Monday, August 4, 2008

Trail Camp's second High Peaks trip

Trail Camp just returned from a very exciting trip. We spent four days in the Adirondacks High Peaks. On the third day of second session (Wednesday, July 30) we left camp right after breakfast and drove for about two and a half hours to the High Peaks. We were dropped off at the parking area in St. Huberts, which is a private golf club that is part of the Adirondacks Mountain Reserve. A very big area of this part of the High Peaks is private land.
We had an easy hike in, although, we had to carry all the food for four days. We reached our campsite close to Indian Head and we set up our base camp. After getting settled in, we hiked a small loop. First, we hiked up Indian Head, which is a huge rock formation that looks like a human head. This rock is a couple of hundred feet above Lower Ausable Lake. There are some very good views of Sawteeth, Fish Hawk Cliffs, Colvin, and Blake. We stayed there for a wile and enjoyed the views. Afterwards, we hiked to Fish Hawk Cliffs. From there, we had some good views of Indian Head and again we could see Ausable Lake, Sawteeth, Colvin, and Blake. We then hiked back and cooked hamburgers on our stove. After going to bed, a huge thunderstorm passed by. We had lots of rain that night and we could hear very loud thunders and see very bright lightnings.

On the second day, we started hiking around ten o’clock. We hiked to Elk Pass Lake and then climbed a very steep ascent to Mount Nippletop (Order of Height: 16; 4620 feet). On our hike up the peak we had some amazing views of the Great Range. We finally reached the top and had lunch. This peak offers some amazing views of the Dix Range, Elk Lake, the Great Range, Mount Marcy, Mount Haystack, Colvin, and Blake. Upon reaching Mount Nippletop, we continued to Dial Mountain (Order of Height: 41, 4020 feet). After 1.9 miles we reached the summit and enjoyed the views before continuing our loop. After another 1.3 miles we reached Bear Den Mountain. We took another brake and then hiked to Noonmark. In 1999, there was a fire on this hill. Nonetheless, this is one of my favorite places in the High Peaks. Since the trees haven't regrown very high yet, you have some of the nicest views and the vegetation is very interesting. A new generation of paper birch is growing but also many flowers and berries can be found. After a longer brake, we continued our hike and finished our 12-mile loop for that day. We were very tired but happy having achieved so much.

On our third day, we left our campsite around ten o’clock and hiked towards Colvin. The first mile was the same as we hiked the previous day. When we reached a junction, however, we turned right and started climbing in a moderate grade. Steep and flat parts followed each other until we got very close to top. The last part of the way to the summit involved a lot of steep parts with bare rock faces. We managed these obstacles easily and finally reached the top of Colvin (Order of Height: 39, 4057 feet). This peak offers great views of Lower Ausable Lake, Sawteeth, the Great Range, and even Giant Mt. We ate our lunch on top of this mountain and then continued our hike towards Blake. The 1.4 miles hike to Blake was not very rewarding since Blake did not offer any views (Order of height among the original 46 peaks: 43, 3960 feet). Therefore, we climbed back to Colvin and all the way down to our campsite. In the evening we ate some chicken and rice and then climbed the loop to Indian Head again. This time, we were there during sunset and we enjoyed the different shades of colors. We came back to our campsite just before it got dark and we went to bed early.

On our final day of the trip we had to get up very early because we wanted to climb another peak before being picked up. We had Oatmeal for breakfast and packed our tents, sleeping bags, and sleeping pads. We left our campsite at 8:15 am. and hiked about 1.5 miles until we reached Rainbow Falls, a splendid sight consisting of a 150-foot unbroken plunge.

We then started our ascent to Sawteeth. The trail is in a very good condition and it is not very steep compared to other trails like the one to Nippletop. Nonetheless, it took as far more than an hour to climb the 2.2-mile ascent. When we reached the col., we had a great view of Pyramid Mt. and Gothics which is my favorite High Peak. From the col. it took us another 15 minutes to climb the final half mile to the top of Sawteeth (Order of Height: 35, 4100 feet). From the top, we could see Gothics, Armstrong, and Basin, although they were partly hidden in the clouds. About ten minutes after leaving the summit, it started thundering and lightning. There was also a little bit of rain but it wasn’t too bad. It only took us 45 minutes to climb all the way back to Rainbow Falls at the bottom of this peak. We ate lunch and then hiked out to our pick up point. About 15 minutes after leaving Rainbow Falls, it started pouring. There was so much rain that we could barely see and the road was almost flooded with water. Luckily, our hike out was on a dirt road and not on a muddy trail. Therefore, we could make very good time and arrive at the pick up point early. About five minutes before getting there, the rain stopped. Since we were early, we had to wait for about an hour. Everybody was tired and very happy when our driver showed up.

This trip was a big success in my opinion. We had a very good time and we also achieved a lot during our four days on the trails. We climbed four peaks, went to Indian Head, Fish Hawk Cliffs, and Rainbow Falls and we had some of the best views in the Adirondacks High Peaks. That’s, what Trail Camp is all about. This trip meant very much to me personally. I climbed two peaks that I haven’t climbed before. Together with Sawteeth and Dial, I now have climbed 23 peaks, which means I am half way to climbing all peaks of the Adirondacks High Peaks.

Divisional Director TC
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