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Monday, August 25, 2008

Post camp High Peaks trip

One week after camp ended, Max and I decided to do one final hike this summer. Our destination was the Adirondacks High Peaks. Our goal was not less than two peaks in one day. We had a two hours drive to Chapel Pond at Route 73 south of Keene Valley. We decided to use this trail head because it is closest to the summit of Giant (three miles) and because you have to gain less elevation than on other approaches because you already start very high. We thus took the Zander Scott Trail which has an ascent from Route 73 of 3050 feet.
After signing in at the trail head, we started hiking in a slow but constant pace. Pretty soon we had our first views of Chapel pond and of many of the High Peaks. We then continued our hike and soon arrived at Giant washbowl, a very nice little lake. After taking a picture and taking a short break, we continued our journey. The trail then started to swingback and zigzag up the peak. The trail is in a very good shape and we made some good progresses. After a while the trail reached a certain elevation, where the underground almost exclusivly consists of rockface. At this point we had amazing views towards the south and the west. We saw most of the Dix range, the Great Range, Skylight, Haystack and many other peaks in the west. There are many good spots to look back and enjoy the views of the High Peaks. We finally reached a peak which turned out to be a false summit. We kept climbing and eventually we had to slow down because there were some steep sections in this part of the trail. We finally reached the junction to Giant and RPR and hurried up to climb the last 0.2 miles of the way up Giant (Elevation 4627 feet (1410 m). Order of Height, 12). Upon reaching the top, we enjoyed the views to the northwest and west. St. Huberts is very distinctly visible, so are many of the peaks. For me, this was the most west I have been so far and this view was a new one for me. All my previous hikes lead me to the very center of the High Peaks.
By the time we reached the summit of Giant, it was already 2 pm. The reason for this was the fact that we started our hike very late, approximately at noon. There was not a lot of time left to do another peak, we thought. We thus hurried up and started to hike to RPR. After about 5 min. my friend decided that he was not in shape to do this other peak so he went back to Giant. After a steep descent, the trail up RPR ascends in a moderate grade. I climbed the 1.3 miles distance in about 35 min. and reached the top of RPR (Elevation 4420 feet (1347 m). Order of Height, 20.) I met some very nice old ladies on top of the summit. They asked me to take a picture of them and then also took a picture of me. Thank you very much. The views from RPR are very impressive. The slides on the eastern side of Giant can be seen but also many High Peaks in the west are in sight. However, I was most impressed with the views towards the south and east. Among others I could see Lake Champlain.
Since my friend was waiting for me, I soon had go back to Giant. It didn't take me very long to go back to Giant. The only problem was that by this time my knees started to hurt. I've been on seven other High Peaks trips but I have never had problems with my knees. So I was a little surprised by that. We were both very tired and wanted to get back to the Trail head. We hurried up and reached our car around 4:40 pm. We were very happy and immediatly started our two hours drive back since we got very hungry.
On this trip I climbed my 24th and 25th peak. This made me very happy. I'm really glad that it all worked out and that I could do this trip two days before flying back to Switzerland. Another reason why I liked this trip very much was because of the weather. It was almost perfect hiking weather. The temperature was pretty much perfect, not too hot and not too cold. The sky was a little bit clouded but not too much so we did not have to worry about sunburns. It wasn't too hazy either so we could see pretty far. It did not rain on our trip and the trails weren't wet either. We had pretty much perfect conditions.

More pictures are accessable at
http://www.new.facebook.com/album.php?aid=66737&l=4e22f&id=515736857
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