The High Peaks are a popular destination all summer long; weekends from Memorial Day to Labor Day can be mobbed. This Saturday was no exception, as the packed line of cars stretching the two miles from the High Peaks Information Center to beyond South Meadows Road attested. Luckily, I was starting a three-night stay at the Adirondack Loj so I had reserved parking; some of the others added 4 miles round trip to their day.
I drove up early, hoping that the 2 PM start time would help me miss the crowds on these popular peaks. I was partly right, as I passed at least 150 hikers coming down from Algonquin. At one steep pitch there were 20 people waiting to descend, I remarked to the lineup that it looked like the queue on Mt. Everest.
At the Wright Junction I met a young family. A little girl offered some advice for the rest of the way to Algonquin: “If you see what looks like the summit, you’re not there yet.” I thought this was terrific advice.
The 0.4 mile spur to Wright Peak is a nice direct, steep climb up the ridge. I met ADKJack (of adkhighpeaks.com fame) who was leading a group down the summit in his Summit Steward uniform. I met only a few groups on the summit, which is one of my favorites with its open rock and wide vistas.
On the way up Algonquin, I met a nice young couple from Montreal (Andrea and Steve(?)) who set a nice pace. The Steward was still there at 4:30 PM but heading down, and she commented that there were over 300 visitors that day. The two from Montreal and me were the last groups up for the day, so we enjoyed the sun and clouds for a bit before heading off the Iroquois.
I started off before the other two, and enjoyed Iroquois’ summit all to myself. (They perhaps regret staying on Algonquin, as they made a wrong turn and descended 20 minutes to Lake Colden before turning around!) The clouds were amazing, with low-lying fast-moving clouds providing an endless variation on the scene. I lingered, until I heard the other two getting close to the summit.
The hike back over Algonquin was equally amazing, and nice to have all alone on a summer weekend. Andrea & Steve caught up to me at the Wright junction and we descended together, finishing just after 9 PM. I gave them a ride back to their car at South Meadows Road and enjoyed some great tacos in Lake Placid. My weekend hiking was just starting.