Category Archives: Hikes

Bigelow Range

After a summer of hiking and the completion of my Adirondack 46, I still have an itch to get out hiking.  This weekend’s blue-sky weather beckoned, despite the unseasonably hot and muggy conditions (highs in the 70s and 80s in late September?), so I turned my attention to the Appalachian high peaks of Maine and headed for the Bigelow Range.  My campsite, in the col between its two major peaks, allowed me to enjoy sunset on the western peak and sunrise on the eastern peak, followed by a beautiful ridge walk. Read on, and check out the photo gallery.

Sunrise from Avery Peak, Bigelow Mountain, Maine.
Sunrise from Avery Peak, Bigelow Mountain, Maine.

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Connecticut River canoe trip

Pam and Andy on our CT River paddle trip.Every year we paddle a little further down the Connecticut River.  Five years ago we started at its source, on the border with Canada, and two years ago we reached our home in Lyme NH.  Not satisfied, we decided to keep going!  This year we paddled from Wilgus State Park (near Ascutney, VT) to Bellows Falls VT.  Although a short trip – two short days with a beautiful sunny Saturday in the middle – it was a lovely trip.  We camped riverside the first night, arriving after sunset and “making do” with a less-than-ideal location.  The second night we stayed at Lower Meadows campsite, a pretty location on a spit next to Meary’s Cove and the lake formed by the dam at Bellows Falls.   Continue reading Connecticut River canoe trip

Rooster Comb

View of Giant Mountain from the Rooster Comb in the Adirondacks.After completing my Adirondack 46ers on Whiteface Mountain (Thursday) and my New York 4000-footers on Hunter Mountain (Friday), I was still drawn to the mountains. On Saturday, my father and I co-led a group of Camp Dudley alumni to the top of Rooster Comb, a small peak in the Keene Valley region of the Adirondacks, which has a fantastic view of Giant Mountain and even Mount Marcy.  [photos.] What a treat!

An osprey perching on a pole in the Champlain valley of Vermont.On Sunday, I left the Adirondacks and crossed Vermont on my way home to New Hampshire. It was such a beautiful day that I had to pause and photograph the ubiquitous Osprey in the Champlain Valley, and take a hike on the Long Trail to catch some views toward New Hampshire from the Middlebury Snow Bowl. [photos.] We are lucky to live in such beautiful states.

Hunter Mountain

View from the outlook near the summit of Hunter Mountain.I took a quick trip up Hunter Mountain, in the Catskills of southern New York, to top off my list of 4000-footer peaks in New York.  (There are two such peaks outside the Adirondacks, both in the Catskills; I climbed Slide Mountain in 1976.)

A nest of three juvenile garter snakes on the summit of Hunter Mountain.It was a pleasant day on the Becker Hollow trail, which provides a steady but stiff inclined route up the side of the valley.  As it nears the head of the valley the trail becomes steep, finally topping out at the flat, tree-covered summit at 4,046′.  I explored a side trail to a nice westerly overlook on some sunny rocks, only to discover I was not the only one enjoying those sunny rocks: a nest of small garter snakes writhed in one small niche, while another larger snake patrolled nearby.  See the gallery for a video.

Distance: 5.0mi round-trip.  Elevation gain: 2,219′.  Time: 1h9m climb,

Completing the Adirondack 46

David on the summit of Whiteface.
David summits Whiteface Mountain, for the second time, to make it “count” for his 46.

It took 45 years, but I finally completed what I started.

When I was a young boy my family would make frequent trips to the Adirondack Mountains of northern New York state, camping and hiking in this beautiful “forever wild” region of high peaks, beautiful brooks, ample wildlife, and pristine lakes.  Inspired by my father’s love for these mountains, and his encouragement, I started racking up the miles and the mountains.  I discovered the concept of a 46er – a person who climbs all 46 of the peaks thought to be over 4000′ elevation, at least according to the 19th-century surveyors.  I was hooked, and set out to achieve this goal myself.  Today I finished – read on, and check out the photos.

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Clyming Lyme from bottom to top

I’ve lived in Lyme, NH for almost 20 years, very close to its lowest point along the Connecticut River.  I first climbed to the summit of Smarts Mountain, Lyme’s highest point, 35 years ago this fall. Now, when I row my shell up the river and past the mouth of Grant Brook, I can see Smarts in the distance, looking regal in its oversight of this wonderful town we call home.  I knew that Grant Brook’s source lay high on the slopes of Smarts Mountain, so it occurred to me: could I travel from Lyme’s lowest point to its highest point, completely off-road?  Yes! Read on, and check out the photos.

The mouth of Grant Brook, with its source, Smarts Mountain in view at rear.
The mouth of Grant Brook, with its source, Smarts Mountain, in view at rear.

Continue reading Clyming Lyme from bottom to top

Seward Range

I saw an unusually long sequence of sunny days ahead and leapt at the chance to snag the four peaks of the Seward Range, a rugged and remote section of the Adirondacks High Peaks. The result?  Blood, sweat, and tears (pick two).

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Emmons, Donaldson, and Seward from Seymour.

The four peaks in this range – Emmons, Donaldson, Seward, and Seymour, from south to north – are each over 4000′ elevation, and thus members of the 46 Adirondack high peaks. (At least they’re an honest 4000′, unlike my recent peaks Couchsachraga, Nye, and Cliff.) When I studied the map last year, I was struck by the remoteness of these peaks – compared the central high peaks region, they are completely trailless, and to reach even the base of these mountains are many miles from the trailhead.  I imagined myself crashing through dense spruce forest with a compass and a hope that I’d not wander off into a trackless drainage. Not so. Continue reading Seward Range