided to come back out and we thought it be best to tag this peak while we were in the mountains.

LWJ is about 1.4 miles away on the trail from UWJ. You’ll encounter three signs as you make your way to this High Peak. These signs can be seen below.

Lower Wolfjaw Mountain

The summit of this ADK High Peak has limited views, but its completion is necessary if you wish to be a 46er. The peak sits at 4,175′ and is number 30 on the list of High Peaks. There is no marker for LWJ, but you’ll know when you get there. There is a large rock you can stand on to look over the trees/vegetation to get some half-decent views. I personally did not think the sights were as limited as I have heard from others. It was 3:40PM when we hit this last summit of the day, roughly an hour and a half after leaving UWJ.

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View from summit of Lower Wolfjaw Mountain

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Getting Back to St. Hubert’s Parking Area

The trail does continue from the summit of Lower Wolfjaw back to St. Hubert’s and as the sign states, it is about 5.1 miles away. We left the summit around 3:55PM.

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Follow the trail for 1.5 miles and you’ll reach your second sign. In-between these two signs, you’ll be dealing with some ascending with your descent so don’t be alarmed when you find yourself climbing. My brother started to wig out because we had to go up to go down and was worried that it was the wrong way. Also, the trail down has some steep sections so take caution. Once you hit the second sign, it is 3.6 miles to the St. Hubert’s parking area and you’ll be following red trail markers.

After following the red trail markers for 2 miles you’ll hit another sign that will be a morale boost. It informs you that you’re only 1.6 miles away from your vehicle.

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In between this sign and the trailhead you emerge from you will encounter one more sign, two bridges (one over running water that I do not have pictured), and finally, the sign-in sheet area.

We hit the sign-in sheet at 6:30PM. Our entire day was around twelve hours, but you could cut a few hours off of that if you make haste. My brother is a slower hiker than me and he also tweaked his knee which further slowed his pace. We had plenty of time so it was no big deal and he’s fine now. I just want you all to know that this entire hike could be done in less than the time it took us or more. Make sure you plan accordingly.

Summary

  • The total mileage was roughly 15 miles (give or take)
  • Hike includes Beaver Meadow Falls and four Adirondack High Peaks being Gothics, Armstrong, Upper Wolfjaw, and Lower Wolfjaw
  • Total time spent on the trails was 12 hours
  • Trail was heavily trafficked, at one point on Gothics there were twenty other individuals

Dog-Friendly

Dogs are absolutely PROHIBITED on the property of the AMR. If you would like to bring your dog on these High Peaks, you’ll have to take a different trailhead to these mountains. We did see two or three large dogs and they seemed to be doing well. Just be aware that there is a large ladder that descends on the way from Armstrong to Upper Wolfjaw.

Family-Friendly

Due to the length of this hike, it may be difficult for younger children. You might be able to bring them up to Gothics if they have the endurance for that. I do suggest introducing a family member or child to Beaver Meadow Falls as it is stunning and the round trip to get there and back would be about 5 easy miles.

Clothes Worn

  • Timberland hiking boots ($100)
  • Hiking socks
  • Nike Pro spandex (full leg length)
  • Long-johns
  • Athletic shorts
  • Adidas sweats
  • T-shirt
  • Occasionally I tossed on my windbreaker

Gear Brought

  • 4.5L of water
  • Granola bars, trail mix, peanut butter sandwich
  • Wind/Rain pants
  • Gloves
  • Extra layers (UnderArmour)
  • Extra hiking socks
  • Knife
  • Paracord and two carabiners
  • Water-proof matches
  • Map
  • LifeStraw (water filtration, costs about $20)
  • Adhesive body warmer
  • Balaclava
  • Winter hat
  • Trekking poles (A MUST => weight off knees, test how deep mud is, etc)

Map of Route We Took

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Map is the Nat Geo’s map of the Adirondacks

RTW Note:

Thanks for taking the time to read this and feel free to reference this post if you know anyone in New York looking for an outdoor adventure. Don’t forget to practice “Leave No Trace” and protecting our forests. I wish all you Road Trip Warriors safe travels and amazing adventures. I’ll end this post with a question. How have the outdoors benefitted you personally whether it be sparking creativity, alleviating stress, getting exercising, etc?

-Ant

 

 

The Dix Mountain Range

Hiking The Dix Mountain Range!

What up my Road Trip Warriors!? I apologize for the delay as I am in the middle of working on my master’s degree. I try my best to post about a hike I have done within one week of doing it. Sooooo I am a little late, but I still wanted to make this post happen! Last Saturday (9/15/18), my brother Alex and I took on the Dix Mountain Range in the Adirondacks. The Dix Mountain Range is essentially right off Exit 29 of I-87 Northbound. The directions to this range are in one of my previous posts (Macomb and South Dix). The Dix Mountain Range includes five Adirondack High Peaks. These mountains are Macomb Mountain, South Dix, Grace Peak (formerly East Dix), Hough, and finally, Dix Mountain. We ascended them in that order as well. It was a tiring day as we left my house at 3:00 AM and started our hike around 4:45 AM. We did not get back to my car until around 7:15 PM! The day was well worth it and the weather was perfect. Well, enough of the small talk, lets get into the nitty gritty of this fantastic excursion!

Into Darkness…

As mentioned above, we started this hike very early (4:45 AM) because we wanted to be able to park in the lot nearest to the trailhead. Guess what? There was absolutely no parking as all the campers got there the day before! Completely frustrated, we went back to the overflow lot and walked down the long road in the dark. I had a 200 lumen headlamp and my brother had a flashlight. I must say, it was exciting to trek through the dark. It was eery and quiet causing us to pay attention to every noise we heard in the woods. It stayed pitch black until the sun rose around 6:30 AM. At 7:00 AM, we had reached the Macomb Mountain rock slide.

Macomb Rock Slide
Macomb Mountain Rock Slide

Macomb Mountain

We hit the familiar summit of Macomb at 8:00 AM. The sights were beautiful and the weather was gorgeous. We were the only two on the summit and the only other noise that we would occasionally hear was the breeze. Everything was serene and it was very enjoyable. After taking a few pictures and having some water/snacks, we decided to move on. We had four more mountains ahead of us and we had already hiked Macomb this past summer.

Elk Lake from Macomb Summit
Elk Lake seen from Macomb Mountain (4,420′)

South Dix

Down the herd path about .7 miles is South Dix. This was the second mountain that I had hiked this past summer before having to turn back because we started hiking late in the day. The summit of South Dix is surrounding by trees and vegetation, but you can still get great shots as you head up the side of this High Peak. While we were climbing the rock scrambles, the clouds were blanketing the valley and mountains in the distance and it made for some great photographs.

Me looking at clouds near South Dix

We hit the summit of South Dix at roughly 9:15 AM and it sits at 4,060′. For sake of saving space, I am leaving out the picture of the sign when you hit the summit of South Dix. If anyone would like to see it, it can be found in the Macomb and South Dix post.

On to Grace Peak Baby!!

Now we have reached the exciting part of this post because, well, everything from this point was NEW! So, to get to Grace Peak, you will walk past South Dix and end up at a split in the trail. If you would like to complete Grace, go to your right. This mountain is an out-and-back along the loop and it is roughly 1.1 miles one way to get to the summit. There was nothing too strenuous in terms of ascending and descending to get to our destination. I do remember there being A LOT of mud along the trail so I recommend taking your time finding the best approach so you don’t bury your boots.

We hit Grace peak at about 10:00 AM. At this point, there were other people on the summit or on the trail. As much as I enjoy the calm and quiet of trekking through the woods, I do like talking to other like-minded people who hike. Everyone has interesting stories to tell and things to say. We chilled out for a bit and took some more pictures before heading back towards South Dix.

View from Grace 3
Grace Peak Summit (4,012′)
Me on Grace
Probably telling the bro to make my jawline look nice…
View from Grace 2
Another shot taken from Grace Peak

Next Destination: Hough (Pronounced “Huff”)

After completing this mountain, you’ll just return the 1.1 miles back toward South Dix from the trail that got you to Grace. Back at the spot you turned to head towards Grace, you will go the opposite way towards Hough. This mountain is roughly a mile away from South Dix and there was some significant descending and ascending involved while heading there. The trail also had some tough muddy spots. At this point in the day, the four hours of sleep we got and mileage was starting to catch up with us. We took our time and stopped at any outlook we could as an excuse to give our legs a break. We finally hit Hough at 12:20ish PM. Although the summit was not very big, it is worth it. You’ll be able to see Elk Lake again and the vast amount of trees that make the Adirondack wilderness so beautiful.

Hough Marker
Hough marker
View from Hough
View from Hough (4,400′)

From Hough, you will be able to see where you’re headed and it may look a little intimidating…I promise you that it looks worse than it is….kinda..

View of Beckhorn
The Beckhorn!!

That tall point is what is known as the Beckhorn! You must go up and over that to get to Dix Mountain behind it. From Hough, Dix is roughly 1.3 miles away. From this picture above, you can tell that you will be doing quite a bit of ascending. That makes sense though considering that Dix Mountain is the 6th highest Adirondack High Peak.

Final Summit to Complete: Dix Mountain!

As you can imagine, our legs at this point were shot. We took our time getting to Dix, and we stopped at just about every outlook that we came across. We decided to stop on this one boulder that allowed us to take in some great sights. To our unfortunate selves, on this boulder we found out about No-See-Ums. These are very tiny black flies that land on you and bite. Their bite has a minor sting to it, but what was worse for me was the relentless itching throughout the days that followed our hike. These bugs are persistent even with bug spray. I thought my brother was going to lose his mind haha. So as you all can imagine, we started moving again quickly after we got swarmed by those annoying little insects.

Soon enough, you will reach the Beckhorn. Dix is a very short distance away (a few hundred feet).

Dix seen from Beckhorn
Dix Mountain seen from the Beckhorn

We hit Dix Mountain around 2:00 – 2:15 PM. This mountain is absolutely stunning as it offers 360º views and is a great vantage point. You can see Elk Lake, The Great Range, and Giant Mountain to name a few.

Dix Marker
Dix Mountain marker
Elk Lake from Dix
Elk Lake was sparkling in the sun
Giant seen from Dix
Giant Mountain in the upper left corner

We stayed on the top of this summit for a bit talking with a few people roughly our age about hikes they’ve completed in the Adirondacks. We ate a bunch of the food we brought and tried our best to rehydrate. We were running low on water at this point as I had only brought two liters when I really should have brought three. I learned my lesson and I will ALWAYS bring three liters on every hike from here on out. It was a great opportunity to do the whole Dix Range in one day. Although it makes for a long day, it truly is worth it.

Our Descent

We left Dix around 3:00 PM  took the Beckhorn trail down back towards the parking lot. This trail down is rather steep for quite awhile so do not rush. It is not worth getting injured, especially so far from the trailhead parking lot. Exhausted, we kept pushing forward and the only thing really motivating us was the thought of eating a vast amount of food when we got back home.

As our morale was dissipating quickly, a heavy rainstorm came in and poured on us. At this point, this seemed to have revived our spirits because the cold rain had felt so good. We also had any rain gear we needed and a change of clothes. This helped us pick up the pace and start moving along the trail much quicker. Eventually we hit a sign that said the parking lot was about three miles away. We passed Lillian’s Brook, Slide Brook, and then our morale started dropping again.

I think the toughest part of this particular hike mentally, was getting down to the parking lot and having to come to the realization my car was still roughly two miles away. It was starting to get dark, we were starving, and our legs were done. After what seemed like forever, we finally made it back to my car.

In Summary

Hiking five Adirondack High Peaks in one day was no joke, especially with having to park in the overflow lot. We ended up trekking 20+ miles starting in the dark of the morning and ending with the sun setting. If you ever plan on doing this hike, or something similar, make sure that you have enough time, gear, and food/water. I clearly did not have enough water this time and I learned my lesson. I do carry a LifeStraw and I know where the sources of water are on the trails of this range so I was not worried. But I should have still brought three liters. Dix Mountain could quite possibly be my new favorite Adirondack mountain. There was so much that was visible from it, I will probably do it again at some point.

Me on Dix
Hanging out on the summit of Dix Mountain (4,857′)

RTW Note:

Thank you again to everyone that takes the time to read my posts. I enjoy writing them and I apologize for the delay for a new one. I would never want to rush something that I enjoy and I do not want to put out poor content. I hope you enjoyed the photos and what I had to say. Always remember to adventure hard!

-Ant

 

 

Dial & Nippletop Mountains Via Leach Trail and Back Down Elk Pass

Two More High Peaks Down!!

What is going on my Road Trip Warriors!? This past Monday we (My pal Adam and yours truly) took on Dial Mountain and Nippletop Mountain in the Adirondack wilderness. We battled giant black flies and extreme humidity for a majority of the hike, but need I say that we emerged victorious? Our total distance for the day ranged somewhere between 14 and 16 miles, and the tired legs were completely worth it. We had an amazing time spending nine hours making our way through the serene forests and then topping it off with a delicious meal at Noonmark Diner. The hike is long and tiresome on the legs, but very rewarding.

Back at The Ausable Road Parking Lot

I parked in the lot a little later than I would have liked to for this hike at roughly 8:45 AM (8/27/18). The usual routine occurred of putting on the hiking boots, double-checking our gear, and making sure we had more than enough water. Double-checking your bags before going on a long hike is something everyone should do. We walked up the familiar road towards the Ausable Club where we turned left in-between the two tennis courts. Shortly, we hit the post where we signed in and made our way down the road past the wooden AMR sign. The trail appears at about a mile down the dirt road and it is on the left-hand side. The sign states that it is Leach Trail and it leads to Dial/Nippletop. This would be the trail we would take.

Leach Trail over Bear Den

Leach Trail is a long and rather strenuous trail through the Adirondack Mountain Reserve area that will take one over Bear Den, to Dial Mountain, and then to Nippletop Mountain. It is not an easy trek, but if you enjoy being deep in the woods, I highly suggest it. The trail begins at a moderate incline without many obstacles. You’ll be walking on dirt and pine needles for quite some time. Eventually, the trail will start to change and tree roots begin to snake across it. This is one of my favorite parts about hiking because I find it crazy how large and far these roots will stretch across the wooded area.

Roots stretched across Leach Trail
Roots stretched out across the trail

Moving forward, the path becomes much narrower with tall green grass and thin trees on each side of you. You’ll become more and more immersed in the Adirondack wilderness before coming across a sign that will let you know where you’re at.

Bear Den, Dial, Nippletop Sign

Shortly after this sign, you will hit your first outbreak on some bald rock where you will be able to see the Great Range in the distance.

View of Great Range Before Hiking up Bear Den
View of the Great Range in the distance

After stopping here, you’ll see in front of you Bear Den Mountain. Unfortunately, there is not much to see while making the trek up Bear Den as it is mostly wooded. I read that there was an outcrop past the peak one can climb for some views, but we did not take the time to do this. When you hit this sign, you have hit the summit of Bear Den.

Sign at Bear Den Mountain
Sign where you have hit the “summit” of Bear Den Mountain

I suggest taking a breather here because you still have a long way to go before hitting the two High Peaks on this trail. I do not want to delve into too much detail for the distance between Bear Den and Dial Mountain as I do not remember anything being particularly difficult. It is essentially just more of a dirt path at a moderate incline with rocks and roots scattered among the trail. Although this sign above states that Dial is only 1.3 miles away, when hiking, that is not a short distance…especially during the summer heat. You should always make sure to stay hydrated and do not over-exert yourself.

Dial Mountain

Eventually you will hit another sign and a large boulder looking out into the Great Range. This is where you’ll find the summit of Dial Mountain. We hit the summit of this High Peak around 12:30 PM. The sign looks like this…

Sign when you hit Dial Mountain

Once you are here, take a moment to chill out on the boulder and admire the beauty of the Adirondacks. It was humid and a bit hazy for the day we were on this hike, but the sights were still beautiful.

Dial Mountain View #1
The green forests of the Adirondacks seen from Dial Mountain
Dial Mountain View #2
The Great Range seen from Dial Mountain
Sitting at the Edge of Dial Mountain
Sitting at the edge of Dial Mountain

The summit is not particularly large, and the views are not 360º, but it still offers a nice view and a good spot to break down before making your way towards Nippletop Mountain.

Off to Nippletop Mountain!

After summiting Dial Mountain, you will be on a very long ridge for quite a bit of time. There are occasional ascents and descents, but nothing drastic. There was not nearly as much mud as I had expected there to be. There was one spot with deep mud, but it is avoidable. I was able to keep my feet dry by testing different spots with my trekking poles. Soon enough you will hit another sign and if you feel the way I felt at this point, you will be relieved. The sign states that you are .2 miles away from Nippletop and it is a huge morale booster.

Sign .2 miles to Nippletop

As you continue forward, you will climb a little bit more. You will hit a a few rocks that you may need to use your hands to get up and over. Once you hit the summit of Nippletop, the views of the Great Range are absolutely breathtaking. This mountain sits at 4,620′ putting it at number thirteen of the forty-six Adirondack High Peaks. We hit the summit at approximately 2:30 PM. I suggest hanging on the summit for a bit to take it all in. You can see mountains for miles upon miles.

View from Nippletop #2
Mountains can be seen for miles from Nippletop Mountain sitting at 4,620′
View from Nippletop
Another angle of the mountains seen in the distance
Perched on Nippletop Mountain
No better feeling in the world
Sitting on Nippletop
Thinking of the reasons not to come down

Getting Back to The Parking Lot

That sign that was mentioned above, “Nippletop .2 miles,” also had two signs underneath it. Here is a what they stated…

Sign to Elk Pass &amp; St. Huberts parking

You will have the option to either go back down through Leach Trail or go down Elk Pass. Although the Elk Pass route was a little longer, we did not want to go back up and over Bear Den Mountain. We also wanted to see what Elk Pass would have to offer. First and foremost, this trail from Nippletop is a steep descent. The rocks and roots were also pretty slick in some spots. I will have you know that I wiped out twice. Did it hurt? Yes. Did it phase a warrior like myself? Of course not. Do be careful though because falling on rock is not pleasant and you could get injured if you fall in a steep section of the trail.

After descending for quite some time, you will pass a campsite area. There were some small wooden bridges built over the muddy and marshy ground. After passing over these, you will be able to view a pond to your left (will be on your right if you hike Nippletop via Elk Pass).

Pond going down Elk Pass Route
Pond seen while on Elk Pass

At this point, you will have gotten through most of the steep descent. Keep hiking and you will hit a sign where you have the option to hike Colvin (do not do unless you have significant time) or continue down. We continued down, passed some campsites, and eventually took the Gill Brook route. One should definitely take this trail down towards Lake Road. It is filled with small waterfalls and the moss under the running water gives the illusion that the water is turquoise. For a small brook, it was actually quite stunning. You can follow this trail until it meets up with Lake Road and at this point, you should be set. There is no need for me to explain anything else once you hit Lake Road.

Errors That I Made

I have hiked quite a few mountains, but I still do make occasional mistakes. One lapse of judgement that I had was that I should have packed more food. I had just enough food to be comfortable, but I would have liked to have a lot more with me. My second error, and a much larger one, was not staying hydrated enough. I had more than enough water, but I did not intake as much as I should have been. I suffered the consequences back at home when I had to deal with a terrible migraine. Always, always, always make sure you stay hydrated.

Gear

I brought the usual gear that I have posted about before. This time I left out the Canon camera as I wanted to carry more water. The main essentials I had this time were

  • Water
  • Food
  • First-Aid
  • Change of clothes (I always bring two pairs of everything)
  • Rain/wind resistant pants
  • Paracord
  • Carabiners
  • Bug-spray
  • Knife
  • Garbage bag (for myself and garbage I find along the trail)

Sidenotes

  • Dial Mountain sits at 4,020′
  • Nippletop Mountain sits at 4,620′
  • These mountains are best done in a loop
  • Make sure you give yourself enough time to hike these two mountains
  • After hiking, check out Noonmark Diner. The food there is very good, especially after being on your legs for many miles

RTW Note

My Road Trip Warriors, I hope this was helpful for those looking to climb Dial Mountain and Nippletop Mountain. Every mountain offers its own unique perspective of the surrounding landscape so I always encourage people to get out and climb. It is a great workout and it is much better than being cooped up inside. Also, to anyone reading this, I urge you to start bringing a small bag with you for trash. Now when I go hiking, if there is garbage along the trail I make sure to grab it. You should as well because it is crucial that we protect the environment. Enjoy your adventures and stay safe!

-Ant

Indian Head & Mount Colvin: Some of the Best Sights in the Adirondacks

An 18 Mile Journey Through the Adirondacks

What is going on my Road Trip Warriors!? I am extremely excited to be able to tell you about another trip I went on with my brother, Alex, and my best pal, Adam. The reason for such excitement is that the hike we undertook was THE most scenic hike I have been on thus far. Our trip entailed a beautiful waterfall, Indian Head, Fish Hawk Cliffs, and to top it off, Mount Colvin! It was a long, but rewarding day and it allowed me to understand the true beauty the Adirondacks have to offer.

Beginning Our Trek at the Ausable Club

We hit the Ausable Road lot around 8:30AM (8/20/18) and put on our boots, got our bags together, and headed a half mile up towards the Ausable Club. On the way up we were able to admire the beautiful golf course the club offers with the mountains towering beyond it. Once we hit Lake Road, we turned left in-between the two tennis courts and continued between some smaller houses for a bit. Soon, we reached where the sign-in sheet was at the beginning of the dirt road. There are many different trails in the Adirondack Mountain Reserve (AMR) so be sure to jot down your information here. At the bottom of this post, I will include a list of all the trails/mountains that can be hiked that I came across. After signing in, we walked past the wooden AMR sign and down the dirt road. This dirt road extends for about 3.5 miles and after walking just about 2.5 miles, we reached the sign for Indian Head and Mount Colvin.

Trail to Indian Head

We followed the trail which was adjacent to Gill Brook. Eventually, on our left we were able to observe a beautiful waterfall. We stopped to take pictures and continued to make our way. As we continued to walk through the woods, we came across a sign. The trail split and to our right was Indian Head where as to our left was Nippletop Mountain and Mount Colvin. We had heard nothing but amazing things about Indian Head so we decided to hit that location first. The trail was not difficult whatsoever. The occasional easy rock scramble and a gradual ascent. We reached Indian Head at roughly 10:30 AM and had the place to ourselves. When I first laid eyes on this iconic destination in the heart of the Adirondacks…it was almost surreal. Tucked away in the valley below was Lower Ausable Lake. Beautiful dark green trees cover the mountains on both sides of the lake. The lake was void of any human activity giving it a complete stillness, and there was a very light breeze. We decided to enjoy the serenity of it all before we took dozens upon dozens of pictures and videos.  If I have any recommendation to anyone whom enjoys the outdoors, it would be to visit Indian Head in the Adirondacks as it’s beauty is unparalleled.

Indian Head First Photo
Indian Head Overlooking Lower Ausable Lake
IMG_3344
Admiring the View

Onward to Fish Hawk Cliffs

After eating and hanging out at Indian Head for about a half an hour we decided that we would hit Fish Hawk Cliffs. Seeing that it was along the trail we were following and only a short distance from where we were, it only made sense. We followed a steep, but short descent to the cliffs where it allowed us a new vantage point of Lower Ausable Lake. From here we could see an individual paddle-boarding among the glass-like water. Yes, I was extremely jealous because I have always wanted to do such an activity in a secluded location. As far as taking photos at this location, we did not take any. The reason being is that it was just another view of what we saw at Indian Head and we wanted to advance towards Mount Colvin.

Mount Colvin, Here We Come

We left Fish Hawk Cliffs and followed the trail that pointed us towards Colvin (wooden sign that says “Colvin”). The trail was muddy, the surrounding plants were bright green, and different colored fungus were littered among the plants. Not before long, we reached a split in the trail. To the left the sign stated that Nippletop Mountain was 1.9 miles away. To our right the sign stated that Mount Colvin was 1.1 miles away along with Blake Peak being 2.4 miles away from our position. Always being overeager, we planned on hitting both High Peaks and headed towards our right.

In my opinion, the climb on the trail was rather forgiving. It would ascend gradually for significant time with a sporadic flattening of the trail allowing our legs to..somewhat recover. This trail was very muddy and we had to watch our step so we did not sink into 4 inches of mud/water. As we made our way through the woods, we realized that the sign we saw stating Colvin was only 1.1 miles away had to be incorrect. It did not seem like there was an end in sight. We came across a few tricky rock scrambles that were quite steep. While climbing these, a group of three hikers whom had just completed Colvin crossed our path. They insisted that we did not have much further to go and we joked how the sign had to of had the mileage wrong. After one last rock scramble, we had reached the summit of Mount Colvin (4057′).

This peak is at the smaller end of the 46 High Peaks, but offers astounding views of the surrounding High Peaks. From here the Dix Range is visible, Lower Ausable River, and Indian Head. We had this spot to ourselves as well and soaked in every minute eating, telling jokes, and taking pictures.

Mount Colvin 1
View From The Summit of Mount Colvin
Mount Colvin 2 (Lower Ausable Lake)
Looking Down Upon Lower Ausable Lake and Indian Head
Mount Colvin 3
View of Surrounding High Peaks
Mount Colvin 4 (Geo-Tag)
Mount Colvin Geological Marker

A Slight Error in Judgement

After talking it over and being the ambitious bunch that we are, we figured that Blake Peak was in our grasp. We started heading on the trail towards the second mountain that was roughly a mile or so away according to the sign. We descended further through mud and towards a valley between Colvin and Blake. Eventually, we finally saw how far we would have to hike down into the valley to then climb Blake Peak. After checking the time, the unanimous decision was made to head back to the car. Being about 6.5 miles from the lot, it would take significant time to get back. We had not planned to be hiking into the late evening either. Sometimes decisions have to be made whether you like them or not. Blake Peak is not going anywhere and we will be sure to come back for it!

Gear

I am not going to provide a picture of what I brought for this trip. The reason being is that it is essentially the same as the picture posted in the previous blogs. Some of the important items that I brought included:

  • Canon Camera
  • Five Water Bottles (I forgot to fill up my large water 32 ounce plastic containers)
  • Wheat Thins, Larabars (fantastic and filling granola bars), almonds, and a peanut butter sandwich
  • Knife
  • First-Aid
  • Paracord
  • Bug-Spray

Other Trails/Mountains Accessed from the Ausable Lot

  • Noonmark Mountain (Non High Peak)
  • Round Mountain (Non High Peak)
  • Dial & Nippletop Mountains via Leach Trail (High Peaks)
  • Upper and Lower Wolfjaws (High Peaks)
  • Cathedral Rocks (Hiking Trail, can include Pyramid Falls)
  • Gothics & Armstrong (High Peaks)
  • Mount Colvin & Blake Peak (High Peaks)

End Note

That is about all I have to say for this adventure. I hope it was as enjoyable to read as it was for me to write about. Thank you for whomever took the time to read this. Remember to get outside and take on some wild adventures my Road Trip Warriors! Until next trip,

-Ant