Hi blogging friends,
On Friday, October 3rd Michael and I took the day off from work to climb two of the high peaks in the Adirondacks. We left the house early and reached Keene, which is near Lake Placid, around 8:30 a.m. We were the sixth vehicle to park alongside NY 73; it was mostly sunny and 46 degrees.
The main trailhead is at Cascade Pass, overlooking Cascade Lake. It was a slow start for me as I wasn't feeling very well. I even thought about not doing the climb, but we had taken the time off and were here so there was no turning back ... LOL!
From the trailhead, we descended a log-framed staircase to the register and off we went.
The route begins climbing a rocky and root strewn path. About a mile in, the trail swings northeast and continues ascending rock slabs through a gradually thinning forest. We hiked through a mix of birch, beech and striped maples. Heading up, we spoke to many other hikers. Everyone was so friendly, and of course, we had to stop and let them pass. Then there's the photo op stops. Good thing we weren't in a hurry.
After climbing steadily for 1.8 miles, the trail breaks out into its first overlook. I was so excited to see Algonquin, Colden and Marcy appearing in front of me. We took some photos, caught our breath, and got ready for the push to the summit.
Soon we reached the junction for Cascade and Porter. After pausing for a minute or two, we decided to head up to Cascade first. Gee, it was only 0.3 miles away!
Just past this junction, the trail levels into a grassy clearing, then the bald, rocky summit dome of Cascade Mountain appears. The final part of the climb was on very exposed, bare rock as we scrambled to the top, The summit is the result of a 1903 forest fire. I could feel my heart racing!
Yes, we had to climb this!
As we emerged into the brisk winds the sky was blue, the sun was shining and the 360 degree views were incredible. A survey bolt marks the highest point of the mountain.
Looking south you could enjoy views of the Great Range, look north to Whiteface, and east to Hurricane Mountain, Lake Champlain and Vermont's Green Mountains.
If you looked down you saw the speckled grey rock at your feet.
Looking toward the Great Range over Big Slide, the ridge coming in from the left is our next destination, Porter.
We relaxed at the summit for about an hour, having some snacks and "victory chocolate" (for those of you unaware of the concept, a good climb - no matter the length - deserves a delicious reward at the top). Another couple was nice enough to take our picture.
A panorama view ...
It was time to head back to the junction and climb Porter.
This trail was much wetter and occasionally muddy compared to Cascade.
After descending into the col between the two peaks we started to regain elevation. About halfway along, we came to a huge boulder seemingly blocking the ascent.
Going down and around, we spotted a lookout which provided a great view of Porter.
I wasn't sure what to expect once we reached the top, as a hiker had said the views weren't nearly as nice as Cascade. I was thinking to myself, was the side trip to Porter, adding 1.4 miles to the trip, going to be worth it? Well, I can say it definitely did NOT disappoint! While it lacks the pseudo-alpine open summit of Cascade, the views were still gorgeous. You could see the Johns Brook Valley to the east.
It was nice to look at Cascade Mountain, knowing we had already climbed it.
At the top of Porter Mountain.
Colden & MacIntyre Range featuring Algonquin.
Looking at the Great Range with Upper Wolfjaw, Armstrong, Gothics, Saddleback and Basin.
A view of Giant Mountain (could this be my next climb?)
We befriended another couple who brought their dog Dixie with them. She was kind enough to let us take her picture.
By now it was going on 3:00 p.m. and we had to head back. As soon as we started down the Cascade trail I realized I was out of water. I have a CamelBak now with a hydration pack, but didn't realize I was drinking so much on the way up. I felt bad for Michael as I couldn't keep up and he had to keep stopping. My legs were getting tired and I had blisters on both my feet. Once I heard the cars on the highway I knew we were very close to the end. It was a long day, but well worth it in every way. I can say I have climbed two of the 46ers. Now, I just have 44 to go!
Thanks for coming along with us. I'm glad you're not scared of heights. Happy hiking!
Cascade: 4,098 feet, elevation gain: 1,940 feet
Porter: 4,059 feet, elevation gain: 600+ feet
Round Trip: 6.1 miles