Monday, October 13, 2008

Adirondack Trip Part II

I'd actually gone up Algonquin once before. The first time we--my father, my sister, and me--went backpacking we hiked up around Avalanche Lake to Lake Colden. The next day we went to climb Algonquin from there. I'd sprained my ankle at the beginning of the summer--you'll notice a theme here--and it wasn't particularly bothering me. But then at the very beginning of the hike up Algonquin I jumped down off a rock and re-sprained it. Anyway, long story short, that's a hell of a steep hike--probably the steepest I've ever done--and I don't remember it fondly. We stopped just short of the summit. Few hundred yards probably.

So this time around we were going up the easy way. My father though, planned to do Algonquin, Iroquois, and Wright as he had with my sister several years ago. Which seemed a little ambitious seeing as I did a number on my ankle back in June--told you this was a theme--and it's really not fully recovered yet. So I'm completely out of shape, a bit wobbly, and the slowest hiker around. It's fairly pathetic. In the end, we just did Algonquin and Iroquois.

Anyway, the hike up Algonquin from the side we went up this time is very nice. And the temperature at the beginning of the hike was pleasant--cool but not cold--while the scenery was picturesque.
A not terribly flattering photo of me
but at least I'm small and everything else is lovely.

It wasn't until we got up near the alpine zone that things got really chilly. Other adjectives? Windy. Icy.
The trail just hiked.

And the top? Now that was cold. And pretty slippery.
Snow and ice coating the alpine grass and rocks.

The view of the Adirondacks was probably as nice as I've seen though. The pictures below don't really do it justice, but they'll give you an idea.
Looking toward Lake Placid from Algonquin.

The view of a snowy Marcy (the big tall one blending into the background) and a number of the other High Peaks.

From Algonquin we continued over Boundary to Iroquois. Which I was not even a little bit happy about, since my ankle hurt and we had been told there was more ice and lots of mud on the trek over. But my father wanted to, so across to Iroquois we went. The trail over is not only muddy but narrow, so you're constantly being poked by the spiny alpine pines. Not really worth it to me even if you do get a nice, close-up view of Algonquin.
Looking over Boundary to Algonquin

Lake Colden and the Flowed Lands

To get down, we had to go right back the way we came. The most interesting part of this section of the hike. This side of the mountain was much less snowy and the ice had mostly collected on the boulders and cairns marking the path. The wind had clearly been blowing hard from this direction and it blew the ice into delicate, flower-like clusters.

This picture keeps rotating 90 degrees counter-clockwise for reasons beyond me.

By the time we got back to the peak of Algonquin it was late afternoon.
Because I'm so slow at this hiking thing these days it was dark before we got down and we finished the hike up wearing our nifty little head lamps. When we got back to the campsite we just heated up some soup and had a campfire before going to bed. It was a tiring day but truly enjoyable and it's invigorating to spend time in someplace so different than the city.

My father took the pictures with me in them, of course, and I think also the pictures of Marcy and the alpine grass covered with ice.

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