With respect to completing the Grid for September, I was full of valiant intention, prepared to squeeze hikes in at odd hours, take the month’s last week off entirely, whatever it would take — but there was still the sore ankle to contend with. So I settled for a 6.6-mile round-trip to Panther Mountain, at night since that was the available window, and instead of covering a lot of ground, I’d look and listen and ponder.
Last August, my friend Dave invited me on a trip to the Adirondacks, and I had so much fun in these gorgeous mountains that here I am back again a year later and this time spending a full week.
In recent months I’ve been doing a great deal of barefoot hiking, in part because of a running injury (barefoot hiking is very slow, and this lets a sore tendon heal) and also because it’s a lot of fun (every step is a small adventure). On a recent barefoot tramp in the Catskills I ran into a hiker who told me of a woman who had completed the 46 Adirondack High Peaks barefoot. Predictably, that comment got me thinking, maybe that was an appropriate goal for me, too…
Arriving in the Daks a few days before Dave and his gang, I decided to try one of the high peaks without shoes, and feeling ambitious, I chose the 16-mile round-trip from New Russia Trailhead to the summit of Giant Mountain, which if I made it would also bag me Rocky Peak along the way. According to the ADK Club website, this route is “difficult” due to the mileage and also 5,300 feet in cumulative elevation gain, but it is also described as “probably the best hike in all the Adirondacks” — and that comment seemed very intriguing.
Here are a few notes from the hike….