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Colvin and Blake on 8-17-13

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  • Colvin and Blake on 8-17-13

    We were eager to squeeze in one final hike for the summer, and since we have left some of the more challenging hikes for last, Colvin and Blake looked like the “easiest.” Having done Cliff and Redfield earlier in the week, we were still feeling a little creaky when we crawled out of bed at 4:30. The trip to the Ausable Club parking lot went quickly – a good stretch of 28N has just been repaved and we actually made the trip without losing any fillings. Since it was a Saturday with fine weather predicted we expected to have some crowds, so it wasn’t surprising to find the lot about three quarters full when we arrived shortly before 7 am. We reached the register at 7:12 and started the walk down the Lake Road.

    I know folks have differing opinions about the Lake Road, but we actually appreciated the warm-up and the miles do speed by – at least in the morning while you are feeling fresh and looking forward to the day. We were surprised to reach the cutoff trail in just after an hour from the parking lot, and enjoyed the soft footing and easy grade it offers. The intersection with the Gill Brook trail came in about 15 minutes, and while the path became a bit more rugged, it was a breeze in comparison to Monday’s slog from Upper Works. The mud along the entire trip was minimal – only a few spots were truly wet, with most being that nice walkable stuff that has a fudge-like consistency. We reached the split in the trail for Elk Pass and Colvin at 9:00, almost exactly an hour from when we had left the Lake Road.


    Just below the split in the trail between Nippletop and Colvin.

    The trail up Colvin was a bit more rugged than we had anticipated, and the next 50 minutes to the summit seemed long. Several sections required some careful climbing, and Sue needed a boost on some of the steeper pitches. (She is spunky and a good climber, but “vertically challenged.”) We were especially disappointed to climb the final pitch to the summit only to discover it was actually the next to last steep pitch to the summit. So when we finally reached the actual summit and did the math, we were pleased and surprised to find we had done the entire climb in under 3 hours and were well ahead of our estimated timeline for the day.

    At the top there was a couple from Montreal that was just packing up to leave. They had left the lot at midnight and hiked up during the night to arrive on the summit at 5:00 am. They had watched the sunrise and thoroughly enjoyed the clear blue sky the National Weather Service had promised for the day. Of course, by now the clouds were rolling in, and our summits would be partly to mostly cloudy for the rest of the day. The views were still wonderful – it was fun to see the Great Range spread out in front of us, and to pick out the mountains we had climbed and the ones we still had to check off our list. The couple from Montreal kindly took our picture before they left, and we had the summit to ourselves. After a 20 minute break (Yes, Flash must have been tired from Monday as she gave me an extra five minutes on the summit), we started off towards Blake.


    View from Colvin.

    The walk along Colvin’s ridge is very nice, and again the mud was minimal. Sue was ready to take off her gaiters, but I convinced her to leave them on until we had had reached the summit of Blake. After 10 or 15 minutes you start the steep descent to the col between the summits. We certainly appreciated the addition of the ladders as we descended the final stretch into the col.


    One of the ladders on the back side of Colvin.

    Reaching the low point in the trail and the intersection with the Carry Trail after around 30 minutes from the summit, we immediately started the trek up to Blake. At first I was thinking folks were making way too big a deal about the mud and the steepness, but as you ascend they both do start to increase. Still the mud was minimal and Sue finally pulled off her gaiters and stowed them for the rest of the trip. We were happy to reach the ridge along the top of Blake, and struck off to find the summit. I’m glad I had seen pictures of the sign along the trail that serves as the unofficial marker, as there is high spot you reach a bit earlier that seems “summity” – a couple of weary hikers might have hopefully assumed was the end of their journey. We reached the actual summit a few minutes later at 11:16, a bit over an hour after leaving Colvin’s summit.

    We enjoyed our second lunch and enjoyed the partial views – since we had expected nothing in the way of any sort of vista, we were pleasantly surprised with what we could see and did feel Blake gets a bit of a bum rap in this respect. So Esther and Cliff remain tied as the peaks we are least likely to re-climb. After exactly 15 minutes on the summit, Sue had us back on the trail – it’s like she has an internal clock that goes off.


    View from the summit of Blake.

    Besides the couple on Colvin we had passed only one other hiker on the way up, and we had had both summits to ourselves. Now we started passing group after group, and with stopping to chat along the way, our return trip took a few extra minutes. There were three groups on the summit of Colvin when we returned, so it was close quarters! As we chatted with one couple we found out this was like his 23rd peak, but only her second since they had done Big Slide earlier in the week. As Ron Burgundy would say, “Boy, that escalated quickly…”

    We finished the last of our lunch, snapped some more photos, and started back on the trail. At this point our hike from earlier in the week was starting to catch up with us and our aging knees were complaining. We were being very careful about our steps, but we were still catching our toes and stumbling more than our typical hike out. We noticed the first campsite we came to was empty, so it was very surprising to see how jammed the next two were. We were chatting with a fellow who was wandering around trying to find a spot to setup for his group, so he was pretty pleased to hear private accommodations could be had for just an additional 10 minute hike up the trail. The entire hike down to the Lake Road took about as long as our ascent, so just over an hour and three quarters to arrive at the road at just after 2:30. The road was still smooth and fast, if just a bit more boring, and besides leaping to the side twice to dodge the bus, the final miles passed without incident.

    We arrived at the register about 50 minutes later, and were back to the car in 15 minutes more. At this point the Club was now a hub of activity – walkers, joggers, tennis players, golfers buzzing about in carts, and two giant inflatable bounce houses had been set up near the pool. All of it seemed a bit surreal after our 9 hour wilderness adventure. Most of the folks we ran into gave us a polite nod and said hello, while some others simply ignored the dirty, smelly hikers when we greeted them, but we were taken aback when one very pleasant woman stopped her jog to inquire about our trip and then congratulate us on the good time we had made. We actually left feeling like welcome visitors instead of unwanted interlopers.


    View from along the road through the Ausable Club.

    When we got back to the parking lot, a couple spots had opened up, but it was basically full with people parked along the road (in spite of the signs) and inventing parking spaces along the edges of the lots. As we drove back to the Northway we were shocked to see how crowded all of the parking areas were along Route 73 – no wonder we try to avoid hiking on the weekends! Our early start combined with two of the less visited peaks had certainly paid off.

    It was a refreshing change to be heading home so early, and we appreciated being able to shower before settling down to our Screamen Eagle pizza and wings – on hiking days our motto is always, “Calories don’t count!” This will be our last hike of the season as faculty meetings start for me next week, and for Sue the week after. With only 8 peaks left, we hope to finish our quest next summer in four trips – Allen, Gray and Skylight, Haystack-Basin-Saddleback, and our finish on Dial and Nippletop. I’m confident Sue will have a bad case of “single-digit fever” and we will back on the trails early next summer!



    Colvin Blake Timeline
    6:59 Parking Lot
    7:12 Register
    7:26 Dial/Nippletop trail
    8:02 Cutoff (Bypass) Trail
    8:15 Intersection with Gill Brook Trail
    9:00 Intersection Elk Pass/Nippletop trail
    9:50 Summit Colvin
    10:10 Leave Colvin
    10:43 Bottom of col/Carry Trail intersection
    11:16 Summit of Blake
    11:31 Leave Blake
    12:01 Bottom of col
    12:36 Summit of Colvin
    12:49 Leave Colvin
    1:37 Intersection Elk Pass/Nippletop trail
    2:36 Lake Road
    3:25 Register
    3:39 Parking Lot

    8 hours and 40 minutes

  • #2
    Thanks for the TR! A very nice finish to your summer!

    I don't know of you are exclusively summer-hikers but if you can squeeze in one more trip before next summer, may I suggest you return during leaf peeping season. You indicated you haven't visited a few summits in the Great Range. Armstrong, Gothics, Saddleback, etc are excellent vantage points for viewing the fall colors.
    Looking for Views!

    Comment


    • #3
      Isn't Blake awesome!!

      Nice report and hike! Glad you had good views and fair weather for your season ender!
      Limped thru the Northeast 115...

      Comment


      • #4
        I, too, am having the "end of summer blues", but we have already made fall reservations to go up Big Al and tackle Iroquois! Hopefully, we can sneak in a couple do-overs this winter, unless we get brave and tackle either the Santas or the Sewards.
        Nice TR. We did Colvin/Blake in March in rotten snow, so my memories are not pleasant of those two!
        I like the Lake Road; it's a nice walk at the end of the day especially with the sun setting behind Giant; of course, we usually are at the really end of the day when we come out because we are turtles.
        Have a great school year.
        Moo
        HPHikingmoo

        Comment


        • #5
          When I did Colvin and Blake a few years ago there were no ladders on the back side of Colvin. Imagine going up the rock in your picture without it! Luckily I was with 4 boys who boosted, pushed and pulled me!
          www.adkhikermom.webs.com
          46/46

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Trail Boss View Post
            I don't know of you are exclusively summer-hikers but if you can squeeze in one more trip before next summer, may I suggest you return during leaf peeping season. You indicated you haven't visited a few summits in the Great Range. Armstrong, Gothics, Saddleback, etc are excellent vantage points for viewing the fall colors.
            If only we could... Working for a school is great when when it comes to getting time off in the summer, but they get a bit fussy when you try missing school days. Our trip from the camp is only a couple hours, but from home it is long enough that driving up for the weekend is really tough.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by HPHikingMoo View Post
              I, too, am having the "end of summer blues", but we have already made fall reservations to go up Big Al and tackle Iroquois!
              Moo
              Thanks, Moo! We're not feeling too sorry for ourselves as we had five great hikes and added 10 peaks to our total. Our original goal had been to knock them off before we hit 60, but now 55 is looking doable... Assuming our backs and knees can hold out another season.

              We thought Iroquois was great, but be ready for how long and steep Algonquin will look when you start back up -- it really isn't as bad as it looks! The trail is narrow, so hopefully you can wear long sleeves in the fall.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by adkhikermom View Post
                When I did Colvin and Blake a few years ago there were no ladders on the back side of Colvin. Imagine going up the rock in your picture without it! Luckily I was with 4 boys who boosted, pushed and pulled me!
                Perhaps we can rent them for the climb up Saddleback?

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Pathgrinder View Post
                  Isn't Blake awesome!!

                  Nice report and hike! Glad you had good views and fair weather for your season ender!
                  Yes, i was really surprised with how much I liked Blake - and I'm intrigued with the approach over Pinnacle from Elk Lake... Guess that will have to wait until we're down with our first round!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Cliff House View Post
                    Thanks, Moo! We're not feeling too sorry for ourselves as we had five great hikes and added 10 peaks to our total. Our original goal had been to knock them off before we hit 60, but now 55 is looking doable... Assuming our backs and knees can hold out another season.

                    We thought Iroquois was great, but be ready for how long and steep Algonquin will look when you start back up -- it really isn't as bad as it looks! The trail is narrow, so hopefully you can wear long sleeves in the fall.
                    Looking forward to Iroquois. We did Big Al back in 2012 but a storm kept us from heading to Iroquois. Hopefully I am more fit than then and it will be a bit easier! Fall should be pretty.
                    Moo
                    HPHikingmoo

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