ADK 46ers
Latest Trip
2010 August 28 - 31
Blake, Saddleback, Basin, and Haystack (and Hunter in the Catskills)
Peaks Climbed
46 of 46!

Peak Remaining
Trailless: 0
Trailed: 0

Trailless Peaks Remaining:

Trailed Peaks Remaining:

Welcome to our website!

ADK-46RZ Plate
Kristy and I jumped the gun just a little and bought this domain name before we were officially ADK 46rs... though as of 30 August 2010 we can now claim to have stood on every 4000 foot peak (and quite a few below 4000 feet!) in the Adirondacks.
Our friends and ADK 46rs Karyn and Mark Traphagen (46r numbers 3217 and 3218, respectively) had the personalized license plate "ADK-46RS" when they lived in Charlottesville, VA. The plate became available several years ago when they moved from Charlottesville to Philadelphia, PA, to attend Westminster Theological Seminary. We didn't pick up the plate at the time because we felt we were too far away from completing the peaks to "legitimately" display it. In the meantime we've "lost" it to some other Virginia 46er(s), aspiring or otherwise, so we purchased "ADK-46RZ" before that was also taken and purchased this website now to keep it from disappearing as well.
But the newest developments are that, although we finished the 46 in August 2010 we were unable to find time to complete our trip reports and submit them to the Office of the Historian and complete the rest of the paperwork before the deadline in January 2011.  But we finally got that all taken care of and on 17 January 2012 we got our official "Dear 46er" letters.  We haven't been given our 46r numbers yet, but expect to get those in the next couple of weeks and are guessing they'll probably be 7010 and 7011, or there abouts.
Please check back for regular updates soon.

Recent Trips:

28 August - 31 August 2010 (Trip 13)
Tired, sleepy. Done! More to come...

15 July - 18 July 2010 (Trip 12)

Tired, beaten, bruised.
15 July: We had a work meeting that ended early in the afternoon, so we booked a cheap Southwest flight from BWI to Albany. In Albany at about 1800 we got our rental car and headed up to Schroon Lake for our hotel - about as close as you can get to the trailhead for Upper Works and the ascent of Allen Mountain.
16 July: We hit the trail at the lower Upper Works parking lot about 0545, the first to sign in, and were about 4.5 miles up the trail at 0815 when we turned off onto what I thought was the herd path to the base of Allen Mountain. A little before 0900 and 2.8 miles later we were at the end of Fujacks Road that I thought was part of the trail and near the base of Allen. We searched in vain bushwhacking into the woods and over brooks for about an hour and a half but couldn't find the path up Allen. We found several cloth ties on trees and several spots that clearly were part of a semi-maintained trail at some point, but these were obviously remnants of an abandoned trail, probably from before the 46rs laid out the new trail for Allen - which we missed! It started raining pretty heavily at about 1000 and we eventually gave up and hiked back out with boots now full of water. Along with the extensive bushwhacking we probably totaled about 16 miles by the time we got out to the trailhead at 1400. As I signed us out of the register the rain promptly stopped. We were the only hikers who signed in that day. The forecast we'd seen called for a possibility of a
thunderstorm, but only between 1300 and 1400, and no rain other than that - apparently everyone else had a better forecast!
We've since found out that more careful attention to the Trail Guide would have spared us this mistake, but that I wasn't too far off. Apparently Fujacks Road WAS part of the Allen herd path before the big blow-down in 1999, and what we thought were remnants of the old trail at the end of Fujacks Road were in fact what we thought they were. Had we been there a few years earlier I'm sure we would have found sufficient evidence of the trail to bushwhack our way onto the actual herd path.
We showered and changed into dry clothes and found a laundromat to tumble our wet boots for about an hour. My shirt had hiked up in the rain and my pack had rubbed the skin raw along my lower back - which I never felt until I got in the shower - then it stung and Kristy had to help get the painful pine tar out of the hair on my lower back. Kristy studied the trail guide (which we, amazingly, had NOT packed in for the hike - the only hike we've ever made without packing the trail guide) and figured
out where we'd gotten off the trail. This was a first. Our last "trailless" peak in the Adirondacks and the first time we've ever set out to climb and not gotten a mountain.
17 July: We hit the trail Saturday morning about 0600 - the first to sign in that day also. We met another hiker at the trail head waiting for the rest of his party and told him we were back for the second day. He was amazed we'd hiked the day before (considering the weather) and wanted details on how we missed the peak. He'd climbed Allen before and was acting as a guide for friends who hadn't.
We made great time on the trail and easily found the beginning of what turned out to be a very well maintained herd path about half a mile past the point where we turned off on the wrong path Friday. We blasted down the herd path and crossed Skylight Brook at the base of Allen Mountain a little after 1000. Roughly half way up Allen the other party caught up to and passed us. This was shortly after we reached a long section of rock slides in and along Allen Brook, which most of the ascent ran in or beside. Our pace was impacted by difficulty I was having with getting good footing on the wet slides. We took a close look at my boots after the hike and realized that I've worn about half the tread off of my hiking boots. So we pushed up and reached the summit at exactly 1230 as the first party was preparing to descend. I know this because I've gotten into the habit of setting an alarm at the beginning of the hike to warn me that we're nearing the time of day that we need to seriously consider finishing up the hike and heading back out. The alarm went off at 1230 literally 25 yards before we reached the summit. I approached the peak with the other party looking at me like I was from Mars as my pack chimed half past twelve.
We were only there for about 5 minutes to take pictures and down we went. About 5 minutes from the peak we met a single guy heading up. About 10 minutes after that we crossed a pair of women heading up. When we hit the slides on the way down I again started moving slower than I'd have liked because of my difficulty with getting traction. Shortly after this the single guy passed us on the way down. About 2/3 of the way down the slides I was facing directly down with my feet planted side-by-side near the top of a 15 foot slide deciding how to proceed when I just started sliding. I was hunched slightly forward before sliding, and as I started moving I tried to straighten up and that's when my feet came out from under me and I went down hard. I hit down hard on my behind and lower back then my pack kept my head from bouncing off the rock and my right elbow took the rest of the fall. I was dazed and uncertain whether I'd be getting back up for about three seconds, then a thought went through my head that if I didn't get up now I wouldn't be getting up. So I struggled up on my feet as fast as I could manage and then I got very light headed and I thought for a second I was going to go out. Then my head cleared as Kristy got down to where I was standing. Ow! I'm pretty sure I fractured, disjointed, or at least severely bruised my coccyx. But aspirin is an amazing drug.
Fortunately, I was able to move at near normal speed after a few minutes, though I was not surprisingly even more timid for the rest of the descent of the slides and our pace slowed just a little more. We made pretty good time once we hit the herd path at the bottom of Allen Brook. One obstacle we hadn't dealt with the previous day was a swollen Opalescent River that had to be crossed about 4 miles from the trail head. On Friday we'd simply walked across on rocks. But the rain the previous afternoon had raised the level of the river about 8-10 inches. We had to remove our boots, hike up our pants, and wade across barefoot. That was even more fun on the way out with our feet screaming on the rocks. Ironically, despite being bothered somewhat relentlessly on portions of the trail by flies and mosquitoes, liberal use of DEET saved me from getting a single mosquito bite EXCEPT for the one I got on my bare right ankle on the afternoon river crossing. I was, however, bitten may times by the flies. Fortunately, the flies were almost absent on the hike out the second day.
Despite Kristy's concerns we made it out to the trail register with minutes to spare before the thunderstorms rolled in. Kristy had her issues to deal with as well. Both of our feet had endured the four hour hike out with water filled boots on Friday which had definitely impacted the condition of our feet. So our dogs were barking pretty loudly for the last 5 miles or so. The impact on her legs when descending peaks tends to cause her knees and ankles to swell, also. Saturday afternoon her knee swelled enough to decrease blood flow and she hiked out with a leg that was essentially numb. She then spent the 3 hour drive down to Albany with the stabbing sensation of a numb limb waking up until she could straighten her legs out and rest in the hotel room and circulation was fully restored.

Stats: over two days, about 35 miles combined in 22 hours combined, one peak!

We did learn, however, that my boots are no longer safe for hiking on wet rock and that if we'd made it to the mountain on Friday we'd either have been forced to turn back anyways or I would have gotten myself hurt more severely attempting the ascent or descent in the rain. Coming back for a second day was not a joy, but we had a much better day than I know we would have in the rain. Apparently 300+ miles in the Adirondacks is pushing it for hiking boots.

And we got Allen!

Prospects to finish? That's a really good question.
We have 4 peaks to go: Blake, Saddleback, Basin, and Haystack (hopefully in that order).
We would intend to get Blake in a day. That's a well established trail and there's still plenty of daylight in August to complete the hike. Saddleback, Basin, and Haystack are a similar hike to Blake, since one must climb Colvin twice to reach Blake and hike back out - but more than a little longer. The big unknown is Spiderman Rock. The more I look into it I just don't think it's going to be much in the way of a show-stopper. But every once in a while you run into someone who turns white when you mention Spiderman Rock. They then turn even more white when we mention we've been down the side of Gothics between Gothics and Saddleback. They then admit they've never been down that trail, that they're only reacting from rumors they've heard, so we literally have no reference to go by. The biggest concern is that this year we have fallen exactly one peak shy of our goal, for one reason or another, on every trip. Check back September 1 to find out!

30 June - 3 July 2010 (Trip 11)

Our latest  peaks were, in order, Sawteeth, Iroquois Peak, Mount Marshall, and Seymour Mountain.  This was a fairly successful trip, accomplishing almost all of our goals.  We started out late on the evening of 29 June flying to Detroit with our daughter and son to visit Grandma and Grandpa. This was the first flight for Rachel (2) and Merrick (5 months) and they both did great. We snuck out of Detroit 30 June in the wee hours of the morning and flew to Albany International Airport (via Dulles, if you can believe that) landing at about 0930.  Retrieving our gear from baggage check and picking up the rental car we were on the road and arrived at St. Hubert's around 1200. Starting at the public parking area on NY73 near the Ausable Club (I'm originally from Michigan - and they're wrong here - the correct spelling is Au Sable) we hiked the 4.0 miles down the Lake Road to the beginning of the Weld Trail. Then 1.9 miles up to the summit of Sawteeth. A little bit of a disappointment; the trail was a lot of work for poor views at the top of the Sawteeth. We did get some nice shots of Pyramid, Gothics, and some of the Great Range a short way down from the peak.
Day 2: The plan was to hike in to Calamity Lean-To, drop our overnight gear, then up to Lake Colden and on to Iroquois Peak. After Iroquois, if the weather was nice and we were making good time, we were going to re-summit Algonquin then pick up Mount Marshall on the way back to the Lean-To. At that point we'd make the call whether to hike out that night or to stay until morning.
Ha! Although the forecast had called for a few showers in the morning and clearing in the afternoon it rained ALL day (and well into the night). This ascent of Algonquin/Iroquois is almost universally described as the most relentless ascent in all of the Adirondacks. It certainly was among the most relentless ascents we've made. In many ways similar to Panther Brook, but longer. The trail also spends a remarkably large amount of time involved with the brook coming down between Algonquin and Boundary Peak. We've seen many complaints about the trail crossing the river too many times. Personally, I didn't mind the large number of crossings - it was the large amount of the trail that WAS the river that got a little frustrating. At least it was frustrating in the cold and rain and the river more than a little swollen because of the cold and the rain. Did I mention it was cold? It was probably below 50 F on the top half of the ascent. But we finally reached the col where it was probably 40 F with 25 mph winds gusting to 35 mph across the ridge driving a light cold rain. The wind direction was across the ridge, so there wasn't much relief except in the wooded sections either way. We dropped our GPS and realized it, apparently, about 100 yards after doing so. We turned to see a pair of hikers from Montreal coming up behind us who had picked it up. They reached Boundary Peak about a minute before us and waited for us to catch up to ask if we knew whether or not we had reached Iroquois. That's where GPS units with loaded maps come in handy! So on we all continued to Iroquois. The guys from Montreal got there first and were actually coming back down when we ran into the last major obstacle: a rock scramble that either Kristy or I might have accomplished on a warm dry day. But with cold hands and wet rocks we simply couldn't get enough purchase to pull ourselves up. So, we finally pulled it off by Kristy pulling herself up as far as she could, me coming up behind her and shoving her up onto the rock, then me pulling myself up as far as I could and Kristy offering a hand to pull me up the rest of the way. We simply couldn't have pulled this off alone on such a day. After that last obstacle it was an easy walk of about 50 yards to the massive cairn erected on the peak. We snapped pictures and got down the mountain. The going was slow, and by the time we got to the top we were soaked and cold and I had boots that were full of water. We got back to the Calamity Lean-To about 1730, changed into dry clothes, and started preparing to bed down.
Day 3: The next morning started out clearing and cool and we were on the trail at about 0530. About 0.6 miles to the trailhead and on to Marshall. The first 1/4 mile is an easy climb then you hit the ascent. It's the time in many hikes in the Adirondacks where, after a relatively unstressing first mile or so on the trail you hit the hard vertical ascent and are reminded, "oh yeah... I'm climbing an Adirondack." The ascent was rugged, but only about a mile. Still, with my boots now wet (but at least not soaked) it was no quick ascent and we ended up back at the Calamity Lean-To at about 1130. We'd packed up in about an hour and were on the way out. We stayed at Shaheen's Motel that night (as before, highly recommended for staging peaks in the Seward Range if you're not camping!) and got on the trail for Seward at about 0630.
Day 4: We made fantastic time down the Blueberry Foot Trail and the Ward Brook Truck Trail covering the 5.6 miles to the trailhead in just slightly under 2 hours. So we started up the Seymour herd path just before 0830. We hit the peak at 1115 after wandering around a little bit to find it. The couple that started up just before us on the Seymour Trail were glad to see us arrive. We'd been passed by one lone hiker on the way up. We started down about 1145 and reached the Blueberry Lean-To about 1400 where we found the couple packing up their camp. We had a nice discussion about various hikes in the Adirondacks. We discussed Saddleback and Spiderman Rock, which the gentleman had hiked.

then got back on the Truck Trail at 1415. We were back at the parking lot about 1600 and headed off for Albany for the morning flight back.
4-5 July: Back in Detroit about 0930, we spent a tired 4th with most of my family then flew back to DC the morning of the 5th.

29 May - 31 May 2010 (Trip 10)

I normally try to have the previous trip written up on its own trip page before we take a new trip, but a combination of very busy work schedules and rapid returns to the Adirondacks this year (we are apparently getting anxious as we get close to wrapping up the 46) means that I haven't gotten Trip 10 written up yet. So the brief summary of that trip remains here until I can get caught up!

Our latest peaks were Rocky Peak, which we had to abandon in October 2008 on a half-day hike up Giant, and Donaldson and Emmons in the Seward Range. We didn't consider Donaldson and Emmons orphaned, though we had intended to summit both on a previous hike up Seward. Ironically, that hike was on the same trip as the hike up Giant that we had to cut short in 2008, which turned out to be a very bad year for progress on the 46.
Like some of our other trips we had great ambitions and extremely tight plans to meet those ambitions.  On 26 May, Kristy flew to San Diego for a meeting on 27 May.  On 27 May I flew to Albuquerque to support a meeting on 28 May.  Kristy attended the meeting on 28 May as well.  Because there was no San Diego -> Albuquerque flight late enough for her to catch on 27 May or early enough for her to catch on 28 May, she drove up to LA on the evening of 27 May and caught a flight out of LAX in the morning.  After our meeting we started moving east - at least we tried!
We had a three-leg flight plan starting in Albuquerque getting us to Denver at 2030 on the evening of 28 May. That flight was delayed 2 hours because of violent weather in Denver.  This, fortunately, also delayed our flight out of Denver to Chicago so we didn't miss that, but didn't get into Chicago until almost 0200 on 29 May. Fortunately, our 0630 flight to Albany DID get off the ground in time and even got into Albany a little early.  We were on the road and standing in front of Giant ready to head up the Zander Scott trail to get Rocky Peak before noon.  All the way up to the break off toward Rocky Ridge we were doing great, then the previous events of the week really started to catch up with me.  But we made it over to Rocky Peak and back.  I even found enough left to suggest we head up to Giant before heading down. Admittedly, we're only talking about an additional 550 linear feet to the peak to summit Giant from the trail junction, but that should give you a good idea of how frustrating it is to have to basically climb Giant again after missing Rocky Peak the first time around!  So down the mountain we went and we got back to the car about sundown.
Off to Tupper Lake where we stayed at Shaheen's Motel. Highly recommended!  But arriving in Tupper Lake at about 2130 severely limits dining opportunities!  So we ended up getting delivery pizza (I got pizza, Kristy got a sub and a salad) and were finally eating at about 2300 and were in bed by about 2330.  That was our first "real" meal since the airport dinner in Albuquerque - if you can call that a "real" meal.  Otherwise, it was trail food (dried fruit, peanuts, pop tarts).  We slept like logs, but I had us up by 0600 and we were out the door and on the trail by 0800.  A little later than we'd planned to get started, but give us a break!  We were on Donaldson by about 1215 and Emmons at about 1345 and back down to the parking lot at about 2000 for a 13.9 mile round trip in about 12 hours.  So we were back in Tupper Lake BEFORE dark and were able to clean up, enjoy a relatively decent meal, and get in bed at about 2200.  What luxury!  Sometimes hotel hiking seems a little extravagant, but since this trip was planned Rocky Peak in the East High Peaks and Donaldson, Emmons, and Seymour in the Western Wilderness (with no reasonable campsite location for separate campaigns up Seymour and Donaldson/Emmons) this was really the only option.
Saturday morning we hit the trail for Seymour at about 0730.  A little earlier than the day before.  With only one peak to summit and a round trip about 2 miles shorter than the day before (only about one mile of which was actual climbing) we had great hopes of getting in and out relatively early and didn't feel the need to get moving too early.  Unfortunately, the two previous trips had taken their toll on Kristy's feet.  Her heels had been torn up pretty badly.  She had hoped that the initial pain would subside after we'd got moving on the trail.  Unfortunately, after about 1/4 mile it became obvious that the condition was worsening and we had to call the hike.  So our plans to bag four peaks on this trip were foiled.  This leaves a full nine peaks in five groupings to get in probably no more than 2 possible trips if we're going to complete the 46 this year.

We're contemplating two more trips to completion - hopefully both this year:

4 days: Marshall/Iroquois from Lake Colden (two days total), Allen and Seymour each on day hikes.
3 or 4 days: Basin, Haystack, and Saddleback from Slant Rock, and Blake and Sawteeth on a long day hike. Basin, Haystack, and Saddleback may be a single outing from Slant Rock if we have no problem with Spiderman Rock getting to Saddleback from Basin.  If I can't do Spiderman Rock (because of my fear of heights) then we'll get Haystack and Basin from Slant Rock and relocate to John's Brook Lodge area one day and get Saddleback via the Range/Orebed Trail the next day.

I just hope we get the pages for trips 2, 3, and 4 up before we take trips 11 and 12 to wrap up.

Stay tuned!