Saturday, June 15, 2013

Sunny Skylight and Gray 2013-06-15

Daniel (HikerDan), Brian (SummitHat), John (MtnManJohn), and I left Upper Works at 7:15 AM on a cool and sunny morning. The recent rains did a good job of replenishing the Calamity Brook trail's famous mud. We met a group of hikers near the Henderson Memorial and did a few permutations of group-photos.

Brian at Flowed Lands.
At Flowed Lands, we watched the stillness of its surface broken by a lone swimming dog. A quick curve around the bay revealed the "Pi Bridge", across Herbert Brook, has had its swaybacked handrail replaced and no longer looks like the letter "pi". More strength but less character.

The view of Mount Colden from the Colden Dam was textbook perfect. The Opalescent was running well and its waterfalls were in full. More mud greeted our feet near Uphill Brook.

Fishing for photos along the Opalescent River.
As we ascended to Lake Tear I played a favorite game to pass the elevation away: try catching up to the source of the muddy boot-prints ahead of me. Ahah! The prints are getting wetter and muddier so we're closing in on our quarry! But how close? Half-hour, more or less? Halfway up Gray we met the author of the muddy glyphs, none other than Brian (Pathgrinder), descending from the summit. His itinerary matched ours and he was on his way to Skylight. Atop Gray we congratulated Dan for ascending his 34th peak. We paused for lunch and to shoot the breeze.

No bad views today.
Earlier I had noticed Brian was holding his camera upside down while taking photos. The reason was to minimize the distortion caused by a scratched lens. When equipped with its mini-tripod, Brian's camera had a very amusing appearance.

Gen one GPS? Tivo? Digital divining rod?
Back at Lake Tear, we met several hikers including a few who appeared to be out for a run in the park on a sunny afternoon. At Four Corners, I opted out of the traditional of carrying a rock to Skylight's summit. Funny how some traditions escape LNT ("Leave rocks, plants and other natural objects as you find them.").

John looking northeast on Skylight's summit.
Skylight became Dan's 35th peak and Brian's sixth round. Hearty congratulations were exchanged and we settled in for a spell. I chatted with newlyweds from Ithaca celebrating their honeymoon in the High Peaks (once again, congrats David and Nicole). Using our four cameras, they snapped pictures of our merry little band atop Skylight's hillock of transplanted stones.

John, Brian, Daniel, and moi.
I suppose if we all didn't have somewhere else to be the following day we'd have languished on Skylight a good deal longer. After a slight delay due to a glut of hikers ahead of us, we overtook them at Four Corners and sped down along Feldspar Brook.

There had been talk of heading to Cliff to add a 36th notch to Dan's belt. Upon reaching the Redfield/Cliff junction, he decided to leave Cliff for another day. The extra time needed for Cliff would cause an uncomfortably late return home; Cliff will wait for him. To give Dan a sample of what's in store, John led him farther along to experience the herd-path's copious mud. Upon their return, John's freshly muddied boots said it all.

We stopped at Flowed Lands for a break and I wandered off to the lean-to to chat with its occupants. One of their group, allegedly shod in "wrestling shoes", arrived and I recognized him from earlier in the day. He was an aspiring 46er who we had congratulated on Gray and Skylight (28 peaks if I'm not mistaken). Before long, the black flies interest in me became difficult to ignore. At about the same moment, Dan informed me the others had already left. Off we went to catch up with our buddies.

Picture-perfect day.
Lost in conversation, the remaining miles rolled by with minimal effort. Shortly before the trail-head, we crossed a substantial patch of mud. It didn't seem much different from other mud we had crossed but, in the car, my sodden trail shoes smelled like a drainage ditch. Well, nothing that a garbage bag couldn't fix.

Back at the trail-head we all agreed it had been an enjoyable day and we briefly discussed doing other hikes in the future. We retreated to our respective cars to clean up and, with the exception of Brian who was heading to Schroon Lake, begin the long drive back home to Ottawa, Montreal, and Albany.  Although we live many miles apart, we are drawn together by the siren call of the Adirondacks.

See all photos.

Brian's photos.

John's photos.

No comments:

Post a Comment