This is the view from Middle Sugarloaf in New Hampshire.
Saturday October, 5th I woke up at 3:00 AM to ride with a friend five hours to the High Peaks region of the Adirondack park in NY. Our plan was to summit two of the 46 high peaks in the region on our hike. We planned to hike up Giant Mountain and then depending on time, as we had to drive back that night and wanted to be off the mountain before dark, hike Rocky Peak Ridge. Giant Mountain is the 12th highest peak out of the Adirondack 46 and Rocky Peak Ridge is number 20 on the list.
This was a new experience for me. I had hiked a couple of mountains earlier in the year in the Adirondack region but both of them were well under 4,000 feet high and well under 2,000 feet of elevation gained during the hike. Both Giant Mountain and Rocky Peak Ridge are over 4,000 feet high and Giant Mountain has an elevation gain of approximately 3,000 feet during a three-mile hike. So, while I had a little experience on mountains it was nothing like this. I asked my friend to plan a hike that would be challenging and boy did he ever deliver.
We set a good pace on our hike up Giant Mountain reaching the summit in approximately two hours and fifteen minutes using the Zander Scott Trail route near Chapel Pond. Then we decided since we had plenty of time to get down before daylight and we still felt pretty good we would take the 1.2 mile hike down then back up to Rocky Peak Ridge. This was the most challenging part of the hike for me. There were many steep sections going both up and down requiring me to use trees and other handholds to help pull myself up or hold on while I lowered myself down. We rested for about a half an hour on Rocky Peak Ridge before heady back over to Giant Mountain and then back down off the mountain.
On the way back from Rocky Peak Ridge to Giant Mountain, the fatigue really began to set in for me. I was really struggling both physically and mentally to keep going. I needed frequent rests to gather myself. I really had to stop and get myself together physically and mentally. For a relatively short 1.2 miles back it felt like forever due to the challenging terrain. Realistically there was nothing I could do but suck it up and press on because I wasn’t getting off the mountain without getting back over to Giant. We completed the round trip hike in approximately seven hours and twelve minutes. That seems like a pretty good pace to me considering the total distance was 8.4 miles.
The only downside to the trip was the weather. The temperature itself wasn’t too bad. IT was in the mid to lower sixties for a high, which for me is good when I will be exerting myself quite a bit on a hike. But at the top of the mountain it was cold requiring us to don jackets to stay warm enough to stand at the summit and enjoy it for even a short period of time. The other part of the weather that made the trip a little disappointing was that it was completely cloudy. So from the summits of either mountain we could not see much of anything. Even the trees on the summit with us were partially obscured by the clouds. So, we couldn’t enjoy the fall scenery from the summit, but fortunately along the hike up Giant Mountain there are many areas where the trail comes out of the woods into an exposed area where the surrounding area can be viewed from.
I try to take the positive view of the experience of not being able to see the scenery from the summit due to clouds. As we hiked up the mountain, we could see the peaks of the mountains around us and several of them appeared to be in the clouds. So in a way I feel fortunate to not have been able to have a clear view of the surrounding area from the summit. Anyone can get to see nice scenery. But you have to climb a mountain to get to stand in a cloud. It was quite an experience I could feel the moisture and see it. It obscured vision at just several feet.
I had a great time overall and I am looking forward to my next trip to the Adirondack region.