Wow. What a solid weekend. I spent it in the Adirondacks. I’ve been talking about the Adirondack 46ers as my next hiking goal, and I got to climb two of the 46 peaks this weekend.
My friend Ed Pirone’s parents have a house up in Elizabethtown NY. He invited me to come along on his trip up there this weekend to take photos of the fall foliage, and I accepted with barely a moment’s hesitation. This was last Tuesday.
I took a personal day on Friday and slept in. Ran my Saturday/Sunday errands and spent some time tooling around the local outdoors shops (Campmor and EMS). We left Friday afternoon and hiked Porter and Cascade mountains on Saturday morning.
It was raining on the way up, so we bypassed the initial jaunt to the summit of Cascade so that we could bag Porter. By the time we got back to the turnoff to the summit of Cascade, the rain had stopped, the sun came out, and the clouds blew away. Cascade is one of the few Adirondack high peaks with a 360-degree view from the summit. It was gorgeous.
And windy. And cold.
Nevertheless, we spent some time up there taking pictures and enjoying the view. In my opinion, there’s really no better way to appreciate the changing colors of autumn than from the top of a mountain. Preferably a mountain that’s taller than everything around it.
And Cascade was that indeed. There were some great views of a couple other nearby ridgelines as well. Once I really get moving on climbing these peaks, I’m sure I’ll be able to name the different mountains on sight. I’m looking forward to that.
This trip was good for me on many levels. One, it got me out of my comfort zone – Ed was driving, it was his house, etc. – so I had to set aside any control-freakishness that might normally come into the picture. That’s a very good thing for me. I’m always happier when I’m just going with the flow and letting the wind direct me.
Two, I got a feel for the Adirondacks – the distance and drive time up, what the terrain and weather are like, what gear I need to pack, etc. It makes planning future trips much easier. The Adirondacks don’t seem quite as out-of-reach as they did a week ago.
Three, it got me back out hiking. Besides the exercise and mindset, it was good for me to spend a bit more time with Mother Nature. Without making any definite plans, I think I’m going to try to bag a few more peaks in the ‘dacks between now and December 22nd, and then go back to hiking the Catskills between 12/22 and 3/22 – to go after that 3500 Club winter rocker for my membership patch. Since I’ve already climbed all those mountains already, it’ll be a bit more mentally manageable for me to do them again with snowshoes and crampons than mountains I haven’t climbed in the Adirondacks.
Four – and these are in no particular order, by the way – I had a chance to spend some quality time with Ed. Not so much “make a new friend” as solidify and broaden an already existing friendship. Ed’s a big snowboarder and will be in the ‘dacks pretty much every weekend this winter, but I’m hoping to play to his eye for photography and drag him up a mountain or two in the Catskills. Winter bushwacks are attended by phenomenal scenery.
Life is good. I’m centered. Besides the exercise and resulting brain-wave levelling-out that hiking brings me, I was glad to be reminded this weekend how much I enjoy everything about hiking (with the right gear, of course).