January 25, 2020, Bradley Pond Trailhead
Into the night
The “day” began around 3:30 am, when my alarm when off at the Owl’s Head Lodge in Newcomb New York, smack dab in the center of the Adirondack Park. As a winter day hike, the Santanoni’s would become the single-longest day to date in my 46er adventures.
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January 5, 2020, St Hubert’s
Fresh tracks up Lake Road
I embarked from St Hubert’s at 6 am sharp on this snowy Sunday in early January. I headed up the road past the Ausable Club in what was still, essentially pitch darkness. The goal was a swift summit of Sawteeth Mountain, with ample time left in the day to get back to Brooklyn by a decent hour.
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January 4, 2020, St Hubert’s
On the Road Again
Just weeks after summiting Dial and Nippletop I returned to the Adirondacks to finish off the Colvin Range with Colvin and Blake. I left the car park at 6:45 am, a bit later than I’d hoped for. But soon enough I had signed in at the AMR trail register and was off down a snowy Lake Road.
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December 17, 2019, St Huberts
A pre-dawn breakfast
The journey to Dial and Nippletop began with a 5:30 am drive through a snowy and blustery Cascade Pass, descending down towards Keene and Keene Valley. The plan was to arrive at the Noonmark Diner for their 6 am opening (per Google) and then scarf down some eggs before hitting the trail. To my dismay, the diner was completely darkened when I arrived. I stood there a few minutes, slightly panicked that my breakfast would be reduced to a few sad, frozen Clif bars. I decided to drive back up the road, north towards Keene.
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December 16, 2019, Adirondak Loj
More than halfway through my Adirondack high peaks journey, I still manage to encounter many “firsts”. In fact, one of the best parts of trying to become a 46er is that it forces you to always explore something different: different trailheads, different ridgelines, different types of weather, and different seasons.
For my journey to Tabletop Mountain, those “firsts” would include winter hiking. Well, almost winter hiking. December 16 fell just under a week away from the official season. To become a winter 46er, you must summit each peak between the winter solstice and the vernal equinox (late March). But I harbored no such ambitions at present, and timed this hike to a wonderful winter hiking informational seminar the prior day at the Adriondak Loj.
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November 2, 2019, Adirondak Loj
I arrived at Heart Lake before dawn on a brisk day in early November. The target, a pair of classic high peak day hikes: Colden and Phelps! My original plan consisted of hiking the Santanoni’s. But torrential rain and high winds had plagued the Adirondacks in recent days, and I decided to target a couple of peaks easily accessible from the relatively dry and well-trafficked Van Hoevenberg trail.
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October 14, 2019, Adirondak Loj
Full moon over Heart Lake
I arrived before dawn to the Heart Lake Trailhead to bag Street and Nye. It was my first time back to this popular trailhead in two years! This marked my final day-hike of Columbus Day Weekend 2019, and I was feeling sore from my adventures on Lower Wolfjaw and Giant the prior two days.
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October 13, 2019, Chapel Pond
Starry Skies at Chapel Pond
I arrived at the parking for Giant via the Ridge trail around 6 am. The Autumn days were rapidly growing shorter. And on arrival, I was treated to a clear sky full of stars. How beautiful! This was my second day-hike of Columbus Day Weekend, and my second high peaks adventure post-knee surgery. Lower Wolfjaw had gone well the day before. And so I decided to graduate to Giant and Rocky Peak Ridge.
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October 12, 2019, Rooster Comb Trailhead
A failed first attempt
14 months had passed since my attempt to traverse the Great Range during a late June heatwave. After five summits, I ran out of steam in the col between the two Wofjaws. I was exhausted, low on water, and lugging a full menagerie of camping equipment. I decided to bail before Lower Wolfjaw.
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Approach from the West
Spend time exploring the Adirondacks and you realize the land within the “blue line” encompasses far more than mountains. This is particularly true of the western Adirondacks. Here waterways like the Raquette River (French for snowshoe) meander through countless lakes and marshlands. The whole swampy, flowing mess meanders towards the St Lawrence to the north. That’s the sort of landscape I found myself in as I drove north and westward via NY 30. I was headed towards the westernmost of the high peaks: the Sewards.
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