On Tuesday, August 9th, I achieved my goal and completed my second round atop Whiteface. On Allen I had raised a glass of Scotch in memory of departed family members. On Whiteface it was a joyous celebration with three generations of my family and a bottle of sparkling wine.
I had originally planned to complete my second round in September. However, my Toronto-based family members could only visit during the second week of August so I accelerated my hiking timetable by one month. The weather forecast for the week of August 8th did not offer the sunniest days of summer. Tuesday was chosen based on a high cloud-ceiling and little chance of rain until late in the afternoon.
I left Montreal a few hours earlier than my family in order to get a head start. The plan was to have everyone on the summit about a half-hour before my arrival. I budgeted a generous four hours to hike the 6.5 miles from Connery Pond to Whiteface's summit. Our cell phones proved very useful for coordinating the summit reunion. Three hours after my departure I was 100 feet from the summit whereas my family was still an hour away!
I left the Connery Pond trailhead at 8:20 AM and followed the broad, smooth trail to Whiteface Landing. Whiteface Landing was busy with young campers preparing breakfast and a motorboat taking on passengers at the dock.
|View from Whiteface Landing.|
|Totem at Whiteface lean-to.|
|Trail to Whiteface,|
The sky was filled with layers of gray clouds but, fortunately, they were all above 5000 feet. It was far from being the 'sunny day' they had predicted but at least it was not raining. After an hour, I changed out of my damp clothes and put on a jacket. I called again and learned that my sister and her family were now on the summit and were waiting for the others to catch up. I informed her to walk towards the scenic viewers and look down towards to the open rocks. She said she was already there and could see one person on a rock. I waved, she laughed, and it was time to finish the ascent.
Hugs and kisses from three generations, six years old to eighty-one, made it the best summit experience of all. Whiteface was busy with tourists and hikers but I felt like we had the place to ourselves. As I headed to Whiteface's official summit, I passed a hiker, a winter 46er, who inquired what was the nature of the celebration and then congratulated me on completing my second round. I thanked him but overlooked to get his name; thank you and I hope we meet again.
|Hugging the youngest member of our clan.|
By the time I reached the junction at Whiteface Landing it had begun to drizzle. Before long, it began to rain heavily. I saw no reason to stop and don a jacket because I was in dire need of a shower. The rain was peppered with sporadic downpours and they spurred me to pick up my pace. I arrived at the trailhead at 4:10 PM and signed out. I had planned to head to Tmax and Topo's for a shower but there was now little need for it. A few minutes to clean up and change clothes and I was ready for the pub.
After a hearty meal, washed down with plenty of Ubu beer, my wife presented me with a memorable dessert. A simple tray of brownies was adorned with blazing candles that read: 46 x 2. It was a tasty end to the meal and a wonderful finish to the day.
|Dessert fit for a 46er.|