We’ve learned a few things becoming 46ers — first is to never trust weather forecasts, but a close second is to always have a ‘plan B’. Today was a perfect example of the latter.
Our original intent was to hike Big Slide, which is a relatively easy High Peak. However, as is often the case in the summer, the Garden parking lot was full, so we decided instead to hike something from the Ausable Club parking lot.
The shortest, most direct High Peak from there is 4,020′ Dial Mountain. While ‘only’ 5 miles (ahem – each way) those miles go up steeply to a lookout on Noonmark Mountain’s shoulder, then dip down and up again over Bear Den Mountain, then down again and up steeply to Dial’s summit. So, not only is there a good bit of climbing, about 3,200 vertical feet, to get to the summit, there is an additional 500 vertical feet in the 5 miles back going back over Bear Den and Noonmark again.
Instead of the quick 3.8 miles to Big Slide (ahem – each way), for which we didn’t pack lunches, we started Dial an hour later and didn’t finish until after 5.
But finish we did, in good form and great spirits, congratulating ourselves with milkshakes at the Noonmark Diner. I’ve never seen four people devour milkshakes so quickly in my life.
We were treated to excellent views from both Noonmark’s shoulder and Dial, and only met one pair of hikers the entire day, a very nice couple who was completing a Colvin-Blake-Nippletop-Dial traverse. We all pushed through the aching calves, and surprised ourselves with how strong we felt at the end. It was another great day in the Adirondacks.