Thursday, March 27, 2014

Tabletop & Phelps Mountain Peaks #21 & 22 March 15, 2014

Friendly face welcoming us near Marcy Dam

Marcy Dam

Breaking out the trail on Phelps Mt

near summit of Phelps
Summit of Phelps

By the time we summitted Table Top, the winds and snow were swirling around pretty good in the clouds that had settled in around the high peaks this day

Sign & smiles tell it all, although got chilled very quickly
with high winds and colder temps on summit.
view from Marcy Dam on way back through, you can see the clouds swirling around and limited visibility above 2500 feet or so
In between Marcy Damand the LOJ

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Saying Hi & Bye to Street Mountains & Nye Mountains 2-16-14

The LOJ Road
Nolan and I grew excited as we turned onto LOJ Road and completed this last leg of our 3 hour drive to the high peaks region and we both anticipated that we would be the beneficiaries of  a perfect sunny winter day to climb this pair of peaks. All roads (OKwell maybe not all-just some) lead to the ADK LOJ road when climbing the high peaks and  the view as you enter onto the LOJ road seemingly says; "Welcome & Hello!" setting the mood for the days hike. Cheered by the sight of the ADK LOJ we approached the gate-house and were greeted by an indifferent teenaged young lady playing loud music, who held out her hand saying that will be $10 and promptly took our $10 parking fee without even looking at us, and closed the window.
Oh well, every climb is kinda like Christmas morning with the excitement and anticipation of the climb, so we moved quickly to the parking area to set off on the days adventures....Once again, bear with me and I'll complete the writing in a week or so, until then enjoy the photos!!!

Beautiful snow-covered, wind swept trees near summit of Street Mountain
More of the lovely snow-covered, wind swept forests near summit of Street Mountain
Summit view from Street Mountain
Close up View of Algonquin from Street Mountain (can even see the hikers going up and at the top)
Close up of Wright Mountain from Street Mountain (can even see the cairns silhouettes)

the only sign you're at the summit of Street Mountain
Summit marker on NYE Mountain a less than impressive reward for such a gruelling climb
As you approach the summits you do get views(don't forget to turn around and look once in a while) along the trails that are quite stunning, so enjoy! As the views on Street Mountain are OK, but the views on NYE Mountain are nada!

Close up of Algonquin, Boundary & Iroquois Mtns

Nolan and I on summit of High Peak #20 Street Mountain after completing #19 NYE Mountain

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Moments of Introspection, Peace, and Renewal on Whiteface & Esther Mountains

We step out of the car and the snow crunches below our feet as Nolan and I begin to prepare for todays climb. I inhale deeply the brisk cold air, and stretch like a butterfly morphing from a cocoon. Getting up at 3am plus the 3 hour trip to get here, leaves you a little foggy in the head and stiff in the muscles. The cold air and the nervous excitement quickly re-energizes me  though.  Nolan and I move quickly to suit up and not risk losing core temperature before we even begin the ascent.  There are 3 or 4 parties in the parking lot already, most of whom are almost ready to go. We check each other out and some nod and smile.   Ice spikes are a given today, but we both agree after seeing trail conditions and reading ADK trail reports, that our snowshoes are likely not needed today. The winds are light and the sun is out, so it promises to be a beautiful day for this climb. We quickly pass  a couple of groups in the first mile or two as we start the ascent.

As you trudge up and down mountain trails for hours and what seems like at times, endless miles of forested trails, you have a lot of time to think. Unlike mountains in the west where you often drive up to the trailhead at the base of the mountain, the Adirondack peaks generally are accessible after climbing over many smaller peaks and mountains and over many miles of rugged mountain terrain to get to the respective mountain. So, you have a lot of time, to challenge in your own mind; many of your beliefs and ideas. A lot of time to relive the past, and a  lot of time to dream and plan for the future. Nolan's a great son, but he is a teenager. Although he seems eager and happy to share conversation related to the days events, apparatus, or perhaps history along this journey, the  real mind-bending and philosophical conversation I might enjoy, is a no-no.

 Most times there is no cell phone coverage, so we don't even try. Nolan will snap an occasional photo with his cell and send it to a friend if coverage is available, but otherwise he's like me, and forgets about the device for the day. Often it's so cold on these winter hikes, electronics don't work anyway.

 Business calls, so enjoy the photos for now and I'll try to finish this post over the coming weekend.........................

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Standing on Mountains Is Good For Your Health. Echo Cliff, Panther Mountain, NY Jan.4, 2014

Panther Mountain and the Southern Adirondacks are a relatively short drive (1 hour) from Whitesboro. Especially, when  making the choice to head to the High Peaks Region which can take upwards of 2.5 - 3 hours depending on the weather and road conditions or to stay somewhat "local".

Che and I arrived at the Echo Cliff trail-head and I was pleased to see we were the only one there at the parking area. I was even more surprised to see that no one had been up since January 1, three days before. Got the snowshoes on,  and together Che and I thoroughly enjoyed the pleasantly gruelling but less than a mile climb up, through the beautiful 12-15 inches of fresh powder.  I felt especially refreshed and rejuvenated by the brilliant sunshine and the dose of much needed vitamin D. The exercise (or exorcism if you will) along with the bright sun and brilliant white snows,  helped to dissolve a case of SAD I endured(seasonal affliction disorder), due to the weeks of very dark, grey, and bitterly cold  weather we have experienced.

Che and I enjoyed a few joy filled and blissful hours together on the mountain. A few hours when cares seemed far away and put in perspective. A few hours when Che was a puppy once more, and I was nine years old  again, and  exploring the hills near my home in Japan trying to get the best vantage point of Mt Fuji, many miles away across the Kwanto plain.  

"What's takin you so long boss?" Che waits for me on the trail ahead. Must be nice to have 4-wheel drive!
Looked like feet sticking out from under the foot trail marker

Snow covered tree roots near Echo Cliff over-look
Pristine (except for Che's tracks) No one here since Jan1!
View of Piseco Lake

Panorama from Echo Cliff on Panther Mountain, January 4, 2014

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Cascade & Porter Mtns 11.30.13 The Love Affair Continues

Summit of Cascade Mountain
View of famous Red Barn in Keene on our way to Cascade-Porter trail-head
 Although not officially a winter 46er climb, we could have advanced the date 30 days on this post and easily convinced ourselves and any reader that we did indeed do a winter climb. The snow though not real deep, (maybe 6" to a foot in spots) featured areas of slick ice and hard crunchy snow mixed in with sandy powder, that convinced Nolan and I the micro-spikes and gators were a good move today. Especially on the way down, as we saw many climbers without them struggling through the icy areas and snow with just boots or trail sneakers. We brought pick axes and snow shoes, but found we did not need these, although Nolan gave the shoes a sporting try between Porter and Cascade. The weather though very cold was quite spectacular because we basked in sunshine for most of the hike. By 2:30pm when we got back to the trail-head it started getting pretty cloudy, so starting out at 8:30 we enjoyed the better part of the climb in sunshine and as a result stayed comfortably warm even though it was only around 17 degrees. Starting fairly early also assured we had the peak summits to ourselves for a period of time as we crossed paths with occasional climbers. By the time we were making the descent off of Cascade around 1:00, we crossed paths with maybe 30 or so climbers working their way up Cascade.

A pretty and enjoyable climb of around 7 miles with no real hardships encountered on these just over 4,000 footers.  Except for frozen water lines on our camel backs, which was not a big problem as we had clear water lines up til we made the 2nd summit which was Porter, we had a thoroughly wonderful climb. Cascade & Porter were our 15th & 16th official Adirondack high peaks this year, and Nolan and I both felt this was a great prep for some of our upcoming winter climbs. Like Cascade & Porter, we climbed Big Slide and Lower Wolf Jaws in early spring snowy wintry conditions. We did do our first official high peak; Giant Mountain in February along with  Snowy Mountain and Blue Mountain in January, which are both Adirondack top 100 highest peaks.

Met and chatted with some really cool hard-core 46er's on Porter Mt. We shared a few adventures, exchanged good tidings and went our separate ways.  I have to admit though, that I was taken aback and dismayed by some other hikers that day. From stressed doggies, to tired children and hikers. Some  labored to clambor up the mountain without spikes or proper gear. Others physical fitness were obviously at play. Cascade is probably one of the heaviest travelled peaks, especially in summer and fall. So, we were glad we were blessed with a beautiful late autumn day, albeit a very cold one,
to enjoy this spectacular pair of mountains! These two mountains and climbs also confirmed the special love and relationship Nolan and I are building with this amazing place called the Adirondack High Peaks.
Whiteface Mountain from Cascade
My trekking Poles & Cairn  atop Cascade Mtn

Nolan beats me to the summit of Cascade
Flyin high atop Cascade
View from Cascade

view of Cascade from Porter Mountain