Hello outdoor enthusiasts. The trails are definitely getting more crowded now that the mild weather has settled in. Trails in the Adirondacks are finally firming up and free of ice. I have done my homework for you and here is the latest update that I have.
On May 28 my friend, my two-four legged friends and I set out to finish the Dix Range. We completed all but Hough during this past winter hiking season, and unfortunately I will still have to return to hike Hough yet again to complete it for the winter 46’er. However Hough on May 28 put me at my 36 of 46 peaks in my goal towards completing the 46 High Peaks.
We decided to go in via Elk Lake as we did in the past and do what we never thought we would want to do… climb up Lillian Brook. It made the most sense going in this way, but we knew from our last experience that this was a great way to gain a lot of elevation over a very short distance.
Most of the hike is on a marked and maintained trail from Elk Lake road trail head, but to access Lillian Brook herd path you need to keep your eye out for the man-made cairn several miles in indicating the trail leading northeast up the brook. (Hint… if you made it to the Lillian Brook lean-to you have gone too far). From this point on, it is unmarked and unmaintained; however anyone comfortable in the woods should be able to follow the path this time of year.
The Dix Range is fairly well traveled and the path is considerably worn. In the end I found that hiking up Lillian Brook was nowhere near as bad as I thought it to be, either that or all the snow showing this winter paid off. Surprisingly the bugs were not that bad and we did not see one black fly the entire hike. The trails were still fairly soggy in low lying areas, and unfortunately there was no view that day, just mist and fog. But in the end, it was a fantastic hike! Total time was 7 hours.
On June 4 I set out solo with my pup Ryder. With Gray Peak in the back of my mind, I decided to hike in via Lake Arnold. I have only been on that portion of the trail once before in the winter, and I fell through up to my waist in water… so I felt like I had a score to settle.
The Trail to Marcy Dam is pretty much dry and free of shoe swallowing mud. The Lake Arnold Trail is known for being a mess, and it has only gotten worse. The log bridges are floating in several feet of water. You can walk on them, but they move and sink and sway making it quite an obstacle for anyone who attempts to cross.
It wasn’t long after making it through the aquatic mess that I noticed fresh tracks on the trail. The farther I went the more “fresh” they became until I noticed a wet boot print on a rock, so I knew I was getting close to people, the only people I have seen all day for that matter. Sure enough just before the base of Gray (where the cairn marks the herd path) I ran into two female backpackers from Scranton, Pa. It turned out to be their first trip to the High Peaks, and first hike for that matter.
From what I gathered in our short conversation these girls were inexperienced when it came to Adirondack hiking, but were obviously tough and determined. So I decided with it clouding up and the chance for rain, I was going to save Gray for another day and instead join these ladies on their first High Peak hike ever. I gave them a few pointers and I think the reassurance they needed to let them know they were headed in the right direction and their instincts were accurate.
Though this hike was not one for the count, it meant a lot to me because I know how excited they were to share their first peak with me, another female outdoor enthusiast out there doing what they love. I took several pictures with them and for them, and pointed out all the peaks and ranges. They fell in love with Ryder as everyone always does… he makes friends faster than I do… we shared some more stories and food and then off I headed leaving them to enjoy their glory.
It never rained the entire day, and I ran into more people than I normally do on a hike, especially for a Wednesday (a sign of the busy season to come, and one of the most popular hikes in the High Peaks). I even ran into one of our Front Desk attendants, Heather, who was also out that day enjoying the local activities Lake Placid has to offer.
At the end of the day I was sad that I blew off Gray, especially knowing it didn’t end up raining. I killed the time (starting at 8:00 ending at 3:20 and just shy of 16 miles), but I was more excited about sharing something amazing with two strangers that for two hours on that day were close friends.
I look forward to keeping in touch with them and their journeys now that I am sure… like the rest of us… that they are hooked on the High Peaks.
Stay safe happy and healthy everyone! Now get out and enjoy yours, and maybe I will see you on the trails!