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Giant and Rocky Peak Ridge for My 46er Finish!

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  • Giant and Rocky Peak Ridge for My 46er Finish!

    I was on a high peaks hiking weekend with the AMC and saw that one group was doing a hike from the AMR parking lot (to Nippletop and Dial), so I asked if it would be okay for me to do a separate hike starting across the street from the Roaring Brook trail up to Giant and Rocky Peak Ridge. My question was answered with an enthusiastic "Yes, if it's for your 46er finish!" The weather forecast had gone from good, to bad, to okay (possible rain and partly cloudy), and I figured that I'd hope for clear skies and nice views, but would take whatever the universe chose for me that day. I had hoped to be able to do the traverse to New Russia when originally planning this hike, but since I was hiking solo and relying on others for my ride, I decided to hike up to Giant first, then over to RPR and return the way that I came. A few hiking friends still want to do the traverse, so I figured that I'd come back to hike with them another time.

    Got a bit of a later than usual start because the group had to wait for breakfast to be served at the motel where we stayed. So I signed in at the trail register at 8:25am and estimated about 6-7 hours to cover the 10.4 miles. After the first red blaze past the register, the trail starts to climb almost immediately. I don't remember seeing another blaze for about 15 minutes, and I had a moment of uncertainty, thinking that I had somehow missed a turn and drifted off onto an old woods road (or something similar). Just as I was about to stop and check my map, a red blaze appeared ahead and I was able to relax and enjoy the walk. The first mile or so travels through some lovely woods over fairly dry and comfortable terrain. The rush of the nearby waterfall provided a soothing soundtrack, and I was tempted to explore off-trail and wander over, but I figured that I would wait until I was on my way down. I had the same thought about investigating the designated tent sites.

    Soon, the trail became more steep and rocky slabs started to appear. Even though it wasn't actually raining (yet), the rock was very moist and greasy, so the footing got a bit slippery. But gravity worked to my advantage and I didn't have a problem making my way up the rocks. I passed a number of hikers (including a large group taking a break about 2 miles up) and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves despite the moist air and cloudy skies. At the junction with the Ridge Trail, I met a large, energetic group just coming up and found out that one of their own was planning her finish on Rocky Peak that same day. I continued on up the steep wet rocks, and made it to the RPR junction, noting its location for later. A few minutes after, I could see the summit ahead and stopped to put on my rain shell to help against the increasing winds. Just after 10:30am, I climbed up to the summit and found it to be quite windy, and a bit crowded; probably about 20 people up there. The view points were socked in with fog and clouds, but I took a few photos because it was still beautiful in its own way. I quickly had a snack and sent a text to my boyfriend to let him know I was doing fine so far, and decided to move on.

    I retraced my steps back to the junction and turned onto the yellow trail to RPR. I remembered reading about the steep descent down to the col between the two peaks, and this was no exaggeration. I moved steadily, but carefully, down the open rock, which was quite slippery in places, and thought about what it would be like on the return. It started to rain lightly, but not enough to cause any discomfort in my merino tee shirt and hiking skirt. I passed a couple taking a break, and a few other hikers coming back from RPR who gave me some idea of how much further I had to go. The rain stopped as I started to approach the open rock up to Rocky Peak Ridge and met up with the hiker who was planning her 46er finish (Andy) and her dad, who was also about to finish his 46 peaks. They were waiting for a signal from their friends (many from Camp Poke-O-MacCready), who were planning a celebration ceremony. We all quietly congratulted each other, and they even kindly invited me to join them, but I declined. Moments later, they heard the tambourine and started their celebratory climb. I waited for a minute or two so that I didn't photo bomb their pictures or get in the way of their celebration with their large group of friends. But I finally climbed up and let myself enjoy the moment. It was shortly before noon and the wind was whipping; there were no views whatsoever, but I was loving it. I had brought a tiny 1 oz. Nalgene container filled with a shot of Tullamore Dew whiskey, super sharp Old Croc cheddar cheese bites, and sweet chipotle beef jerky. I drank my booze, and had a bite of my feast. Andy offered to take my picture and asked which way I was headed. We briefly discussed the traverse and she (or one of her friends - there was a LOT going on!) invited me to join them since they were doing the traverse, and they would drop me back at my starting point. I considered it a moment, and then happily and gratefully accepted. I would get to do the traverse after all!!! I took a few photos of their group and introduced myself, then sent a text to my boyfriend, and AMC friends to let them know of my change in plans. I estimated my time and figured that I'd still arrive before they were done. We all moved down to a more sheltered area and stopped to celebrate a few more minutes. Then we started the descent and continued the traverse.

    The group moved at a good pace, and the weather started to improve. We dropped down and passed Lake Marie Louise. I made a quick detour to check out the tent site, and couldn't find the official "camp here" disk. I did see the sign for the privy, though. The sun never quite came out, but we were able to get a few good photos from some of the open, rocky viewpoints along the way. We met a fair number of hikers who had started from Route 9 and were planning to go all the way to Giant, and I was a bit concerned about how much time it might take them, but hopefully all went well. We climbed up to Bald Peak and were able to enjoy a few partial views. The geology of the peak itself was pretty cool to explore and made up for the cloudy conditions.

    On the way down from Bald, a few of us were rather far ahead of the others, so we stopped for a quick snack and to let some catch up. Less than 10 minutes later, we were ready to move on. I took a few steps and felt a bizarre pain in my left knee. I could barely move it! It felt strangely "locked up" and had trouble bending. My guess is the damp, cold conditions were exacerbating an old meniscus injury from 2011 (it couldn't possibly be that I had slacked off a bit in my training hikes, right? ) I told the others to go ahead, but one guy (whose legs were also quite tired) kindly stayed behind with me. I was ready to crawl down that mountain if I had to! Luckily, it wasn't necessary. After about 20 minutes of slow and careful hiking, my knee started to improve. By the time we reached the junction with the red shortcut trail around the Blueberry Cobbles, I was able to hike at my regular pace and effort. We decided it was wise to take the shortcut, so that I could catch up to the front group and get the first ride back to Route 73. This worked perfectly. The final 2 miles cruised by over lovely trail covered in pine needles and soft duff. And suddenly, at almost exactly 4pm, there was the parking lot. I let out a Woo Hoo! and thanked everyone for their excellent company. Andy and her mom drove me back to the Roaring Brook lot, and I had plenty of time to relax and wait for my friends. A fantastic day, no matter what the weather!

    It was my friends Valerie and Ted (ValleyGirlHikes and niceguyted ) who first inspired me to officially start working on the 46er list, and it was my boyfriend Doug who encouraged me to finish it, but I'm also so grateful to everyone on this forum who gave me helpful advice, and I have such appreciation of the folks who contribute and inspire me here. The "list" might be done, but the hiking will never end. In fact, the next day I hiked to Table Top and Indian Falls with the AMC group, and had a great time!
    Last edited by debmonster; 10-19-2017, 07:08 AM.
    We don't stop playing because we get old; we get old because we stop playing ~ Satchel Paige

  • #2
    Congratulations! Tullamore Dew was a great choice for such an occasion. Glad you also got to finish off your 46 with an awesome traverse as well.

    Good thing that little bit of knee pain wasn't aggressive enough to keep you from starting round 2
    My mind was wandering like the wild geese in the west.

    Comment


    • #3
      Attempting to post RPR finish photo: Click image for larger version

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      We don't stop playing because we get old; we get old because we stop playing ~ Satchel Paige

      Comment


      • Trail Boss
        Trail Boss commented
        Editing a comment
        Three cheers for the forum's software upgrade! You were able to post your victorious 46er photo to the forum ... and it's much larger than a postage stamp!

      • debmonster
        debmonster commented
        Editing a comment
        Yes, I thought the same thing. =D

    • #4
      Originally posted by FlyFishingandBeer View Post
      Congratulations! Tullamore Dew was a great choice for such an occasion. Glad you also got to finish off your 46 with an awesome traverse as well.

      Good thing that little bit of knee pain wasn't aggressive enough to keep you from starting round 2
      Thanks! If I ever do decide on "Round 2" I think that I'll try to cover new trails or approach peaks from ways I haven't been before. We'll see what happens...
      We don't stop playing because we get old; we get old because we stop playing ~ Satchel Paige

      Comment


      • #5
        Congrats on your finish! Well done!

        Comment


        • debmonster
          debmonster commented
          Editing a comment
          Thanks, but after seeing your awesome photos from the hike to Bald Peak, I am DEFINITELY going back to do the traverse on a clear day.

        • Makwa
          Makwa commented
          Editing a comment
          ha! I was gonna say that but didn't want to hijack the thread and diminish your big news. Definitely worth a revisit. The views are awesome.

      • #6
        Congratulations, that's fantastic! Glad you had an excellent day, and sounds like you paced yourself just right.

        Comment


        • debmonster
          debmonster commented
          Editing a comment
          Thank you! I enjoyed every step of it, even when the knee locked up.

      • #7
        Congratulations! A grand route for a finish!

        I don't think I ever saw a "Camp Here" disk at Marie-Louise but did receive confirmation from a ranger that it's a legit site. The privy is a new one for me. Maybe they added it around the time they built the boardwalk over the outlet (haven't seen that for myself yet, just photos).

        Problem with your right knee?!? I didn't think one could catch knee problems just by reading about them here! Let's hope it was one of those temporary quirks and nothing more.
        Looking for Views!

        Comment


        • debmonster
          debmonster commented
          Editing a comment
          Thanks! I felt incredibly lucky to have gotten the chance to try the traverse, and to find such a generous and fun group who made it happen. Also adding an "oops," as it was actually my left knee! How odd that I got that wrong. I just corrected it.
          Last edited by debmonster; 10-10-2017, 06:10 PM.

        • Trail Boss
          Trail Boss commented
          Editing a comment
          I had politely omitted to say your knee problem might be due to aging. I may have to reconsider now that you've admitted you described the wrong knee ... and can't explain why!

          Welcome to the club?

          PS
          Your youthful appearance in the photo definitely disqualifies you from the "aging club"!

        • debmonster
          debmonster commented
          Editing a comment
          Oh, the aging factor may indeed be part of it. And the gaffe could have certainly been a senior moment, as I am now a 50 year old. Then again, they say that 50 is the new 30. :P

      • #8
        An enjoyable report and congratulations on your finish.
        Don

        Comment


        • debmonster
          debmonster commented
          Editing a comment
          Thanks!

      • #9
        Congrats on the finish! That traverse sounds incredible and is a hike I hope to do soon. Also, the Tullamore Dew is a great idea!

        Comment


        • debmonster
          debmonster commented
          Editing a comment
          Thank you! And yes, indeed, the traverse is highly recommended. I would have been just fine with the out and back, but the eastern half of the traverse is a really special place.

      • #10
        Big congratulations Debmonster! Always a pleasure reading your reports. The traverse is a great way to finish. Now you get to do them all over again But enjoy the memories first!

        Comment


        • debmonster
          debmonster commented
          Editing a comment
          Thanks! I really do cherish the memories from each of my high peaks hikes. I sometimes feel like I wear rose colored glasses when hiking in the Adirondacks, because I rarely leave with any negative feelings, even if the weather was bad or I didn't feel as well as hoped. I love the challenges of these mountains and the history associated with them. I hope to keep coming back for many years to come.

      • #11
        I'll add my congratulations as well. I, too finished on Rocky Peak Ridge in he fog. That was to get it done before I had to go back home and go back to school. Of course, now I live here and have been to at least five other 46-er finishes on Rocky Peak - the last one last October and also in the fog.

        A few years ago, my climbing companion from my finish summer came east from Minnesota so that we could climb Rocky Peak with some other friends and celebrate the 46th anniversary of our finish there. The hike was especially memorable because Mickey Healy (46r #164) and now owner with his wife of Simply Gourmet in Lake Placid (home of 46 unique sandwiches) was able to join us while providing Rocky Peak sandwiches.

        And Taras, yes, the privy was added when the material was flown for the new bridge. The ATIS crew utilized every piece they could in the structure, but there is still quite a bundle of material left. Don't know what will happen to that. If you need a piece of pressure treated.....

        Comment


        • debmonster
          debmonster commented
          Editing a comment
          Thank you, Tony, for sharing that fantastic memory! I love the idea of an anniversary hike, or any hike, to RPR whenever possible. I certainly hope to return often.

      • #12
        Debmonster,
        Big congrats on the finish. I'm glad it was a great day. You bought Tullamore Dew. We brought Polish Blackberry Brandy for our finish. All delicious choices!

        The third hike I ever did in the Dax was the traverse of RPR & Giant with my wife. It was a very tough day and nearly broke my wife. We went opposite from New Russia to Giant. A beautiful but tough day. We were ADK newbies back then..... Anyway, glad you finished. Enjoy the achievement!
        Catskills: 39/39, 26W/35W
        ADK: 46/46

        Comment


        • debmonster
          debmonster commented
          Editing a comment
          Thanks! So glad that you finished your peaks as well. That climb up from New Russia would be very long and very tough. Well done to you and your wife for getting it done - and coming back for more.

      • #13
        Congratulations! I love the triumphant photo.
        - from another member of the tricksy-knee club.

        Comment


        • debmonster
          debmonster commented
          Editing a comment
          Thank you! I hope that my membership in that club is very temporary.

      • #14
        Allow me to add my congratulations to the pile! I finished my 46 on RPR as well on a beautiful sunny day. I think it's time to start a knee problems and solutions thread! Maybe put it in a new section for "The Aging Hiker".
        Project-100: 100 peaks, one winter. https://project100singlewinter.wordpress.com/

        Comment


        • debmonster
          debmonster commented
          Editing a comment
          Thanks! I remember a post from a few years ago where you talked about your finish on RPR, and it helped me to decide that was a good option. And considering the intensive hikes you've been doing the past few years, it sounds like you're aging in reverse! I intend to keep fighting the good fight as well. Just a number, after all.

      • #15
        Fantastic! My son and I hope to finish on RPR.
        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


        • debmonster
          debmonster commented
          Editing a comment
          Thank you! I love hearing about family members who are working on the 46 together, it must be an incredible bonding experience. I hope that you and your son enjoy the journey, and have a wonderful finish when you get there.
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