Wanting to ease into 2012, we decided that our first hike would be up 4,240-foot Big Slide. We parked at the Garden in Keene Valley, and were at the trailhead at 8AM. A cloudy but not rainy day, we started over the Brothers, which offered what turned out to be the clearest views of the day.
By the time we got to the summit of Big Slide the thicker clouds were rolling in. Of course, 4,240 feet up, watching the clouds roll in can be fun. (More on that when we get to Phelps Mountain.)
The scenery on the hike up to Big Slide was varied and had enough climbing to be interesting and challenging. And the best part – we didn’t encounter another human from the time we stepped past the trailhead.
Rather than backtrack (which would have been an 8-mile hike), we decided to return via a loop over 4,009-foot Yard Mountain and down past the Johns Brook Lodge. The descent over Yard Mountain wasn’t my cup of tea, with too much wash out. It turned out to be an 11.5-mile loop, which we did in 9.5 hours including stopping for lunch on top of Big Slide, and for me adding 3 miles (and 45 minutes) running back to the Lodge to retrieve a fallen rain jacket.
Photos taken with my Pentax *istD and 85mm f/1.4 & 24mm f/2 lenses. Ben on the log ladder taken with my iPhone.
Total 2012 trip: 1 high peak. As of 7/27/12: 5 (out of 46) high peaks completed.
Our 2012 high peaks: Big Slide; the Wolfjaws & Armstrong; Marcy; Gothics & Sawteeth; Street & Nye; Phelps; Rocky Peak Ridge & Giant; Skylight & Gray; Wright, Algonquin, & Iroquois; Dial & Nippletop; Dix, Hough, S. Dix, E. Dix & Macomb
Edit: See: Our Path to 46.