After finishing a Single-Season Winter 46er round this year, I wondered how many peaks remained to complete Spring, Summer, and Fall rounds before year's end. I checked my hiking log and the remaining quantities seemed feasible even when added to my other objectives (completing the NH48 and NE67):.
- 16 for Spring.
- 6 for Summer.
- 18 for Fall.
It didn't take long for me to regret my decision to avoid hiking in soggy October. "Backloading" all my Fall peaks into wintry November and December meant I would have even fewer opportunities to cherry-pick the best days for weather. In addition, I would experience winter-like conditions but without the advantages of what true winter can offer such as smooth, groomed trails compacted by the snowshoes of many aspiring Winter 46ers.
I experienced first-hand that, in late Fall and early Spring, the High Peaks see far less hiker traffic, especially to distant and trail-less peaks. As a result, one is more likely to encounter challenging trail conditions such as several inches of loose untrammeled snow concealing the many hazards of a typical Adirondack trail. I now know that these 'shoulder seasons' present their own set of hurdles to test your mettle. They can produce conditions that are more challenging than found in the dead of winter when popular trails are often 'paved in compacted snow'. There is no question that a bitterly cold winter's day, with miles of breaking trail though deep untracked snow, still tops my list of 'humbling conditions'. However, I've learned that winter doesn't hold a monopoly on teaching one humility.
I'd like to extend my thanks to Neil and Tom who had hiked to Allen on Tuesday to explore the route, break trail, and increase my odds of success on Thursday. Thank you gentlemen! On Thursday, Tom and I were able to complete the hike in ten hours without undue difficulty.
|Crossing the Hudson by head-lamp.|
|Tom tests the Opalescent's frozen surface.|
|This tree and sign no longer exist.|
|The new normal.|
|Skylight Brook. Two small stepping stones make all the difference.|
|Several inches of fresh snow on Allen's slide.|
|Tom and I celebrate another great day in the High Peaks.|
|Appreciating whatever views we can get on a cloudy day.|
|Beavers out for a snack.|
As predicted, we crossed the Hudson bridge under the failing light of dusk and signed out at 4:26 PM. In the parking lot, we met a group of hikers who had just returned from Adams. They were the only other hikers we saw all day. After cleaning up, we settled in for the drive back to Tom's home.
One chapter has ended and it's time to move on to the next. I have a three peaks remaining to complete my sixth 46er round and two peaks, in the Catskills, to complete the NE115. Beyond that, the Grid (12-month version) makes for a nice long-term distraction.
|Newly minted Four-Season Gridiot. :-)|
PhotosSee all photos.
- Distance: 18 miles.
- Ascent: 3850 feet.
- Time: 10h 5m.