With Kathy and me looking to finish all 46 high peaks this year, and also looking to celebrate Ocho de Mayo, we scheduled an impromptu hiking trip earlier in the season than normal. According to the historical reports I researched, early May varies by year from still snowy to a muddy, sloppy mess. We ended up somewhere in between, with our morning a bit more frozen than our afternoon.
Lacking any winter footwear, we were lucky to get some good last-minute advice; we ended up buying some Hillsound Trail Crampons (similar to Microspikes) and just using our summer Gore-Tex hiking shoes. Hillsound deserves a Nobel prize for engineering if they didn’t win one already for the Trail Crampons – these things made walking up ice an absolute joy. In fact, there were a few spots where we scurried right up a sheet of ice that would likely have been harder in the dry summer.
When we summited Mount Colvin, the clouds were hovering just above the peaks, making for an awesome view. Colvin offers a wide vista of the majestic Great Range, from the Wolfjaws to Haystack and beyond. Unlike all our summer hikes, the peaks still had a hint of snow covering the tops, making them more beautiful than normal. This is another peak with a breathtaking vista yet is normally unheralded – part of me wonders if people deliberately downplay certain peaks in order to keep their solitude.
During the hike down Colvin and back up Blake, the clouds started rolling in, and the rest of our views were of the inside of a cloud. We had started just early enough to enjoy the immense views on Colvin’s peak, but got little after that.
Fortunately, we stayed rain free and, except for our feet, completely dry. It was warmer than some of our summer hikes (like when we climbed Mount Marshall in August) which made it a bit sloppier on the way back because the ice & snow was getting softer and slushier.
Taking the Gill Brook Cutoff on the way up, we instead meandered along the normal Gill Brook Trail for the walk out, stopping at several of the beautiful waterfalls along the way. (I carried my GorrilaPod tripod with me, but for most of the falls you really needed a full size one, so my shots are mostly handheld.)
We have 5 remaining hikes to become 46ers, which we’re planning for the summer. Completing this hike makes the task more flexible, if not outright relaxed, to complete. A few of the remaining hikes are going to be long days: Haystack, Basin & Saddleback; Allen; Donaldson, Emmons & Seward. While this hike wasn’t nearly as long as those, like all Adirondack hikes it was still challenging and rewarding.
Other than some extra effort as the snow turned to slush, it turned out to be an excellent day to hike. Word to the wise: never trust weather reports in the Adirondacks.
2014: 2 high peaks As of 5/9/14: 37 (out of 46) high peaks completed.
2014 high peaks – 2: Colvin & Blake
2012 high peaks – 24 (23 new): Big Slide; Lower Wolfjaw, Upper Wolfjaw & 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
2009 high peaks – 2: Cascade; Giant
Edit: See: Our Path to 46.