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Just Wright Again

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  • Just Wright Again

    This weekend I got to check a major item off my bucket list: hiking with my younger brother. He’s stationed near San Diego so we don’t get to see much of each other, and he’s never been to the ADK at all. All week I had been fretting over the weather and how it would affect our day to climb something, and what that something would be. Questionable weather plus holiday crowds had me planning and re-planning possible hikes.He got into town very early on Saturday morning but had been up all night traveling, so we opted to hold off until Sunday. This was our first smart decision of the weekend. Our second good decision of the weekend was taking a spur of the moment right down the Loj road to see how busy things looked at the HPIC. They weren’t. Granted, the lots were full as is almost always the case on the weekends nowadays, but there were only a handful of cars parked along the road and none anywhere near the entrance of S. Meadows. Excellent! Forget Giant, let’s go tag Wright.

    I’ve been up this peak 3 times this year and numerous times previously, but I find that trips into the Macs are never identical and today was to be unique as well, albeit not dramatic in any way. After receiving our high winds warnings from the Two Yutes at the HPIC gift shop cash register, we signed in and set off down the Van-ho highway. I kept expecting to encounter scores of other hikers going both ways, but it simply never happened. We leap-frogged a really nice duo from Albany and Saratoga for most of the hike, until we passed the waterfall and decided we had been conservative for long enough and hit the gas. We had a bit of a delay waiting for a decent sized group of young Boy Scouts (Cub Scouts?) to figure out how to get back down the ledge at the tree line, and then we were moving again. Two hours and ten minutes from the parking lot to the summit; not breaking any speed records but not doing much dilly-dallying either. My brother took in the views at the summit, which were stunning, and with a few complimentary expletives said “So forty-five to go.” Mission accomplished. The wind was what I’d consider “enthusiastically typical” so we hopped down over the back side of the summit ledge and relaxed had a snack before turning the wheels downhill. We encountered the nice duo again just as we were descending off the summit rock and then about another 100 feet down we encountered a girl who was crawling up, being followed by a seemingly very patient but slightly exasperated boyfriend (?). While she wasn’t shaking in fear, she appeared close to it. I gave him the “is she going to live?” look, and he returned it with a shrug. I walked a little closer and kind of hopped up and down a couple of times and said “Its sticky. You’ll be fine.” She turned around to see if boyfriend approved and he said “See what I’ve been trying to tell you? At least listen to them.” Her near belly crawl then became a bear crawl so we departed with a “happy trails.”

    We got down to the junction and one of the two stewards was telling a gentleman and his two female companions (father and daughters, I’m guessing), how steep and treacherous the trail back down the Mac brook was going to be. They had just come up from Lake Colden and had already tagged Iroquois and Algonquin. I chuckled silently. Their descent was going to be a quite literal walk in the park compared to their ascent. Back to the sign-in kiosk in one dollar, forty-five cents; again, no speed records broken but also no stopping to smell the roses. As we approached the kiosk I reminded my brother not to lean his poles up against it and forget them. As the words were leaving my mouth we watched another hiker do that exact thing. We returned his forgotten gear to him, got to the car, pulled it up S. Meadows a ways out of sight (you’re welcome, for my choosing not to clean up and change right along the Loj road), then hit a surprisingly un-busy Smoke Signals for a couple of glasses of Annie and a plate of nachos.

    TL;DR: Bro and I hiked Wright. Trails were practically empty all day. Pretty dry going up, coated in A1 sauce going down. Great views, wind wasn’t a factor.
    My mind was wandering like the wild geese in the west.

  • #2
    Wright is also on my bucket list as when I hiked it with my son 5 years ago the fog was so thick you could barely see 30 feet in front of you. I want to go back to see the view and find the plane and I figure Wright and Algonquin would be a good warm up hike to start next year.


    • FlyFishingandBeer
      FlyFishingandBeer commented
      Editing a comment
      Wright is a beautiful, "classically alpine" summit. Its bald and comes to a neat little point at the top. It has become my "I don't have time to hike but I'll be damned if I'm not going to climb something anyway" peak. While the views aren't as nice as other "easy" summits in the ADK, like Pyramid for example, there's still a lot to see from it. The only things that really detract from it are its big brother, Algonquin, who hovers over you from the south and makes you feel lame for not ascending both of them, and the fact that its so far removed from the center of the peaks. Definitely make it a point to get back up there on a clear day.