I know, I know. I have five other mountains to tell you about along with the rest of the details from my most recent overnight trip, but I’m bursting at the seams: I’m (un)officially an Adirondack 46er!
I say it like that because technically I won’t have my registered number until February and won’t be able to buy any 46er gear until that’s issued. You better believe that the decal for my car and patch for my pack will be ordered ASAP once I receive it.
Where to start? Paula and I were on the road at four-thirty and in the parking lot near the Ausable Club shortly after 6am. We geared up and hiked on the road, in the dark, past the club and to register. We were the second people to sign it but the first heading to Sawteeth; first on the summit we thought. It was a long walk in on the dirt road, about four miles, and for the majority of the way we were quiet. I think we were both reflecting on how far we had come and what was about to happen.
Paula was still feeling tired from our excursion earlier in the week and decided on the shorter, more direct route up the mountain. Although I was a little bummed for not taking the scenic route, I reminded myself that I too was a little slower than normal AND that the mountain wasn’t going anywhere, anytime soon. This was an easy enough hike that I could take people back and enjoy a new route in the future.
I was horrible this trip and took very little notes and photographs along the way. I know at one point we stopped, already on the trail, for a bathroom break around 8am. We must have cruised down that dirt road!
The trail up wasn’t too difficult and fairly steady. We took our time and only broke down once in tears… it was bound to happen at least once this trip! We enjoyed a snack and shortly after wiping away the tears, we ended up being just a few yards below the split… only half a mile until the summit!
This was a little “trickier” with a few rocks that we had to scramble up, but nothing that made us stop and think twice. I stuck closer to Paula knowing that we wanted to reach the summit together and within no time, we were there! But we really didn’t know it because there was no marker or disc = poo! We searched around, took a look at the views, snapped tons of photographs, exchanged t-shirts (she got me a great tee from Life Is Good with a hiker gal on it) and then bundled up to head back down. It was definitely autumn and chilly in a tank top!
On our way down we took our time, chatted with a ton of people, and even met one woman who was finishing up on Sawteeth as well! The celebration began as soon as we hit that dirt road: I brought a big ‘o bottle of hard sparkling cider to sip on as we walked the four miles or so out! It was delicious and just what we needed/wanted/deserved!
On the way out I realized that I hiked 42 out of the 46 mountains within the last 15 months; that’s about 3 mountains a month. For those of you curious about the other four, I hiked my first two high peaks (Cascade and Porter) on December 26, 2010 and had no clue that there was this “club” I could work toward being a part of. The other two (Algonquin and Wright) were hiked on July 2, 2011 and it wasn’t until I was back in the car did I learn about the possibility of becoming a 46er… if I had known earlier in the day, I would have gone for Iroquois as well! My crazy friend Marla is the one who took me out for both of those trips and I can’t wait until she finishes up her last couple to join the club!
We were back at the car at one o’clock and decided to head to the ADK Cafe for lunch. I don’t know how I’ve never been to this place before! It was cozy and warm, small, and everything was homemade… right down to the pickles! There were so many options for me on that short menu as a vegan, but I went with the grilled sandwich with a white bean spread, pesto, and slices of tomatoes. It came with their homemade chips but I couldn’t resist their homemade fries (duh!) that were mixed of regular and sweet potatoes. I ate every last bite!
It was a great day. I was home while it was still light out and was surprised by the beau when we walked in the door. The giving tree was all lit up with a bouquet of flowers and a six pack of Adirondack Ale; he knows me too well! I made a HUGE batch of my favorite meal (brown rice, kale and coconut) and we sipped on hot apple cider spiked with caramel vodka while watching Mad Men. Sunday morning I slept in and didn’t have to wake up with an alarm. Can you tell I’m in heaven being home with the beau?
The number one question I’ve gotten over the past 24 hours: what’s next?
Well, I can tell you that I am almost 100% certain that I will not aim for my Winter 46. There were a couple of mountains that didn’t seem safe enough for my crazy self to attempt with ice and snow in the mix. There’s the Northeast 111, 48 in New Hampshire and the 35 of the Catskills that I’d love to summit. Next summer I’m going to aim to thru-hike the Northville Placid trail, which is about 132 miles long. My ultimate goal and other bucket list item is to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail.
All of these are surely in the back of my head but for now, I’m going to focus on other things in my life (i.e. my job at the store, running, being a better roommate). I’d love to hike at least once a month to keep myself in shape and possibly explore local, smaller mountains with friends who are curious but terrified of the 4,000 footers. There are also a couple of people in my life just starting out on their journey as a hiker/46er and I’d love to tag along with them from time to time as well.
It feels surreal to know that I’ve reached this point and have to remind myself to not feel shocked when people congratulate me. I did it. I hiked all 46 4,000 foot mountains in New York State. And I’d do it all over again in a heart beat.
This photograph was taken by my dad. He couldn’t join me on this last hike because he was doing some hiking of his own… at hunting camp. He made it a point to hike East Mountain that morning and send positive vibes my way. Too bad his views weren’t as grand as mine! Next time!