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46er Washout

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  • 46er Washout

    Well the weather gods did not smile on us this weekend (at least for 1/2 of it) and daughter Colleen was not able to finish her 46 this weekend as hoped for. The plan was to hike to Slant Rock and do Basin and Saddleback on Saturday then do Skylight and Gray (via Marcy) the next day and out. Well, the mountains and the weather certainly humbled my grand plans (probably TOO grand in retrospect).

    We stayed at the Davis Motel in Schroon Lake Friday night and awoke at 6:00 to a heavy rain. The weather station radar showed a lot of rain so we took it easy getting to Keene Valley hoping for a break in the rain. The lot of only 1/2 full at 8:00 when we arrived in the pounding rain so off we went to the Mountaineer and grocery store to kill some time while waiting for the rain to slow (which it really didn't).

    By 10:00 or so we went back to the Garden and started hiking in the rain...it appeared to diminish as we approached JBL and I thought we might get lucky but the heavy rain soon started again. My son Brian took a nasty tumble just past Bushnell Falls while walking on a plank bridge...he was at the end and stepped on the log that holds the end of the plank and slipped and took a header right into the mud and of course couldn't get up with a full pack on his back...I saw the whole thing and thought "Oh god he'll break a leg"...he was OK...he bruised a shoulder a bit but his pride was wounded more.

    We hit SR about 2:00 in the rain and thank god found room in the LT. We had tents but there was a lot of standing water in the camping areas. As we were preparing to try for Basin and Saddleback two rangers came by. They asked us our plans and seemed REAL concerned when I told them. They really hammered it in that it was a long way and the weather would be even worse up high and that it would be hard to get help if we ran into trouble and it would be miserable and to take extra food, clothes, flashlights with us. I kept telling them I wouldn't do anything stupid and would turn around if it got too late or miserable but they kept pouring it on. To be honest it did get a bit irritating but in hindsight they were EXACTLY right...I thought we could do the hike (5.8 miles I figured) in 4 1/2 to 5 hours, at most, so we would be back by 7:00-7:30.

    So at about 2:30 up the Shorey trail we go and it was miserable. The rain was relentless. The trail is rough with rocks and roots all over the place...with the rain it really looked like a stream. As we hit the height of land the wind picked up. We got as far as the Range trail...only .7 miles to Basin per the sign but I remembered that portion of the trail to Basin as being rough and steep and Colleen looked VERY apprehensive (hell after listening to the rangers I was scared myself!) I knew we could never get up Saddleback in these conditions so we bailed out and went back to the LT getting there about 4:30 or 5:00.

    The LT had two other occupants...two summit stewarts who were very nice and friendly. The rain slowed down at about 9:00 and during the night cleared up entirely revealing an absolutely STUNNING view of the stars...there's nothing like the night sky on a clear night in the mountains.

    On Sunday the weather was BEAUTIFUL and we had to decide whether to do the Basin/Saddleback hike or to try the Skylight/Gray route...I decided to do Basin/SB so off we went at about 8:30 up the Shorey trail again...it was better without the high water but still rough. The trail up Basin is VERY steep and rough and I thought there was no way we could have done it in the conditions the day before. The Basin summit view was fantastic as usual and made the effort worth it. On to Saddleback we went. The trail down basin (toward SB) is very steep and rough. The big bump between Basin and SB was a pain (I had forgotten about it). The climb up SB was fairly short...the cliffs were fun but we lost any paint blazes on the really steep part...I think we went too far to the right but we made it up. Great views from the top but we had to hurry so down we went. We stayed right (on the way down) and it seemed easier. We had a great lunch break on Basin. We were back at the LT at 2:00. During the hike I was happy I didn't try SL and Gray because we would have run out of time.

    This was a rough little hike and it did humble me a bit...It's 5.8 miles round trip from the LT and it took us 5.5 hours over all the ups and downs so we averaged just a bit over 1 mile/hour which is a bit slow for us. I never thougt it would take us that long.

    We packed up and headed out a bit after 3:00. I had felt miserable as we packed up and wondered if I had not drank enough so I pounded the water and gatorade and ate a bunch of food and even carried a water bottle as I hiked and soon felt great. We hit JBL a bit before 5:00...we ate and took a 1/2 hour break and started again at about 5:25 and hit the Garden at about 7:00....Unfortunately Phat Shannon's was out of pizza dough so we "settled" for a meal at the Noonmark and then drove 4 hours home.

    So, in short the Adirondacks put me back in my place (mere mortals that we are). On the down side Colleen didn't finish (she took it in stride...I pouted for a while) but on the upside I get to wrangle an "extra" trip to the ADKs for her to finish...which is always good....I'm already planning the next try!
    Pat Connors

  • #2
    Been there myself. The mountains have a way of reminding us who really is in charge.

    Colleen, those mountains aren't going anywhere. Your time will come.

    Good luck!
    #5585

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    • #3
      Great report guys!!!!!! Dad do you have any pictures?
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