After having perfect hiking days for Mount Colden and Dial Mountain, our new intrepid hikers wanted to add one more High Peak before closing their trip. Both Colden and Dial are atypical starting peaks for aspiring 46ers, involving more elevation gain and miles than the most common summits, so we decided for the shorter, simpler Big Slide.
We originally slated Big Slide for the prior day, but decided to opt out after not finding parking at the Garden trailhead. Today would give us the same packed lot, so this time I opted to drop off the crew and take the shuttle from Marcy Field. (More on this later.)
The initial ascent from the Garden is uphill through forest, some rocks but mostly soft. The trail quickly approaches the First Brother, with some steep rock slabs and dramatic open ledge vistas. Here we regrouped and enjoyed the views and massive amounts of blueberries for the next quarter mile through the Second Brother.
The trail turned back into the woods and up again towards the Third Brother, which isn’t as prominent or noticeable as the first two, dipping down and back up to the junction with the trail to the summit.
The last 0.3 miles are steep slab climbing, aided by some fortuitous but eroding ladders. Just before the summit is a tiny lookout over a sheer vertigo-inducing ledge hovering seemingly vertically above the valley floor 1,000 feet below. The summit is a small rocky outcropping slightly more comforting.
Our new aspiring 46ers enjoyed their third High Peak in three days, ultimately logging 30 miles and almost 10,000 vertical feet of climbing in the process. Each day was simply perfect for hiking, cool with a mix of sun and clouds.
We made the descent through the blueberries and occasional raspberries without note. At the Second Brother I ran ahead to ferry the car because of the seemingly upside-down pricing where it would have cost us $20 to use the shuttle ($5 per person one-way or round trip) because we couldn’t find a $7 parking space. Instead we used the $15 to devour delicious pulled pork sandwiches at the ADK Cafe, and spent the rest of the day playing games, relaxing, circling mountains on our map, and talking about next year.