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Working on this whole 46R - high peaks problem in my mind...

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  • Working on this whole 46R - high peaks problem in my mind...

    I started hiking in college 1980's because I liked being in the woods. There was a whole 'Lord of the Rings' feel to hiking that I loved. I loved meeting other hikers. I love the mountains and streams and everything. I hiked in the Harriman state park, the White Mountains and the Adirondacks. I did keep lists of mountains I climbed but just to remember which ones I did. I did want to climb them all just to see them all. The idea of climbing them all as an accomplishment did not even dawn on me.

    Now it seems that this 46r idea has changed the nature of the people I meet in the woods. Instead of most people being those quirky weirdos that traipsed around in the woods for some self directed reason, the woods are filled with people thinking they are a number on a list wanting to finish the list to be a number on a list of people that finished the list.

    You are not a number on a list. If the only thing you get out of a mountain is a number on a list you wasted a lot of time, money and effort on something and you missed the meaning of the thing that you did.

    You are like a person that keeps chickens and collects the turds instead of the eggs.

    As Bruce Lee would say the 46r list is like a finger pointing at the moon. Look at the moon, not the finger.

    I like hiking fast (not that I can do it.) but don't get me started on this whole FKT. But I like when Neil does his events because he is doing it for the good of the Adirondacks.

    My son wants to hike the 46 peaks and I am doing it with him but I think he really gets it. I suggested that we do Grey peak (we had done all the other surrounding peaks) by camping at Panther Gorge which was not a very efficient use of our time to getting 46r peaks done. He replied 'Its not about the peaks, its about the wilderness. That's a great idea!'

    I am thinking maybe the whole idea of the 46r list and club with an awards ceremony and maybe even the name 'High Peaks' is a bad idea for hikers and a bad idea for the Adirondacks.

    I am trying to figure out what these feelings mean for my actions and what my actions mean for the Adirondacks. I am thinking of not being part of this forum. I registered myself again in the Adirondack forum this morning. I used to be on the forum too but something was screwed up with my id. I was able to get in this morning so that was good.

    I think if we just call our activity "hiking in the Adirondacks" people might be open to other adventures in the whole area instead of just going to the high peaks. My son and I hike in the Lake George area and that is just great. I want to see more or the park.

    MAKWA is an inspiration to me.

    I don't have any solid ideas and actions but I am just working it all out in my head.

    I know one thing. I have to get involved in volunteering some how.

    I am not writing this to insult anyone. Hike your own hike. I am writing to get people thinking and myself thinking.


    Leave No Trace! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jXO1uY0MvmQ
    ThereAndBack http://www.hikesafe.com/

  • #2
    Geez... I was formulating a well-thought out rebuttal in my head as I was reading your post and then you paid me a compliment. Thank you. If I'm an inspiration to you in any way that is great but I'm just a guy working more lists at the same time in the Adirondacks than probably anybody else out there. I love the various lists and challenges. When Learning The Trails and I hiked Poke-O-Moonshine a few weeks ago we met a guy on the summit and talked about the ADK hiking challenges for probably an hour. We continued the discussion on our descent. As I explained to him, my personal reason for pursuing them all is to keep me motivated. If not for the lists I'd probably get in a rut of hiking the same mountains around Lake George over and over or maybe once in a while head up the Route 73 corridor. The lists give me an excuse to go out and explore all corners of the Adirondacks. I always have something to look forward to and love doping out where I'm going next and how much I can cram into a trip north. For me it's fun. For others it might seem like a nightmare figuring it all out. To each his own.

    The lure of the High Peaks in undeniable. The 46 is definitely a draw. The hope is that people enjoy it along the way and find their own meaning in it. And, that they return to the region. I've seen dozens of former forum members drop off the face of the earth after finishing their 46. Never post here again. I often wonder where they all went and if they ever hike in the Adirondacks anymore. But tons more have said their first High Peak hike hooked them for life and they come back every chance they get.

    I will say it took me a LONG time after finishing my 46 to not feel inadequate for not being on a High Peak every weekend. Every time I stood atop a lesser peak I looked at the big boys off in the distance and wished I was there. It took several years to be comfortable just hiking wherever. I so enjoy my mini adventures inside the blue line but still have that urge every so often to go climb a High Peak. The other thing that has been great for me personally is winter hiking. The physical challenge is big enough that even on lesser peaks you feel like you've really accomplished something. Beyond all that I suppose it's a personal thing as to what you want to get out of a hiking trip. I stop and and look at little things I see. I take lots of pictures. I like to tell a story afterward in a trip report I post on the forum. All of that is part of the fun for me. Others might not be as curious or find any of that fun. They do their own thing and that's fun for them. As you said, hike your own hike. Everybody is out there for a different reason. Personally, I find it odd when people talk constantly the entire time they are out hiking. Can't shut their traps long enough to enjoy what's around them. Can't stand watching people on their phones on summits when a beautiful landscape is right there in front of them. I cannot fathom walking right over a summit without stopping and continuing down the ridge to the next peak because you're out for an epic hike. Stop for a minute and enjoy the scenery a little! These are all my pet peeves but I don't let them ruin my enjoyment of my outing. I can't expect people to be like me or want the same things I do. I would recommend to you that you shouldn't be discouraged if you don't see others experiencing a hike in the same way that it might be enriching to you. You can't make people love things the same way you love them.

    But here's the thing... everybody is somehow changed by the experience of the 46 whether they are aware of it in the moment or not. Whether that be enjoying the natural world around them more, or getting in shape or losing weight to get the 46 done, or spending more time with families and friends, or whatever. I think everybody can look back at the 46 and explain how its made them a better person. Meeting a snapshot of a person in the woods for a few minutes isn't giving you the full picture of who they are or what they are all about and how they will reflect back on their pursuit of any list once they have finished it. Remember the day we met on the Tongue Mt Range last winter? My lips were so cold I couldn't put two words together without sounding like a mushmouth. But that's not me typically. On that day it was but normally I'm much more talkative. You got a snapshot of me. Same can be said for others you meet on the trail. You've seen them for a few minutes. Give them the benefit of the doubt.

    And please stick with the forum. Maybe your words or attitude or love of the mountains will rub off on somebody reading. You might be an inspiration and not even know it.

    Comment


    • #3
      I agree with both of you. I am aspiring to enjoy hiking, be better at it, more peaceful, meet fun people, have new experiences, and yes I have my eye on a few patches. I recently finished the Lake George 12ster and eagerly await my name being added to the roster. I have 19 of the ADK 29, and plan to tackle the Saranac 6 winter challenge. I find the challenges motivating and engaging. I am pursuing multiple challenges simultaneously, except for one. I am NOT an aspiring 46er. This is for a host of reason, including the trampling of the Adirondacks, my acquired distaste for non-enjoyable activities, my desire to shop in Lake George outlets on my way home from hiking, drop a kayak, or spend my afternoon in otherwise enjoyable activities, and the fact that I am a busy lady and not a top notch athlete.

      There is no greater douche baggery then someone who becomes a 46er and then stops hiking. Also there are the ass clowns who join hiking forums and say "I want to become a 46 are, where do I start? "Sometimes I say "start with some easier hikes". It becomes pretty clear why some people are scrambling up Cascade just to say they conqured one of the big ones.

      But the truth is we all hike for our own unique combination of reason and motivations. My darling late husband was once active on this forum. He hiked 41 of 46, with Dial and the Sewards to go. He "dropped out" of the activity after diagnosis with stage IV cancer at age 41. It was a dream of his to hike another high peak in the summer of 2017, his last summer on earth. I had minimal hiking background at that time but agreed to summit Pyramid, his favorite hike. And yes, this is damn sure a high peak even though its too close to Gothics to "count".

      July 15th, 2017 a humble group set out from Roaring Brook around 730 AM. I remember the misty rain that fell on us along the lake road, and some of the silly conversations with strangers that passed us. Ken remarked about how he once pooped behind a famous rock formation featured in a hiking photography book. We took a break and pictures at Lower Ausable Lake. At Rainbow Falls Ken gave a pep talk to a group of young guys, clearly ill prepared with one in orange work boots, who were also headed up the Weld trail. Then we started the slow ascent up the trail with the stinkiest mud that I've encountered in the Adirondacks. I needed a pep talk at the steep rock slide just before the Weld trail starts to really climb. I can hear him say "You can do it. Trust your shoes". I don't really remember the view at the top, because I couldn't take my eyes off of him as he gazed out, with tears in his eyes, looking out over the high peaks likely knowing it was the last time.

      On the way down, we encountered that same group of young guys we had seen at Rainbow falls. They were making their way up even slower than our group. The young man in the work boots was in rough shape. Ken gave him another quick pep talk. For all I know, he is now an aspiring or accomplished Adirondacks 46er as a result.

      The walk out on the lake road was like a death march. He had done little cardiovascular exercise in the preceding 1-2 years, and his bones were riddled with cancer. But muscles do have some memory. There was a sense of victory and accomplishments difficult to describe at the end of our 14 plus mile, 40,000 fit bit step, and 9 hour hike on that day in July. I've never seen someone as happy as he was to have met that goal.

      After his passing I set out on my own hiking journey. We all have our own climb.

      Comment


      • Adirondackiteer
        Adirondackiteer commented
        Editing a comment
        I'm so sorry for your loss. Wow this feels close to home since I'm also 41. Haven't been to a doctor in many years so this is a good reminder to get in there. That is pretty honorable of you to not be interested in being a 46er, even though I have recently completed my last few of the 46 I am not sure I'll actually register since the number isn't really what I'm after but I also like to support those organizations like the 46'rs and the ADK club since I know they do good for the mountains. It was more just an organized way to focus my efforts, since there are just so many peaks out there. Even long before finishing the 46 I've loved re-hiking several of the mountains I've already done, as well as the smaller mountains and other great hikes in the area. I'm not a fan of the one and done hikers either, except for some really miserable hikes that I don't plan to revisit.
        I hope your hiking journey brings you much joy for many years to come

      • Unabated Light
        Unabated Light commented
        Editing a comment
        Thanks for the condolences. Maybe, just maybe I'll hit all those high peaks. ;-) Lets see how long I live and continue to enjoy the blessings of good health and capability. Health is wealth! I'll never take that for granted. And I will always try to live up to what someone very special told me. "You can do anything you set your mind to" or my own version: "most of us are capable of more than we think"!

      • FlyFishingandBeer
        FlyFishingandBeer commented
        Editing a comment
        We very well may have crossed paths that day. A friend and I hiked a portion of the LGR as a clockwise loop (Saw>Goth>Upper>Lower). If my notes are accurate, we set out right around 7:30 from a parking spot right across from the Roaring Brook TH.

    • #4
      Hiking ( and the outdoors in general) are strictly a recreational activity for me. I don't think too deeply about what motivates other people who are out there. Pond-hopping, bushwhacking, FKT, ADK-100, ADK-3k peaks, single seasons, grids....it's all good to someone and who am I to question (or doubt, or criticize) their styles let alone their particular source of motivation.

      I like to think of myself as a multiple personality type hiker. I don't have only one mode of hiking. I can really enjoy a bushwhack at 0.5 mph marveling at every little feature, studying the map and straining my brain to know where I might be. At the other extreme I can also enjoy trailed hiking with a stop watch and a spreadsheet, marking my times on each peak, recording my heart rate for each leg and hustling for 12 hours at the limit of my physiology.

      People who do the 46 and quit hiking - cool with me. It may have been the toughest thing they ever did, mentally and physically and they felt like quitting more than once but something made them nut it out.

      Comment


      • #5
        Originally posted by Bunchberry View Post
        I started hiking in college 1980's because I liked being in the woods. There was a whole 'Lord of the Rings' feel to hiking that I loved. I loved meeting other hikers. I love the mountains and streams and everything. I hiked in the Harriman state park, the White Mountains and the Adirondacks. I did keep lists of mountains I climbed but just to remember which ones I did. I did want to climb them all just to see them all. The idea of climbing them all as an accomplishment did not even dawn on me.

        Now it seems that this 46r idea has changed the nature of the people I meet in the woods. Instead of most people being those quirky weirdos that traipsed around in the woods for some self directed reason, the woods are filled with people thinking they are a number on a list wanting to finish the list to be a number on a list of people that finished the list.

        You are not a number on a list. If the only thing you get out of a mountain is a number on a list you wasted a lot of time, money and effort on something and you missed the meaning of the thing that you did.

        You are like a person that keeps chickens and collects the turds instead of the eggs.

        As Bruce Lee would say the 46r list is like a finger pointing at the moon. Look at the moon, not the finger.

        I like hiking fast (not that I can do it.) but don't get me started on this whole FKT. But I like when Neil does his events because he is doing it for the good of the Adirondacks.

        My son wants to hike the 46 peaks and I am doing it with him but I think he really gets it. I suggested that we do Grey peak (we had done all the other surrounding peaks) by camping at Panther Gorge which was not a very efficient use of our time to getting 46r peaks done. He replied 'Its not about the peaks, its about the wilderness. That's a great idea!'

        I am thinking maybe the whole idea of the 46r list and club with an awards ceremony and maybe even the name 'High Peaks' is a bad idea for hikers and a bad idea for the Adirondacks.

        I am trying to figure out what these feelings mean for my actions and what my actions mean for the Adirondacks. I am thinking of not being part of this forum. I registered myself again in the Adirondack forum this morning. I used to be on the forum too but something was screwed up with my id. I was able to get in this morning so that was good.

        I think if we just call our activity "hiking in the Adirondacks" people might be open to other adventures in the whole area instead of just going to the high peaks. My son and I hike in the Lake George area and that is just great. I want to see more or the park.

        MAKWA is an inspiration to me.

        I don't have any solid ideas and actions but I am just working it all out in my head.

        I know one thing. I have to get involved in volunteering some how.

        I am not writing this to insult anyone. Hike your own hike. I am writing to get people thinking and myself thinking.

        Getting involved in volunteering is relatively easy to do. There are plenty of groups who lead volunteer efforts and plenty of places to volunteer!

        -Addison


        Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

        Comment


        • Charlene 2.0
          Charlene 2.0 commented
          Editing a comment
          Yup. Don't have to be a 46r to do volunteer trailwork. They're always welcoming of new volunteers...

      • #6
        Bunchberry I took offense with someone who posted a meme type picture of President Obama placing a medal around President Obama on one of the hiking Facebook groups and related that to the way 46ers are when they go to the 46er dinner. Offense meaning posting a quizzical emoji. I don't know why people feel the need to denigrate the 46ers. They do a lot for the High Peaks and Adirondacks in general with person power as Trailhead Stewards, as correspondents and trailworkers. They also donate significant $$ to support the Summit Steward program. I do think that the patch does sometimes attract people who don't "get it" as you allude to and that's why I think a certain level of volunteering, say 46 hours, should be a requirement before achieving 46er status. But I'm not the king so..... For myself, I enjoy earning the patches. It is something to shoot for that helps organize the effort. I look at it no differently as something that inspires training like a 5 or 10 K or a half marathon or marathon or a triathlon of varying lengths. Closing in on my NE 115 and then maybe I can just focus on helping my wife through the 46 and the FT challenge and not being as intense, since my wife has no desire to bang those out quickly. I have no intention to not be in the woods though. It's a good relief from the stress of daily life.

        Comment


        • #7
          Instead of most people being those quirky weirdos that traipsed around in the woods for some self directed reason, the woods are filled with people thinking they are a number on a list wanting to finish the list to be a number on a list of people that finished the list.
          I don't think this is the case. I think the majority of people hiking in the HP's are just hiking. IIRC ADKJack once posted something about most hikers not even knowing what the 46 was.

          Comment


          • #8
            Originally posted by Neil View Post
            I don't think this is the case. I think the majority of people hiking in the HP's are just hiking. IIRC ADKJack once posted something about most hikers not even knowing what the 46 was.
            I have spoken with a few folks over the last couple of years, many on summits of the, well let’s call them the “gateway” mountains; Cascade, Wright. Algonquin, Marcy and Colden. From those interactions I have gleaned that most of those were aware of the “46” but the overwhelming majority had any idea about the ADK 46ers as an organization.
            I think there as many reasons for people to pursue the 46 as there are hikers who attempt them. Quantifying how many of those who actually complete the task upon claiming it as a goal is pretty much impossible. My guess is it is a small percentage. And of those who do how many actually join the organization? Hard to tell.
            So I have thought about this from time to time and really need to reflect on my motivation. As with many, I climbed Cascade and Porter and was smitten. I saw all those wonderful peaks and wanted to check more of them out. I was more in it for the physical, mental and perhaps spiritual aspects. My inner 6 year old ( think Calvin as in the cartoon) was awoken. I was aware that there were 46 high peaks but it really wasn’t a viable option I thought.
            Then I joined a little forum group and read about all the cool things folks were doing and thought, “man, I really like these people. I wanted to be like Pete Hickey, Joe Bogardus, Neil, Timmus, Rik and a host of others that showed me the community side of being a 46er. It was not about bravado but about becoming.
            I figure the best thing I can do is model those characteristics that endeared me to becoming a true 46er.
            "Climbing is about freedom. There's no prize money; there are no gold medals. The mountains are all about going there to do what you want to do. That's why I'll never tell anyone else how to climb. All I can say is, This is how I prefer to do it."
            Ed Viesturs

            Comment


            • Yury
              Yury commented
              Editing a comment
              "I wanted to be like Pete Hickey, Joe Bogardus, Neil, Timmus, Rik ..."
              By the way, what happened to Pete and Rik?
              They are not active on this forum anymore.

            • PA Ridgerunner
              PA Ridgerunner commented
              Editing a comment
              Preach it, brother. And I would add to your list the names ADKJack and RandomScooter.

            • Charlene 2.0
              Charlene 2.0 commented
              Editing a comment
              Yury, a LOT of fascinating types left when the format of the forum changed a few years back... From the vibe of a bunch of nutters BSing and knocking heads around a campfire to more of an information source.
              Things change... :(

          • #9
            I agree with most of what's here. Hike your own hike. Have fun! Don't do any damage (littering, tree chopping, etc.). If running the trail, or stopping every minute to take pictures of flowers is how you enjoy the woods, go for it.

            Sadly, some folks seem to feel the need to denigrate others. Even the most inspiring post in this thread (and my condolences; and I did in fact find it inspiring) was spoiled by a an unneeded paragraph of judgmental name-calling.

            Please just have fun, and let others have fun.

            Comment


            • #10
              Originally posted by Neil View Post
              I like to think of myself as a multiple personality type hiker.
              If you are concerned, there are drugs for that!
              Leave No Trace! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jXO1uY0MvmQ
              ThereAndBack http://www.hikesafe.com/

              Comment


              • #11
                Originally posted by Neil View Post
                IIRC ADKJack once posted something about most hikers not even knowing what the 46 was.
                This is true. The first time I met Jack was on Cascade and we chatted about peaks, trails, views, etc. He very briefly mentioned the "46" High Peaks, to which I nodded and pretended to understand. When I got home I pulled out my map and did a couple of Google searches only to find out I was ~40% of the way through the list and immediately started lurking around this forum.

                About a year later I decided to stop lurking, start taking the list more seriously, and started asking questions here. A few rounds later I still haven't registered for a roster number (and probably never will) and still have that same enthusiasm for these peaks that I had the day I summited Algonquin for the first time. Since then I've summited a huge chunk of the Whites, have made a few back country trips in Alaska, central America, MI's Upper Peninsula (the "Yoop"), and a few other noteworthy places. Somehow this region in this state that I'm not originally from and have made several attempts to move away from (for family reasons) feels like home every time I set foot here. It helped re-center me after my last deployment, provided much needed therapy after the losses of family members and close friends, and has taught me more about culture, economics, gov't, US history, geology, biology, and how to generally be a decent person than years of formal higher education and so-called advanced degrees ever did. For some reason the ADK, and the High Peaks region in particular is the only place I've ever stepped away from and have constantly longed to return to... call it FOMO or homesick or whatever.

                I don't love the 46'rs organization, but I respect their mission, vision, and values. I don't love the media/social media attention that this place gets but I understand why people feel the need to talk about it. I wanted to be the last one in and to hear the door firmly shut behind me, but would never wish for anyone else to miss out on this place and all it has to offer. People will continue to come to the HPs for their own reasons, and people will b!tch about them. New business will open up and people will b!tch about those. Cars will travel too fast and it will upset people, and then speed restrictions will be imposed and it will upset other people. The DEC will make new regs and pass new laws and we'll all collectively b!tch about those. At the end of each and every day there will be trails to be hiked, mountains to be climbed, and in Neil's case, bushes to be whacked. Enjoy this place while your body still allows it (there are forum members who would love to be in our shoes, in terms of health), park where you can while the towns/state still allows it, and advocate to keep it wild and accessible. Just don't lose sight of why you took your first steps here, wild-eyed and curious, grinning ear to ear with anticipation of what lies around the next corner and over the next scramble. HYOH; YMMV.

                EDIT: Oh and one last thing. If you're going to get yourself into a SAR situation, please eat salamanders, don't attempt to self-rescue from snowy summit slopes, ignore your map and compass in favor of AllTrails, and please don't tell anyone you're hitchhiking to Sacramento. Being able to Monday morning QB these situations to death not only provides for good teaching moments and situational analysis, but gives the Forum something to talk about for a couple weeks at a time.
                My mind was wandering like the wild geese in the west.

                Comment


                • #12
                  After my life crashed I considered moving away. Other than having no particular place I want to go, I'll tell you that it was these mountains that kept me in Upstate New York. I may be a homeless wandering soul, but I cannot be farther away than a day trip hike in the high peaks would be possible from. Maybe these rugged yet beautiful mountains are (a la William Faulkner) "a postage stamp of soil that I would never live long enough to exhaust".

                  Comment


                  • Gerard01
                    Gerard01 commented
                    Editing a comment
                    My condolences on your loss. I would say keep hiking. Let the mountains heal you.

                • #13
                  Originally posted by Unabated Light View Post
                  There is no greater douche baggery then someone who becomes a 46er and then stops hiking. Also there are the ass clowns who join hiking forums and say "I want to become a 46 are, where do I start?
                  Yowch! That's a bit harsh. I can think of better examples of douche baggery. But, no politics allowed!

                  I used to wonder the same thing... thought there was maybe some great philosophical or self actualization reason for people going for their 46, and how could they just stop once they got it??? Didn't they become exceptional, enlightened, environmentally responsible, wilderness loving people committed to preserving and giving back to the Adirondacks when they finished? Didn't they learn anything? ...but, nah, nope, no, non, there isn't for most folk, and they don't. Less than 1% of 46rs do trailwork or any sort of giving back. For many, or so it seems to me, getting that 46 is like doing a marathon before you are 40, just to say you've done it... nothing wrong with that. I guess. And let's not forget all those untold numbers who climb the 46 and don't bother to join the 46rs...

                  Over the years, posters here have expressed a lot of reasons for their 46 quest... recovery from grief, or illness, or addiction,or abuse, or divorce (the whole self empowerment/recovery thing), trying to get fit, proving how fit they are, getting that number and the bumper sticker to add to their life resume, working out their self esteem issues, trying to fill some type of spiritual void, just having fun with their kids or spouse, a stepping stone for bigger hiking or climbing endeavours, and not a few who seemed to crave validation from strangers for their hiking efforts. I've always admired those who expressed the fun, friendship, adventure and discovery part of their quest above all and who went on to volunteer with the organization (or others) and truly give back, either with trailwork, adopting a path or firetower, or becoming a steward, or a correspondent. The list goes on.

                  As for the ass clowns... there used to be a closed beginner section here where newbies could ask absolutely basic questions as to how to get started (and not get called an ass clown for doing so)... which seems no more ass clownish to me than my having bought Jeff Galloway's book on marathon training when I wanted to do one before I was 40. (It's good to ask for guidance!) Some, although not all, forums and facebook sites are a decent resource when starting out. This one certainly is.

                  PS... I like your posts. Enjoy your journey.

                  Comment


                  • #14
                    When I read, Exploring the 46 High Peaks, I was fascinated with hiking the 46. I had hiked up smaller mountains and saw this as the ultimate challenge. I took a beating, just like everyone else, who have ventured out into these unforgiving mountains. I came to realize that I was after a patch. A piece of glory. When I first hiked Cascade, I paid the price for being overweight and out of shape. I made it to the top, but not before coughing and wheezing all the way up. It took 5 hours to hike a mountain that normally takes two hours. I began to work off my weight. When I took Porter, later on, I bagged it in just over two hours. By the time I hiked Giant, I had reached my optimal hiking weight of 260. I felt great on that hike. Unfortunately, my weight went up, then down. I’ve battled it for the last ten years. All that time, and 15 High Peaks later, i still had not understood fully why I was doing it. This thread made it clearer, but I have been reevaluating my reasons for hiking the 46. I went from grabbing a patch to putting mhm name on a list that would ensure I would not be forgotten. I would put my name out there. When I left this earth, my name would be stamped on something meaningful, instead of a grave marker or some bill collectors tally sheet. I never really accomplished much in life. I’ve failed in many things I set out to do. I wanted to finally succeed at something worthwhile. Yeah, I wanted that pat on the back. God knows, I’ve never known the feeling. Failure is a tough medicine to swallow. It makes you bitter. When you see four year old kids making it, or sick peolle giving it their all to make it, it kicks you in the guts. But, as Bushberry put it, you have to have a good reason. My reason to be known was not enough.

                    as I watched the 46 appear on social media, I saw hundreds of people posting their final 46 High Peak. I’ll admit, I was a bit envious. I went over my reasons for not finishing. Weight, health, time. If you really want something bad enough, you’ll go out and get it, but you need a powerful reason. I realized I had not found it, yet. It looked to me like 46’rs were being rolled off the production line. It took the thrill out of being one of the few to hike them. As I regained weight from last year and my health declined, I vowed not to hike the 46 until I was in better shape. Instead, I focused on a new fascination, the Fire Tower Challenge. I had discovered after going to a lecture at the Adirondack Museum on Fire Towers, I had actually hiked 9 towers without knowing it. I always liked the fire towers. When I saw one on a summit, I was excited to know more about them, but never really looked into them. I would always buy my patch after each Mountain, but I found a reason to hike them. Not to get on the list, but to discover the towers. I also dealt with my biggest fear: heights. I did not climb the first few towers. I was scared to death, but on Red Hill, in the Catskills, I decided to go up the steps and bury that fear. I’m still afraid, but I’ll climb those stairs each time. Can’t wait to hit Mt. Adams.

                    I just recently took the Saranac 6. There was no reason to finish the list other than I had two of them, already, so why not bag the rest? I did Ampersand on a whim with my cousins. St. Regis was a fire tower. Everyone said, would I take the rest? My initial answer was, I don’t know. I had no burn to get them. When I made the decision to finish the 6, it was to knock them out. Not get my name on the list, or become immortal. I had to hike something, if I was not doing the 46. So, where is this all leading to? The real reason to hike the 46.....

                    The reason is the Adirondacks.

                    When i first reached the summit of Cascade, I had recaptured what I felt when I hiked my first mountain in the Adirondacks, astonishment. I stood on the summit of Cathead mountain in the Southern Region, above The Great Sacandaga Lake, a Fire Tower in back of me, gazing out at forever. I never saw such a sight. I wanted to do it, again. I would The next year, and the year after that, until a dispute over the land closed the mountain down for good. I would hike, but not another mountain until Cascade, many years later. On Cascade, looking out at forever, I saw my reason, but did not grasp it. I would discover it when I hiked the fire towers. I buds because my first mountain was a fire tower. A deep seeded memory had triggered it when I hiked mhm next Tower. Overall, the Adirondacks themselves are my inspiration. The lakes. The rivers. The waterfalls. The fishing. I’m interested in paddling the quiet waters of the lakes and rivers. Nothing beats sitting by the lake and enjoying a cool breeze and enjoying nature. A deep inhale of fresh air, laced with pine. A lazy stroll along a trail with no intent on conquering a list. So, I guess, I don’t want to hike my next 46 as if I’m going to attack an enemy position and dreading it. I want to be raring to go. Maybe, I’ll feel that way, next year.
                    Nothing like being in the woods.

                    http://www.gerardsadirondackpics.shutterfly.com

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                    • bikerhiker
                      bikerhiker commented
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                      perfectly put last paragraph gerard

                    • Gerard01
                      Gerard01 commented
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                      Over the years, it began to feel like work, rather than fun. I love to hang out on a Peak and take my fill of everything. You put in the effort, at least, get something out of it. My times to reach a High Peak summit was getting worse. The exception was Esther and Whiteface. I had so much time that I actually goofed off most of the time. I returned to Tmax and Topo’s 15 hours later. My weight at the time was about 255. I was feeling great. This year, I came off a series of illnesses, serious weight gain. I just had no interest in hiking a High Peak. When that funk is on you it’s tough to get moving. I opted for lower mountains to keep me moving in some way.

                    • CatskillKev
                      CatskillKev commented
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                      Just as well not to speak of hiking in terms of war anyway. Smaller mountains are good for you, when the bigger ones are more than they're worth. You're making good decisions.

                  • #15
                    Like others, I hike because I love the outdoors, watching nature, the process of hiking. I'm very fond of high places with views (a pointy open peak, a ridge hike, etc). I've "backed into" the lists I've done -- i.e., realized at some point that I'd hiked so many that I might as well finish. I don't regret doing some peakbagging; it led me to summits I would never have visited. I finished the 46 in 1996 and the NE115 in 2007. I'm actually planning on finishing a second round of the NE115 (including the 46) in the next months. Again, several years ago I realized I only had about 3 dozen I hadn't hiked at least twice. But after this, I'm going to focus on revisiting old favorites and trying some new places. It's nice to finish the round again at age 70, but I want to use the remaining hiking time I have as well as possible. For the moment, I'm off to the Whites next week to hike 9 of my remaining 10 there. :-)

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                    • Gerard01
                      Gerard01 commented
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                      I admire you folks, who can hike several mountains in a day. If I had the physical ability, I might just do it as well. I might do it after the 46 is accomplished. There are so many mountains out there in the Adirondacks to hike.
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