August 31, 2012

Colden Loop

Colden
4,714 feet  |  ranked 11/46 in height  |  16th peak climbed

My sister was my hiking partner again for Colden; what a relief to find a partner eager to climb more than one mountain per year, my husband's self-imposed limit.  Neither Erin or I had been through Avalanche Pass before, so we decided to make a loop of the hike, ascending via Lake Arnold and returning through the pass.  Much as Street and Nye did with regard to "trailless" peaks, this hike boosted confidence with regard to hike length.  We've already completed most of the hikes that total 10 miles or less, and it was empowering to choose the longer and more challenging return route through the pass rather than go back the way we came.  And so rewarding!  Avalanche Pass is truly amazing. 

View of Colden from Marcy Dam
Junction
At Lake Arnold
On the false summit, with the true summit looming
Looking back at the false summit
On the summit ridge
Someone jerk stole the benchmark
On the summit, with Marcy, Gray, and Skylight behind us
Hightailing it off the summit ridge as a thunderstorm approached
Heading down
Flowed Lands and Lake Colden
Juncus trifidus, Arctic rush
It rained just enough to make the descent a bit slick, but quickly blew over.  Blue skies again for Avalanche Lake.
Trap Dike
Hitch-up Matildas

August 3, 2012

Street and Nye

Nye
3,895 feet  |  ranked 45/46 in height  |  14th peak climbed
Street
4,166 feet  |  ranked 31/46 in height  |  15th peak climbed

My sister and I wanted to take advantage of the cabin rental and associated proximity to the trailheads to get in another high peak or two.  Since Erwin had already headed home to take care of the cats, my parents would be staying with Frankie for the day.  Out of loyalty and appreciation, Erin and I decided to tackle a hike my folks had already completed: Street and Nye.  This had the advantage of being a relatively short hike, which was comforting for me, not knowing how Frankie would do all day without me in a strange place (of course he was fine; he had a blast).  It was also a good choice for skill/confidence building, given our limited experience with trailless peaks. 

The wooded summit of Nye
Erin with the summit marker
Erin and I at Nye's summit
At the summit of Street
Street was Erin's 8th high peak
There are views to be found on the Street summit ridge.  A little extra height  helps see over the trees.
View of the MacIntyres from Street
As with Tabletop, I loved this hike, despite the lack of significant views. The herd path follows a brook for much of the ascent, making for a very pleasant climb. I look forward to returning again sometime.

July 29, 2012

Tabletop

Tabletop
4,427 feet  |  ranked 19/46 in height  |  13th peak climbed

I hiked this one with my sister Erin; our Dad, Bruce; and our stepmom, Debbie.  Hurricane Irene had derailed plans for a hike the previous Labor Day, and as a group, our most recent climb was in 2009.  Collectively we'd been through a lot of health traumas in that time: recurrent cancer, broken ribs and a punctured lung, a severely broken leg, a broken hand/thumb, and preeclampsia resulting in unplanned c-section.  To make matters worse, each of those incidents were separate and unrelated issues, some resolved but others still active/ongoing.  We'd rented in a cabin in Jay, and wanted to challenge ourselves to a high peak.  For the simple reason that it was the most accessible of those peaks that none of us had yet climbed, we selected Tabletop. 

It was the first time any of us had seen Marcy Dam since Irene. 
I'll miss crossing at the dam, but it will be fascinating to see the natural succession here. 
The herd path started out reasonably firm under foot...
But quickly got wetter
And then downright muddy.
The forested summit.
The summit is completely treed. There are partially screened views just past the summit, but that area was occupied by another party, so after taking a quick look, we returned to the summit proper to take pictures and eat our lunches.

At the summit
More mud on the way back down.
Narrow trail
Gorgeous views of Colden and the Macs on the way back down.
Almost back to the Van Ho
A quick detour to take in the view from Indian Falls
At Indian Falls
I had an amazing time on this hike and knew I wouldn't be letting another three years pass before getting back out!  Maybe it was because I was so desperate for the mountains, so grateful to be there... maybe because we had such a spectacular day, but I walked away from this hike feeling like Tabletop is seriously underrated.  It has no bald summit, true, so views are more limited: more encapsulated.  However, if you like the woods and can see past a little mud, Tabletop is replete with its own mossy splendor.