In retrospect, I wish I had saved the guidebook describing this hike. We somehow made it up Cascade Mountain the day before, and one of us (read: me) clearly enjoyed it more than the others. Figuring that the others just needed more summit loveliness, I convinced them to try a ‘similar’ hike up Giant Mountain.
What I failed to disclose is that the guidebook listed this hike as harder than the previous, which challenged all of us. It didn’t take long for me to be called out, either – the hike up the Zander Scott Trail is exactly that: UP.
This route to Giant Mountain is a short, straight shot from Route 73 to the summit. For novices living in Pennsylvania, it was incomprehensively steep.
For. Three. Miles.
The Adirondack Mountain Club guide, which we didn’t have at the time, uses ‘steep’ 5 times in its 4-paragraph description of this hike. It must, since the 3.2-mile route climbs 3,050 feet. Compare this with a great Pennsylvania hike of Pulpit Rock/Pinnacle: 1,300 vertical feet in 8.7 miles!
We hadn’t as of yet learned our lesson with the excessive camera equipment, with Kathy and me still lugging over 20 pounds of the stuff. We at least ditched the jeans, but learned that shorts were a blessing and curse in the Adirondacks, leaving with some scratches and lots of mud.
Despite our unpreparedness in pretty much all aspects, we made it to the summit. It was breathtaking. 4,627-foot Giant dominates the Keene valley to the east of the Great Range, offering spectacular sweeping views.
As we scanned the horizon from our second High Peak, none of us knew what a 46er was, and I doubt any of us would expect that we would someday hike all of the peaks in our view. We did just that, and through all of them this little 6-mile hike stands out as one of the harder physical tests. Just like the other 45 summits, we pushed ourselves to finish and became better for the effort. The hardest part for me was knowing that our tour of Adirondack peaks was ending for the year – in fact, it would be almost two years until we climbed another High Peak.
Edit: See: Our Path to 46.