Friday, August 3, 2012

1st Two Adirondack Peaks

There are 46 “High Peaks” in the Adirondacks.  A popular activity among hikers is to climb them all! Today I climbed one and drove up another. 

My biking buddy Greg left early this morning, I didn’t even talk to him this morning, he was gone when I got moving.  I was kinda glad because it meant I had my picnic table back!  I enjoyed meeting him and helping him out a bit, but I do like my space!

Dad and I met back at the Ski Jump a little after nine and drove to the trailhead.   Our plan was to climb Cascade Mountain – which the book says is one of the easiest of the 4000 ft + peaks in the High Peaks region.   It was 2.5 miles one way with about 2000 feet of elevation change. 

We started at the same time as three older guys, one of them looked to be about 80!  We ended up behind them for awhile, they offered to let us pass but we weren’t moving much faster than they were and I knew they’d be on our tail.  I’d rather be the end of the line, even if the line is moving slow than feeling like I have someone breathing down my back.  There was a single gal who set out just ahead of us and soon we caught up with her while she took a break.  We’d noted that she was from Annapolis and I struck up a conversation with her. A quick 5 minute conversation was all it took to lose the other guys since they kept walking, so we were able to put space between us.  We saw them again at the top!

The whole way up the trail was rocky and more challenging to navigate.  There was a lot of rock hopping and some light climbing.  In a few places the trail went up sheer rock faces you had to just walk up!

Right at the end we were up above the treeline and it was all rock!  Just up, up, up the rock. It reminded me of climbing Sentinel Dome in Yosemite last year.  It was mostly easy rock scrambling,  but there was one tricky spot that almost did me in. You had to climb up and there wasn’t much to hold on to or any place to put your hands or feet!  I finally found a hand-hold and pulled myself up and rolled over on to the solid ground, but I really thought I wasn’t going to make it. 

I’m glad I did make it though because at the top the view was outstanding!  360 degrees!  Mountains as far as the eye could see!  It was kinda hazy so the pictures didn’t really come out, or do it justice, but it was really nice!  And it was cool and there was a breezy, I mean wind. 

The bad part about climbing a mountain is that you have to get down.  I think they ought to install zip lines to get down, but then there’d be even more people climbing the mountains.  I dislike going down on a good trail, on a rocky trail like this I was fearing the worst.  But, it wasn’t so bad!  There were a few times on the rocks that I simply had to sit down, but overall it wasn’t so bad!

After the hike we were heading to the KOA to get Mom to drive up to the top of Whiteface Mountain – the only peak you can drive up.  On the way over there my check engine light came on again.  grrrrrr…..  We did a little research, but since the van is under warranty it needs to go back to the Mercedes dealer and there aren’t any close.  I hope it doesn’t do damage to the engine getting it in.  So annoyed. 

The drive up Whiteface was nice – lots of views and again 360 degree views from the top!  There was a little trail at the top that you could walk up (or down) it was rugged and they had big railings!  On my fitbit I had logged 185 floors for the day – just 15 away from 200!  This trail looked like I could easily get the last 15 in so I hiked down a bit and then climbed back up – amazingly I turned around at exactly the right spot because when I got to the top I had 203 floors! 

They closed the mountain at 6:15 so we got herded out just when the sun was getting nice and the storm clouds were building and looking cooler by the minute.   We drove down and had dinner at a local place – the food was good but there was unadvertised ground beef in my marina sauce and it took forever to get the food!

Tomorrow Mom and Dad have to move campsites because the KOA is full.  They are moving to a place out from Saranac Lake so we’ll check out that area.  I think the mountains diminish and there are more lakes over there!

ADK: Cascade & Whitetop 8.3.12

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