Five days of hiking out of six was more than we had ever done. Factoring in the difficulty/length of three of those hikes, we were looking for something simpler on day 6. Enter Whiteface & Esther.
The Indian Pass trail was easily the best/most interesting lead-in trail we’ve taken. It’s much prettier (and softer) than the Van Hoevenberg or Phelps trails, and not nearly as boring as Lake Road.
Many (most?) people choose to climb Cliff & Redfield Mountains from the south via the Upper Works trailhead. From the Adirondack Loj, where Kathy and I started, the mileage is about the same, but our route skirts the 3,800-foot elevation Lake Arnold, adding several hundred feet of climbing both ways.
Heading straight for the summit of Tabletop at about 4 miles from the Adirondack Loj, the last mile was dark and muddy (but not shoe-stealing muddy) with relatively middling views.
The Slide Brook and Lillian Brook herd paths were two of the best trails in the Adirondacks. They vary the terrain and direction enough that you don’t feel like you’re on an endless trail, and almost the entirety of both routes is soft underfoot and well-maintained.
One of the impressive features of the waterfalls at Ricketts Glen is both how closely spaced and how varied they are. Not only are the falls themselves dramatically different, but they vary themselves as the seasons change and as the water level changes.
Old Rag Mountain in Shenandoah has some serious scrambling up and down crevices, around and over (and under!) massive boulders. In other words, it was really cool.
We teamed up with another couple to do a fairly interesting 8-mile loop hike near Hamburg, PA – the Pinnacle and Pulpit Rock.
Wanting to finish my summer off in style, I made one last 800-mile drive to climb more mountains. Wanting to satiate my inner masochist, I chose a day hike of the 5-peak Dix Range.
Iterations of this hike have been planned and scrapped since July, with the latest one a proposed Colvin-Blake-Nippletop-Dial hike. The previous day’s over-hiking scrapped the 4-peak plan in favor of a more modest straight up-and-back over these two, allowing if nothing else an extra hour of sleep.
Wright, Algonquin, and Iroquois were the three best back-to-back-to-back peaks we’ve enjoyed in the Adirondacks.
We had been dunked in mud, trod underwater, stopped-and-re-started, rushed off a peak, re-routed, drenched in a passing thunderstorm, and hiked over 18 miles & 5,000+ vertical feet. We wouldn’t have changed a thing.
The only car in the lot, we signed into the trail at 7:44 AM. Before noon we were enjoying lunch on our 15th high peak, on Rocky Peak Ridge.
My friend and fellow photographer Stephen Gushue joined me for a hike along Ricketts Glen’s Falls Trail, which encompasses 21 waterfalls in its inspiring 8-mile loop.