Sunday, November 04, 2012

ADK Fall Trip...

 When Steve mentioned a trip to the Adirondacks in November, I was excited. The plan was leave Thursday after work. Hike in from the Garden to Johns Brook lodge area and grab a lean to.

After a bit of traffic and a bad decision to leave the highway, we finally got to the garden and hit the trail about 10:00 pm. I had hiked this trail in February, and in the day light. This time, it was dark, wet and a light mist was falling. Despite all that I was happy to be there. We got to the area where the lean to was supposed to be, but it was not there. We wondered around for a good 45 minutes looking for it. No luck. Next option, hike to the Bushnell Falls lean to, another 1.3 miles.
 Finally, at 1:15am, we got to ur home for the next couple days. We quickly set up camp, got water and crashed.
This was about the only hint of blue sky we would see.

 The plan on Friday was to first climb Mt. Marcy, then Little Haystack and Mt. Haystack. It was still a very light rain when we started off. the trails were wet  and the higher we got, started to become snow covered. It made for slow going, well that and the fact that I am out of shape.

 After a quick snack, it was time to hit the top of the highest mountain in the Adirondacks. The climb up to Marcy wasn't too bad, although I wish I had crampons instead of micro spikes.
It was however, Winter conditions with zero visibility.

After a short pause to enjoy our summit, it was time to move on. Back down then on to Haystack. This was a whole different story. The climb up to Haystack was a lot more technical, actually, it was a bit scary in spots.
 If you have never been to ADK, let me try to describe the terrain. the trails are very steep, and nothing but rocks with a lot of water flowing over and through them. Throw in some snow, and it was pretty treacherous.
 I was starting to get tired and almost didn't go for the summit of Haystack. We had stopped for a minute and I have to admit I was pretty nervous. Haystack was an opposing sight, but we pressed on.
I don't know if you can get the proper perspective from this photo, but that yellow paint marks the trail.
  It was a lot windier on Haystack, but still no visibility. Steve tried to describe what I should be seeing, but it wasn't the same.

 We decided to take a different way down. I was not at all comfortable going down the trail we came up. The alternate route was only .2 miles longer and supposed to be a bit safer. It actually turned out to be a lot longer time wise and no easier. The one thing I learned about hiking ADK this time of year, was how fast the conditions change as you gain or lose elevation. We would go from wet muddy trails, to treacherous snow covered rocks, to ice.  After 9.5 hours and just over 12 miles we made back to our lean to.

 We no longer had it to ourselves though. A fellow hiker had moved in while we were away. Turned out to be a really nice guy, who knew a whole lot about the park.

After dinner, and a few beers it was time for me to call it a night. As soon as I crawled into my bag, I was pretty much out.

 The hike out the next morning was really nice. It was wild to see the trail conditions change from snow, to no snow just by losing a few hundred feet of elevation. It was a great trip, but by the time we hit the car, I was really happy to be leaving.
 Of course we stopped at the Noon Mark diner for breakfast. If you have eaten there you would agree, it is the best breakfast on the planet. Plus I had to bring home one of there famous pies. Thanks to Steve for guiding me around, and waiting for my slow ass.
 I'm not sure when I will make it back to the Adirondacks, but I am looking forward to it already.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I meant to tell you to take crampons. I did a trip in mid Oct. once and wish I'd had them.

Sounds pretty bad-ass otherwise.