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46er Finish on Esther & Whiteface- A Day To Remember

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  • 46er Finish on Esther & Whiteface- A Day To Remember

    Ahhh…. Where to begin?

    First, I want thank my wife who sacrificed in many ways so I could pursue this dream… this quest. She’ll never see this trip report, but I need to thank her in front of everyone. She was supportive of me even when it was hard on her and my family, when I was away from home.

    Secondly, I have to thank my 2 hiking buddies who accompanied me on many of the hikes. One of whom is a 46er, along with his wife. They brought my wife and I up to Keene 7 years ago for the 1st time to hike. I’ve been hooked on the region ever since. I was only in Lake Placid once, as a boy, with my parents.

    Third, I have to thank this forum on all levels- the people that run it and the people that participate on it. I have gleaned much information from it and thank those that have helped me either directly or indirectly. I don’t have facebook or any social media. I don’t partake in any other forum type thing, but I at least check in with this forum once a day. It helps me get my fix when I am not hiking. My forum name is not even one of my real life nicknames. I basically crafted some silly name a couple years ago bc I found the forum and needed to ask a trail condition question or something. I never thought I would come back to it or begin leaving trip reports, but some people here know me as Nivek now, so I’ll keep it.

    I originally kept Esther & Whiteface for the end bc I wanted my parents, as well as my wife and daughter, to meet me at the top via automobile. Life happens however… my father had to have an unexpected major surgery a few weeks ago and my wife and I are expecting our 2nd child. So neither of those parties could make the 5 hour car ride. And I wanted to finish bc my life will be getting even busier soon.

    So I asked both my hiking buddies to come, but only one could make it. They both had been taking turns accompanying me during this year’s final push in the Dixes, Allen, Santanonis, and Sewards. My one friend could not get a babysitter. His wife works 2 jobs and his 1 daughter got sick.

    After work on Friday, my one friend and I left late afternoon. Got up to Keene late and stayed in Lake Placid. Hit McDonalds at 6am in LP and off to Wilmington. I waffled about which trailhead to start from and at the last minute changed my mind and went with the shorter ASRC approach, not Wilmington Reservoir….. in hopes of finishing earlier in the day.

    Leaves were beautiful driving in on 86 and many thoughts jostled around in my head as we rode. Today was the day. The day I finish my list. It is not an end to my hiking career in the area or participation in this forum. It is just an end to my 1st official round of 46. Something I got serious about 3 or 4 years ago and have obsessed about ever since.

    At my buddies car I had trouble with my Leki hiking poles, which I always use. The crazy thing is I always drive, but forced him to this weekend bc I joked that I wanted to be chauffeured for my finale. In my car I had a third pole in case of breakage but I decided to leave it behind. I figured I wouldn’t need it. Wrong! I couldn’t get the damn metal shaft to extend on my one pole, even with pliers. It was stuck. I pushing on it and rolling it to loosen it and then I heard “Crack.” I fractured the metal tube. I had to hike with one pole, which was super awkward in the beginning and I hated it, but nothing was going to hold me back today.

    We began walking and instantly I had another minor hiccup although a bit self-induced. After walking for only 2 min you come to a cairn, which I thought may have been a t junction shown on the map. I knew it probably wasn’t, but I had to explore it by those buildings before I was satisfied. I didn’t know that a couple, who were probably newbies, was following me and I was confused for a moment and stopped walking. Eventually, we corrected it and went left, but I apologized for leading them astray even though I didn’t instruct them to follow me. It was a five min detour. I told them we were experienced hikers, but also said it probably didn’t appear that way. Lol.

    Anyway, it was hotter than I like it but leaves were nice. Marble Mtn is a real lung thumper. Very Catskills-esque. Small crumbly stone and you begin climbing immediately just like in the Catkills. No lead in. There is a great viewpoint just before the junction sign at .9mile. The valley and its leaves were on fire and the sun’s rays were piercing through the clouds. Foliage was amazing.

    Continue on… hit the 2nd toboggan shed and eventually the junction for Esther mtn. Giant cairn and sign. Turn right. Part of the way up, early on, their was a little dirt landing area off on the right of the trail. I think it was Lookout mtn or something? I left my map in my friend’s car as I write this.

    Anyway, I walk up to it to check if there is a vista or something and I see one guy sitting there alone with his hood up and his head down on his crossed arms, sitting on a rock. I’m thinking, “Is this guy ok? Does he not feel good? Is something wrong with him?” Because its also windy as hell and getting colder. The wind had been getting stronger. As I approach, I subconsciously for a split second notice a familiar Arcteryx jacket. All at the same time he picks his head up and it is my other hiking buddy. What the…… What the hell!!!! Holy crap. How did you…. What are you…. My mind was blown. Jawdropper. We were screaming and laughing and I was stunned. Just as my current partner rounded the corner, we were now 3. My buddy lied to me and surprised me to get in front of me on trail and be with me on my 46er finish. I’m forever grateful. He made the day truly special. I had no inkling of him coming.

    He left Jersey at midnight on Friday to be there while we slept in a hotel. He even tarped the exterior of his car at the Wilmington Reservoir trailhead and parked it in the corner bc he didn’t want me to see it….. but remember I changed trailheads at the last minute. He left a 46er sticker in the sign in book for me to mess with me, but of course I was never at that sign in. Later on, after hike, we went to check for the sticker and it was gone. Someone swiped it. Apparently, he premeditated this whole surprise a month in advance! His hands were shaking trying to show me photos from the morning bc he was cold. Lets get moving!

    Anyway here we are. Half way up Esther… together. The 3 of us. Let’s do this. It felt like a long mile to Esther’s plaque. An easy, but long mile. We met a guy and girl who took our pic. He was an Aspiring 46er. She was a winter 46er. Both very nice. They were only out for Esther. We return to junction and continue on.

    It became very dark and foggy, even though it was only 10:30am. Light rain. We were hiking up into a cloud. Once we got to where the trail meets the road, it got real foggy. Especially on open rocks. Here it is. The final push. The climax. The end. We were starving and a bit tired, but nothing was going to make me stop and break until I reached that summit sign. Rain was blowing in our face and the wind was whipping near the top. The tower and buildings were shrouded in dense fog. There it is. I can see it. The Whiteface summit and unique sign. The end of my journey is approaching. My buddies congratulated me and hugged me. I walked up to that sign on slippery rock. Wind was blowing fierce. Raining sideways. I knelt down and kissed it.

    ADK 46

    Even though we were alone for the moment we actually saw quite a few people headed up. I had 3 signs I made which I printed out. The first had a little caption. My 46er bud who surprised me also had handed me a patch. The other 2 signs were personal messages to my wife and daughter and to my mother and father. I posed with each. Thank God I chose to laminate them at Staples bc it was raining and blowing. The paper would have wetted through. After that the first couple, Pete and Stephanie, with their dog, from Syracuse arrived, who we befriended and took our picture.

    We broke out a couple beverages and Grandpa’s old cough syrup and then ripped our shirts off for the photo. They snapped away. It was a sight to behold in that weather. Other people were also arriving and 3 yahoos from Jersey were screaming and laughing in the wind and rain shirtless for the camera. It was probably blowing 40mph up there. Other people only stayed for a minute and then took shelter as we hung out for 5-10min shirtless and cold but high on adrenaline and laughter. We eventually put our sopping tshirts on and followed suit and went in a building where we hung with Pete and Steph who were super cool. We had extra sodas and shared them. We were on empty stomachs and it went right to our noggins. I tried to eat Soppressata and chocolate, but was too excited to get it down. I gave the meat to the dog (with their permission). It was great hanging Pete and Steph. Hopefully you sign up for the forum and read this.

    After 20 minutes we parted ways and left. We explored the summit and eventually began our descent. We left and drove to a friend’s cabin elsewhere in the Adirondacks where he was nice enough to host us for a couple hours and let us shower. He cooked us filet mignons and potatoes for dinner. We feasted and thanked him. Eventually we began the long ride back to New Joisy. It was an incredible day I’ll cherish and never forget.

    The End (for now). ADK 46




    Cats: 39/39, 26W/35W......ADK: 46/46

  • #2
    Congrats on the big finish Nivek (which I assume is Kevin spelled backwards)!! Great trip report. And great friends.

    Comment


    • Nivek
      Nivek commented
      Editing a comment
      Thank you, Makwa. It was a great day.

  • #3
    A big congratulations to you! Very enjoyable report, and so glad that you had good company along the way.
    We don't stop playing because we get old; we get old because we stop playing ~ Satchel Paige

    Comment


    • Nivek
      Nivek commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks so much. I just saw you posted about your finish too! I'll have go read it in a few minutes.....

  • #4
    Congratulations!! Great TR, and a nice little misdirection by your buddy. Congrats to you and your wife as well, and hope your dad makes a quick recovery also.

    Comment


    • Nivek
      Nivek commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks so much for the kind words. Cheers.

  • #5
    Congrats, Nivek! It's great that your other hiking buddy was able to surprise you, which is something you'll remember long after the particulars of the climb itself have faded.

    Comment


    • Nivek
      Nivek commented
      Editing a comment
      Thank you! I absolutely agree with you. I will forever remember it. He made the day truly special.

  • #6
    Hey congratulations and nice write up for your finale.
    Don

    Comment


    • Nivek
      Nivek commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks Don. Appreciate it.

  • #7
    Nice TR! Congratulations all around

    Comment


    • Nivek
      Nivek commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks DennisK. I appreciate it. Looking forward to some more interesting trip reports left by you. Cheers

    • DennisK
      DennisK commented
      Editing a comment
      That was a memorable finish....the signs, the family support, (My girlfriend calls these mountains my ''mistresses'')...plus a steak dinner to cap it off. It's all good. Soak in in.
      Dennis

    • Nivek
      Nivek commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks again, Dennis

  • #8
    Congratulations! For your big finish, your understanding wife, the impending addition to your family, and your stalwart hiking buddy.

    ​​​​​​Catcalls and curses to whoever swiped the 46er sticker!
    Looking for Views!

    Comment


    • Nivek
      Nivek commented
      Editing a comment
      Lol. Thanks TB. Thanks for the kind words

  • #9
    Neat story - congratulations!

    Comment


    • Nivek
      Nivek commented
      Editing a comment
      Thank you, rickhart. Appreciate it.

  • #10
    That was an amazing trip report! Thanks so much for sharing.

    Comment


    • Nivek
      Nivek commented
      Editing a comment
      No problem. Thanks. Thanks for the compliment

  • #11
    Congratulations Nivek!
    ADK 46/46W, Grid 232/552
    Photos & Stuff

    Comment


    • Nivek
      Nivek commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks, Autochromatica. Now go post some more beautiful pictures so I can look at them!

  • #12
    Sounds like a day to remember. Thanks for the interesting report. My wife and I finished on Whiteface and there was actually a wedding on the summit. Whiteface is worth repeating...when the weather is nicer. Congratulations.

    Comment


    • Nivek
      Nivek commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks, Thomas. I will repeat Whiteface in better weather. As a matter of fact, I'm sure I'll repeat them all.

  • #13
    Awesome, and congratulations on your finish!
    If by chance some day you're not feeling well and you should remember some silly thing I've said or done and it brings back a smile to your face or a chuckle to your heart, then my purpose as your clown has been fulfilled ~ Red Skelton

    Comment


    • Nivek
      Nivek commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks NumNum. Appreciate it.
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