Another quick trip to the Adirondacks before winter arrives, and five more mountains climbed, bringing me to 29 out of the 46 High Peaks complete. Here are a few notes and some pictures from Blake and Colvin…
- When hiking in the Adirondacks, you must have a plan in place not only for the trails you intend to follow, but also for parking — especially on a holiday weekend. Alarm set for 4:30 AM — breakfast at Stewart’s — I arrive at the public parking area in St. Huberts at 6:00 AM — but this was a little conservative, there’s only one other vehicle here.
- The long walk in along Lake Road in the Adirondack Mountain Reserve. A nice smooth dirt road (a real treat for the barefoot hiker), but here and there some gravel. Last time here (late August), I walked on the dirt and grass on the side of the road in places, sidestepping some of the rocks, but this time I march down the middle, wincing from time to time but overall keeping up a good pace. My feet are gradually getting tougher — progress!
- But otherwise, I’m feeling less than energetic….It was dark when I started, and by 7:00 AM, the forest is lightening, but still a very dim day, foggy and overcast, and this weighs on my spirits. Or maybe the problem was having a cup of regular coffee with breakfast, instead of espresso. I’ve had some success in limiting alcohol and sugar, but espresso appears to rule my life.
- In any case, it’s a very nice trail by the Gill Brook, and I tramp along admiring the cascades and pools and appreciating the soft dirt path. I suspect (and this is later confirmed) that the Adirondack Mountain Reserve has its own crew working on its trails, and it shows. When I reach the boundary with State Forest, the trail deteriorates into a more typical Adirondack path, which is to say pretty washed out.
- Colvin is reached in due course. The day remains overcast, misty, and dim, and there are no views. The notch between Colvin and Blake is steep in places, but not as bad as I’d been warned to expect. There are no views at Blake, either.
- On the return trip, I hear voices behind me, so I pick up the pace, trotting and running in places, especially on the nicer section of trail (back in the AMR). After moving at a quicker pace for a while, I stand aside, let some hikers pass, and now I meander along, studying the cascades and pools in the Gill Brook. People talk about “being in the flow,” and this state of mind has become a focus for psychologists and journalists, but the Gill Brook makes it look so easy. Since our bodies are 60-70% water, maybe we’re flowing all the time and just don’t realize it.
- Strolling back out along Lake Road, all day it’s been a gray, misty, dim, and overcast, but turning the corner past the AMR clubhouse, suddenly a little bit of sun breaks out and lights up the leaves. Five minutes later, the clouds move back in, but that quick show was all that’s needed to make this a glorious fall day — and what a surprise to remember that it’s the peak for fall foliage, when up in the boreal forests, all was dark green and gray.
- 15 miles done, and here’s another surprise: I was the first person to sign in at the register this morning, but now there are three pages full of names. And the parking lot is full.
- As I drive off, a dramatic scene: clouds pushing across the summits, curling around the high slopes, and then breaking apart over the valley and letting in a few more flickers of light.