Welcome to Uganda

One week into this adventure and I have already learned so much! This week I had a blast getting to know the visiting team from Albany Med and my internship mentor, Dr. Kathy. There were lots of shared laughs and memorable moments. This weekend I have enjoyed spending time getting to know the Ugandan Engeye staff.

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Saturday I landed at the airport in Entebbe. There was an incredible view of Lake Victoria, as we were landing it seemed as though we would land in the lake! Kathy and Milton picked me up at the airport and we drove to Kampala to spend the night at a friend’s house. Kampala is a huge, sprawling city that is bustling with life.

Sunday afternoon we drove from Kampala to Maska and then to Ddgeye village, home of the Engeye Health Clinic. Along the way we picked up Sylvia (who works at Engeye) and Maria. Maria is about five and at first I’m pretty sure she was afraid of me, but now we’ve become friends!

The week was full of many introductions, meeting the Engeye staff and the visiting team members. A strong sense of community, comradery and adventure was there from the beginning. Adjusting to life in a new place is always difficult at first, the combination of missing home and being immersed in a new normal can be tough. It’s a strange mix with those things pulling at my heart, and at the same time, experiencing the excitement of being on a grand adventure.

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What I see when I walk out my door

Starting a new chapter is always interesting. By now, I’ve adjusted to the latrine (camping style pit instead of a toilet) and the cold spicket that serves as a water source for bathing. Honestly, after a few days it really doesn’t phase you any more. I do like the food. It gets a little repetitive to have the same main dishes at every meal, but it’s not bad. Mama Jackie cooks meals most days, and I’m hoping to learn how to make some of the Ugandan traditional foods that we’ve been eating!

It’s hot and humid here most of the time. It also has been raining at some point or another every day. It is also incredibly beautiful. Vibrant greens, beautiful sunsets and incredibly spectacular stars at night. Life here is very much an indoor/outdoor experience. We eat outside and there is a standalone sink for washing up outside of the latrine that has an amazing view of the adjacent valley and hill.

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My room

The house I’m staying in has two rooms, one is an entry way/kitchen room with a few plastic lawn chairs and cooking utensils I will be becoming very familiar with. The second room is the bedroom with a bunk bed, a big shelf for storage and a tiled bathing area. I’m settling in and finding ways to make it feel more like home.

I’ll post more stories from
the week later on!

Uganda Bound!

image1        I am beginning a three month journey. As I sit in JFK waiting for my flight my heart is already wandering back to Africa, day dreaming of red earth and bright skies, warm hearts and wonderful smiles. I am excited to discover a new place and meet a new community. I know that I will often miss home and my dear family and friends, but mostly, I’ll miss my puppy 😉 (just kidding).

It’s incredible to me that as I sit looking out the window I have seen countless planes taking off and landing, hundreds of people on their way to different places. The world is a buzz with people moving into new experiences, new chapters of their story. I am one among many people traversing this incredible planet today and it reminds me that stories are everywhere. We have so much to learn from each other when we take the time to listen and share.

See you again in August, New York!

The Wolf Jaws and Armstrong

 

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LWJ in red, UWJ in green, ARM in blue


Lower Wolfjaw   4,175’   High Peak #30 in height

Upper Wolfjaw   4,185’   High Peak #29 in height
Armstrong           4,400’   High Peak #22 in height

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Date: September 4th 2013
Start: AMR Gate
Mileage: Roughly 13 miles
Time: About 10 hours

This three summit hike is ideal for those getting to know the High Peak Region. This hike is one of the easiest among High Peak hikes and can be made longer by continuing on the Ridge Trail and summiting other mountains. I did this section with just these three mountains as one of my first multi-peak high peak hikes and found I would have liked to continue on to Gothics, but the weather would not permit it. I plan to return to this trail and hike the whole range together at some point.

Tyler and I hit the trail early on this beautiful end of summer day to explore part of the Lower Great Range. The Great Range spans 12 miles and is home to Lower Wolfjaw, Upper Wolfjaw, Armstrong, Gothics, Saddleback, Basin, and Haystack. We started our day at the Ausable Mountain Club parking lot and enjoyed the views from the golf course as we walked to the trailhead.

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We signed in at the trail log and saw the incredibly ornate wooden gate blocking cars from entering the road. This road is the source of much contention among the Adirondack community as the Ausable Club prevents non-members from driving on this 3 mile road or utilizing the club bus which regularly shuttles club members to and from trail heads. What I find personally most annoying is that the club does not allow dogs on their land.

We started down the road and took the first turn off to the right toward trail 32 and Lower Wolfjaw. After about a mile of easy going the trail turns left at a junction and begins the climb up to the Wolf’s Chin. This climb is 2 miles up to a flat section, and has become an on going joke for Tyler and I. This section of the trail is relatively flat for about 1.5 miles, gaining the remaining elevation to the 4,175 foot summit. Every time we came to a short flat section for the rest of the day “this MUST be the Wolf’s chin!” It’s safe to say we did walk over the chin at some point, but we had no idea when.

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The summit of Lower Wolfjaw is fully in the trees, with minimal views and no good places to sit. We stayed for a few minutes, ate a snack and continued onward.

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Ty on the summit of Lower Wolfjaw

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View from the rock on top of Lower Wolfjaw

The hike over to Upper Wolfjaw is roughly 1.5 miles and the trail is a good introduction to Adirondack scrambling. At the col (the lowpoint between the mountains) there is an intersection where you can go back down to the Ausable Road and a separate intersection where you can descend to the John’s Brook Valley on the opposite side of the range.

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Heading up from the col towards UWJ you are now on trail 4, the ADK Range Trail. Some of the sections are quite steep and require creative climbing on roots, trees and rocks. We really enjoyed this section of the hike and were glad that we were not going down this section of the trail. After some good elevation gain the trail settles and rolls the last distance to the summit of Upper Wolfjaw.

Upper Wolfjaw has a small but nice bit of open rock that offers great views facing into the Ausable Valley and the Colvin range rising on the other side as well as a glimpse up the rest of the Great Range.

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Ty on Upper Wolfjaw

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Me on Upper Wolfjaw with Lower Wolfjaw behind me

Moving off the summit of Upper Wolfjaw the trail a short mile over to the summit of Armstrong. The trail descends slightly then heads back up towards Armstrong. At points the trail is steep and there is a helpful ladder that gets you into the last section before the summit.

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The summit of Armstrong offers a wonderful view of John’s Brook Valley and up the Great Range. You can see much of the Marcy Group and the MacIntyers in the distance.

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Ty on Armstrong

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Me on Armstrong

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Armstrong summit marker

After our lunch on the summit the clouds had started to turn menacing, so we continued to the next junction and made the decision for what to do next. The junction for this trail brought us a very tempting 0.6 miles from the summit of Gothics, but we had already had a great day and didn’t want to risk meeting the oncoming storm above 4,000 feet. So we chose to descend the range and return to the car.

Trail 34, is one of my favorite trails in the Ausable region. It has very unique character to it and many beautiful aspects. One key part of this trail that can be confusing at first is that in the first section of the trail there are several ladders you must go up to continue on the trail. Yes, you are still on the correct trail, descending to the AMR Road. After that section, the trail moves steadily down hill past some neat natural features and deposits you at the lovely Beaver Meadow Falls.

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Awesome natural lean to

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At this point you head back to the trail head, crossing a bridge over the Ausable River, and following the trail to a junction. You can either walk 0.5 miles back to the road and walk the 1.8 miles to the trailhead on the road OR you can follow a trail along the river roughly the same distance back to the AMR gate. For our hike, with our tired feet and the now impending storm, we opted for the road and a quick walk out as the rain began.

Happy Hiking!

Big Slide

Big Slide in yellow

Big Slide in yellow

Big Slide #27 4,240′

Trail map of Big Slide via the Brothers

Trail map of Big Slide via the Brothers

Big Slide via the Brothers is a fantastic day hike with many picturesque viewpoints along the way. The total elevation gain on this trail is about 2,800′ over the 8 miles round trip. As it is one of the easier High Peak trails, it is a great place to start for beginners, older hikers or families. Keep in mind though that this is a High Peak, and that means some challenging scrambles and climbs over open rock areas. The First Brother at 1.5 miles and the Second Brother at 1.8 miles provide great destinations for day hikes should the trail prove to be a little too much for your group.

The parking area for this trail has been dubbed “The Garden.” This is a popular starting area for several hikes and there is a 7$ parking fee that goes to support the ADK MTN Club (the fee may have changed). Parking is limited at The Garden, so be mindful of that when planning hikes for the busy season. Usually on summer weekends there is a shuttle from an additional parking area at Marcy Field just north of Keene Valley on RT 73. For more information on the shuttle and parking check out the ADK Club’s webpage here.

Ty and I at the start of the trail

Ty and I at the start of the trail

Taking a right from the parking lot, follow the blue markers up the hill to the trail split. Stay on the trail to Big Slide. After crossing Juliet Brook at 0.4 miles the trail begins gaining elevation up to the First Brother. After some steady uphill hiking you come to the first viewpoint at 0.8 miles with a fantastic side view of the Lower Great Range.

First view point with a view of the Great Range

First view point with a view of the Great Range

The trail weaves back into and out of the woods and meets some steeper rock scramble areas as it makes its way to the summit of the First Brother at 1.5 miles and 2,940’ (gaining 1,437’ from The Garden). The First Brother provides fantastic views of the area and is a great spot for a snack break! Leaving the First Brother the trail descends slightly, then comes to the rocky side of the Second Brother. After some steep climbing the trail reaches the summit of the Second Brother at 1.7 miles.

A section of trail

A section of trail

Some of the open rock areas

Some of the open rock areas

Looking back at the First Brother

Looking back at the First Brother with Giant looming in the background

Water break on the Second Brother

Water break on the Second Brother

View of Big Slide from the side of the Third Brother

View of Big Slide from the side of the Third Brother

The trail rolls over the top of the Second Brother and descends slightly to a col, then climbs to the summit of the Third Brother at 2.7 miles. At 3,681’ on Third Brother you have gained 2,160’ from The Garden. The trail descends and crosses a couple streams before restarting it’s climb. At that point the trail gains elevation as it nears the next trail junction with the trail to Yard Mountain.

Mossy creak along the trail

Mossy creak along the trail

Sign at the trail split

Sign at the trail split

Take the trail to the right 0.3 miles to the summit of Big Slide! From here the trail gains the final elevation over open rock and steeper terrain with the aid of several ladders. The summit is marked by a small marker. Although it is not a bald summit, it does have a nice open view spot from which you can see the Great Range and other mountains.

Mom and I on the summit with Upper Wolf Jaw in black, Armstrong in red, Gothics in orange, Saddleback in yellow, Basin in green, Haystack in blue and Marcy in purple

Mom and I on the summit with Upper Wolf Jaw in black, Armstrong in red, Gothics in orange, Saddleback in yellow, Basin in green, Haystack in blue and Marcy in purple

Mom enjoying the view of the Great Range from the summit of Big Slide

Mom enjoying the view of the Great Range from the summit of Big Slide

Summit marker

Summit marker

Ty and me on the summit of Big Slide!

Ty and me on the summit of Big Slide!

 

Happy Hiking!

 

 

Rocky Peak Ridge from Rt. 9

The long ridge of Rocky Peak Ridge stretching down to Rt. 9 on the right side.

The long ridge of Rocky Peak Ridge (RPR) stretching down to Rt. 9 on the right side.

Rocky Peak Ridge: #20   4,420′

East Trail to Rocky Peak Ridge

East Trail to Rocky Peak Ridge (RPR)

The ascent of Rocky Peak Ridge (RPR) from Rt. 9 is a strenuous climb with a terrific pay off. The total ascent amounts to 5,128′ (more than the ascent of Mt. Marcy from the ADK LOJ). The total mileage is about 13.5 miles. The trail rolls over several lesser peaks along the way, descending into cols between high points and meandering over many expanses of open rock with amazing views. The trail goes over Blueberry Cobbles, Mason Mountain, Bald Peak, and Rocky Peak on it’s way to the summit of Rocky Peak Ridge. (Yes, Rocky Peak and Rocky Peak Ridge are two separate and distinct parts of the same mountain, the summit of this high peak is called Rocky Peak Ridge).

Artistic rendering of the East Trail to RPR

Artistic rendering of the East Trail to RPR

The trail starts at a trail head on Route 9 near New Russia. Look for this sign:

Trail sign at the parking area on Rt. 9 near New Russia

Trail sign at the parking area on Rt. 9 near New Russia

The trail begins with a nice walk through the woods and gradually gains elevation. After two miles on this pleasant trail you come to Blueberry Cobbles at 2,080′. There is an alternate route that bypasses the summit of Blueberry Cobbles, saving some elevation gain and rejoining the trail on the other side. This bypass is only slightly shorter. Just before this split there is a nice view point.

Continuing on the trail climbs up and over Mason Mt with first hints of rock sections and breathtaking views. After a short decent into a col, the climb starts to get a bit more strenuous. At 4 miles from the trail head, Bald Peak is 3,060′ tall. This is where the open rock sections start in earnest. There’s a really big rock up there that’s fun for bouldering. This section is a walk along an open ridge with breathtaking views; which have the potential to be disheartening as you can see your next challenge (Rocky Peak) looming ahead. Bald Peak on it’s own would be a lovely destination for a hike.

Ty and me on trail enjoying the view

Ty and me on trail enjoying the view

Tiera pointing to our next destination, Rocky Peak

Tiera on Bald Peak pointing to our next destination, Rocky Peak

Tiera and Tyler at one of the many steep sections of the trail

Tiera and Tyler at one of the many steep sections of the trail

Once up the challenging side of Rocky Peak, at 4,060′, there is a fantastic view point where you can see in all directions. From there the trail dips into the col between Rocky Peak and Rocky Peak Ridge where the trail encounters the tranquil Mary Louise Pond. The pond has a unique beauty nestled between the peaks. Moving around the pond and up is the final half mile push to the summit of RPR.

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Mary Louise Pond at 6.1 miles into the hike, in the col between Rocky Peak and RPR.

Looking back at Mary Louise Pond, Rocky Peak, and Bald Peak from the side of RPR.

Looking back at Mary Louise Pond, Rocky Peak, and Bald Peak from the side of RPR.

Once on the rocky top of RPR continue until you find the massive cairn marking the summit. There is an closeup view of neighboring Giant and it’s slides, and amazing views of the Dix Range, Colvin Range, and Great Range. On a clear day you can also see the Marcy group and the MacIntyres. Enjoy the beautiful summit but be prepared for a windy and cold stay up there.

There are two trail options from the summit of RPR, the long trail back to Rt. 9 or the trail to Giant. (See the description of that trail here) Either way, the trail from the summit requires more elevation gain and several miles, so be prepared with lots of water and snacks! See the final picture of this post for a view with some of the mountains labeled.

Tyler, Tiera and I at the summit cairn on RPR

Tyler, Tiera and I at the summit cairn on RPR

Tiera and her hula-hoop, continuing the awesome tradition of hula hooping in epic places (With Giant to the right and

Tiera and her hula-hoop, continuing the awesome tradition of hula hooping in epic places                                                   (with Giant to the right and a fantastic view of the Great Range behind her)

Happy hiker summit shot with

Happy hiker summit shot with Dix behind me in red, Dial in pink, Allen in white, Haystack in orange, Marcy in yellow, Colden in green, Algonquin in blue, and Wright in purple.

Happy hiking!

Giant and Rocky Peak Ridge via The Ridge Trail (Zander Scott Trail)

Giant (in yellow) and Rocky Peak Ridge (in red) as seen from Gothics.

Giant (in yellow) and Rocky Peak Ridge (in red) as seen from Gothics.

Giant: #12  4,627′
Rocky Peak Ridge: #20   4,420′

Ridge Trail to Giant in yellow, trail to RPR in pink.

Ridge Trail to Giant in yellow, trail to RPR in pink.

Giant and Rocky Peak Ridge are fantastic mountains with amazing views. As they are the furthest east of the 46 High Peaks you get views of most of the other 46, as well as into Vermont on a clear day. From these peaks you will have a birds-eye view of the Dix Range, the Colvin Range, and the Lower Great Range.

There are several ways to climb these peaks. For those working on the 46 it makes sense to do both peaks in one hike.  A 1.8 mile trail connects the summits. For other hikers, either one of the peaks provides a nice day hike. Rocky Peak Ridge can be hiked on the longer, more challenging but beautiful trail from Rt. 9 (which I will post a trip report on soon).

For this hike, up the Ridge Trail, the starting point is the Giant trail head near Chapel Pond on Rt. 73. Look for these signs.

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Ashley giving the sign a hug!

Ashley giving the sign a hug!

 

Know Before You Go…

On my first hike up Giant I made a few rookie mistakes. It was only my 5th High Peak and my first time being my own guide. Here are some tips that might help you avoid some of those mistakes.

– Read over the Trail Guide Book carefully before you go.

– If you want to be a 46-R, unless you have specific plans to hike Rocky Peak Ridge from the other side you should just do it from Giant. Otherwise you will have to hike all the way back up Giant to do RPR. If you do plan to tackle it from Rt. 9, be aware that it is more elevation gain than climbing Mt. Marcy, and almost the same mileage.

– Be sure to look at the map and not just go by the book and the signs. There are several names for this trail, Trail 48, The Ridge Trail and The Zander Scott Trail. They are the same thing. The Roaring Brook Trail, however, is a different route up Giant.

– Also note, as is painfully obvious on the map, that the Giant’s Nubble view-point is NOT on the way to the summit via the Ridge Trail, it is a side trip a mile in the wrong direction… Oh yes, yes I did, and it added two miles to the hike.

Although the Nub provides great views of the area, it is a completely unnecessary side trip. It will not only add two miles and about an hour and a half to your trip, it will also add elevation and sap your energy. The second half of the Ridge Trail hike is essentially one massive view-point. You really can do without the extra side trip to the Nub.

Anyways…

– If you are doing this hike early in the season be prepared for a lot of water. The trail literally becomes a beautiful mountain stream with fast, deep, cold water that you must cross several times. If you are unprepared for this you are likely to have wet feet for the rest of the day, which really wasn’t so bad. I actually thought crossing and recrossing the stream was awesome.

Patti crossing the stream the for the first of many times in Mid May.

Patti crossing the stream the for the first of many times in Mid May.


The Trail

The first 0.7 miles up to the Giant’s Washbowl is a moderate climb of switchbacks and some more gradual grades. The hike starts to gain elevation right at the start. When you are almost to the Washbowl you will come to a flat section; here there is a lovely view-point that always manages to surprise me. You do gain quite a bit of elevation in that first section, and this view-point is a nice reward.

A quick walk further down the trail is the Washbowl, basically a mountain pond. A wooden bridge forms an easy walkway across the Washbowl.

Trail sign at the Washbowl. Yes it says Nubble 0.8, Giant via Ridge Trail 2.2 BUT DO NOT BE FOOLED, the Nub is NOT on the way to the summit!

Trail sign at the Washbowl. Yes it says Nubble 0.8, Giant via Ridge Trail 2.2 BUT DO NOT BE FOOLED, the Nub is NOT on the way to the summit!

Me crossing the Washbowl.

Me crossing the Washbowl.

Just past the Washbowl on the right is a really nice camping spot, that one day I want to make use of. The trail now continues at a gradual to moderate grade for 0.3 miles to a junction with the trail to the Nub. Stay to the R to get to Giant.

Now the trail starts to get steep, with lots of rocks. There are a bunch of switchbacks that help ease the climb along the way. But don’t be discouraged! Once you are past the switchbacks the trail begins to open up to a series of open rock areas with breath-taking views!

Ashley posing for dramatic affect. Our "short cut" to the Nub made the rest of the climb seem that much harder.

Ashley posing for dramatic effect. Our “short cut” to the Nub made the rest of the climb seem that much harder.

As the trail climbs higher it breaks out into many sections of open rock that are clearly marked with arrows and paint flares.

As the trail climbs higher it breaks out into many sections of open rock that are clearly marked with arrows and paint flares.

A great view of the Washbowl and Round Mountain from further up the trail.

A great view of the Washbowl and Round Mountain from further up the trail.

On those open rock areas be sure to pay attention to the yellow paint flares and various cairns that mark the correct path up. It’s easy to get distracted by the view!

These cairns (rock piles) aid hikers in staying on the right path up wide expanses of open rock when there is snow on the trail or poor visibility.

These cairns (rock piles) aid hikers in staying on the right path up wide expanses of open rock, especially when there is snow on the trail or poor visibility.

At the top of a long open rock face there is a junction with a sign that always makes me chuckle. The trail splits into two sections for about 100 yards and then reunites. Either way is fine, over the bump provides a view-point and is a little bit longer than going around. This is the sign:

IMG_0779The trail continues in and out the woods and over rock areas to another junction. You are now about 2.4 miles from the start of the trail. Here the trail meets up with an alternate trail from Rt. 73 called the Roaring Brook Trail (trail 47). Keep going! You’ve got about 0.6 miles until the final junction.

After more climbing, at the top of a rock face you will see the sign telling you that Giant’s true summit is only 0.1 miles away! If you are headed there, the hard work is done, it’s an easy walk over to the view-point. If you are headed to RPR, get ready for some serious descending.

The junction of the Ridge Trail up Giant with the Rocky Peak Ridge trail.

The junction of the Ridge Trail up Giant with the Rocky Peak Ridge trail.

To Giant…

The final 0.1 miles is a very easy walk over to the true summit with great views to the west and northwest. Want to know exactly what peaks you are looking at? Check out this AMAZING webpage that labels each High Peak view from each summit. CHECK IT OUT HERE!!!!

Ashley and I on Giant's chilly summit.

Ashley and I on Giant’s chilly summit in 2013.

Patti enjoying a summit nap with a stunning view of the Dix Range.

Patti enjoying a summit nap with a stunning view of the Dix Range, and side view of the Colvin Range. This is from May 2014

Summit victory shot!

Summit victory shot on an incredibly clear day!


To Rocky Peak Ridge…

As you turn right from the junction you will get this view of Rocky Peak Ridge.

Ashley in the first steps toward RPR from the junction.

Ashley in the first steps toward RPR from the junction.

Don’t be intimidated by how far away it seems. I have found while hiking that “objects are closer than they appear.” But I will be honest, the trail down the backside of Giant is ROUGH. With many short steep parts. You will lose about 800 feet of elevation very quickly. The return trip up Giant is FIERCE for a beginner. Give yourself time for this climb and ample water.

Once you reach the col (low point of the ridge between two mountains) you will encounter a very pleasant trail up to Rocky Peak Ridge. With minor steep parts as you reach the summit, gaining a total of about 600 feet from the col.

Col between the mountains.

Col between the mountains.

The summit of Rocky Peak Ridge is lovely. It offers a spectacular up close view of Giant and of the neighboring Dix Range. Rocky Peak Ridge itself is a beautiful mountain with a long ambling spine that hosts an alternate trail up to the summit from Rt. 9.

Giant, as seen from RPR.

Giant, as seen from RPR.

Cairn marking RPR's summit.

Cairn marking RPR’s summit.

Ashley and I on RPR's summit.

Ashley and I on RPR’s summit.

View down the other side of Rocky Peak Ridge towards Rt. 9.

View down the other side of Rocky Peak Ridge towards Rt. 9.

Happy hiking!

Cascade and Porter

Cascade (in red) and Porter (in blue) as seen from Colden.

Cascade (in red) and Porter (in blue) as seen from Colden.

Cascade: #36  4,098′
Porter: #38 4,059′
Total Mileage: 5.7 miles

Cascade and Porter are a great introduction to the ADK 46 High Peaks. This is strenuous but very doable half day hike and is great for beginners. Cascade is considered to be the easiest of the high peaks to hike, and even has Porter as a close neighbor to make an easy two summit hike.

Although it is considered an easy High Peak, it is not an easy mountain. As far as hikes go in New York, High Peaks are by their nature more difficult than a typical day hike. Be sure that you are properly equipped with ample food and water, as well as dressed properly with well-worn in boots. Be sure to bring rain gear and a warm layer for the windy summit! Remember that weather is often unpredictable in the High Peaks area and the trails are often wet and muddy. If this is your first High Peak hike it will likely take about 4-6 hours depending on your ability and the length of your brakes on the summits.

There are several places to park near the Cascade Lakes and a path along the side of the road between the lots for safe access to the trail head. You can actually see the mountain from the road! Look for the Cascade/Pitchoff sign, from that parking lot the trail will descend into the woods to a sign in box. There the trail begins.

Look for this sign for parking... or to get in some pull-ups.

Look for this sign for parking… or to get in some pull-ups.

Cascade's bald rocky summit as seen from Rt. 73.

Elizabeth pointing out Cascade’s bald rocky summit as seen from Rt. 73.

Josh signing us in!

Josh signing us in!

Starting at the trail head on Rt. 73 next to the Cascade Lakes, trail 90 meanders 2.1 miles up the side of Cascade to a junction. The first section of the hike is very moderate, but things get slightly more steep as you get close to a mile in. The trail continues alternating steeper grades and level sections until 1.8 miles in, where there is a nice view!

View on the way up Cascade in late May.

View on the way up Cascade in late May, with snow still on many mountains.

A bit down the trail from the view-point you will reach a junction. Continuing forward will bring you the final 0.3 miles to the summit of Cascade. The trail to the right leads down to a small col (low point between two mountains), and then at a gradual grade up to the summit of Porter (marked only by trail signs to other locations).

Adjusting our Microspikes at the trail junction. Yes that is ice, yes it is late May.

Adjusting our Microspikes at the trail junction. Yes that is ice on the trail, yes it is late May.

The walk over to the summit of Cascade from the junction is brief but wet, then steeply climbs up the open rock of the summit.

A very wet trail, with the summit just ahead!

A very wet trail, with the summit just ahead!

The final summit push on open rock is very clearly marked with yellow paint flares.

The final summit push on open rock is very clearly marked with yellow paint flares.

The climb is pretty steep at points, take care to follow the paint flares.

The climb is pretty steep at points, take care to follow the paint flares.

On the summit with Josh and Elizabeth!

On the summit with Josh and Elizabeth!

Enjoying the amazing views! You can see Marcy just to the right of me, and Colden to the left behind me, and further to the left, a snowy Algonquin.

Enjoying the amazing views! You can see Marcy just to the right of me, and Colden to the left behind me, and further to the left, a snowy Algonquin.

Having fully enjoyed the summit of Cascade we headed back down to the junction and quickly covered the 0.7 miles down, up and across to Porter. The trail there was very snowy and icy, even in late May! Our microspikes really were the perfect footwear. The trail is a moderate climb across to Porter, but levels out when you reach a giant boulder. The summit itself is a small open area with a view of Cascade to the Northwest, and a similar view of the Great Range as seen from Cascade.

The icy trail to Porter

The icy trail to Porter

On top of the giant boulder that's on the side of the trail.

On top of the giant boulder that’s on the side of the trail.

The summit of Porter, not nearly as exciting as Cascade, but still good!

The summit of Porter, not nearly as exciting as Cascade, but still good!

Cascade, as seen from Porter.

Cascade, as seen from Porter.

Once on top of Porter we enjoyed the view for a bit then began the return trip. As we were hiking in the “off-season” there were only a few other hikers we encountered during our trip. We had the rare privileged of having some time on both summits completely to ourselves. On our way down we started to discuss what type of pie we would get at the Noon Mark Diner!

Remember, on weekends in the summer Cascade is usually extremely crowded. Not only does that impact parking availability, but also the quality of your experience. If you can, avoid weekends when planning your Cascade hike.

Happy hiking!

Map of Cascade and Porter trail

Map of Cascade and Porter trail