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Return to Sawteeth, Gothics and Armstrong - August 8th

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  • Return to Sawteeth, Gothics and Armstrong - August 8th

    Now that I have another hiker addicted to the Adirondacks, I get more opportunities to revisit some of my favorites.

    Monday was hot, but not too humid. We walked that miserable road from the AMR to the Weld trail. Nice trail, it goes up pretty continuously, but no real difficult, or overly steep parts. Your last chance for water (until you get back down) if you do this loop is about two-thirds of the way up this trail, so plan accordingly. Nothing of consequence to report on this trail.

    We cut over to Sawteeth first. It is about 25-30 minutes from the junction where the Weld Trail ends. Last year, there were two directional signs posted at the summit rock, so you were sure you were at the summit. This time, all that were there were holes and a few nails. I continue to be impressed by how daunting Pyramid and Gothics look from this place.

    We returned to the intersection at the col and headed up to Pyramid. Yes, it is still steep, with occassional views from ledges, but the rewards are beyond description. The views from the summit ledge are among the best (if not the best) in the High Peaks. Unlike last year, when the winds threatened to fly me off the mountain, this day was calm, allowing for a relaxing "sit and enjoy". The walk to Gothics from here is a quick descent and ascent (20 to 25 minutes without pushing). Gothics, of course afforded another spectacular view. While we met no one going up Pyramid, we found Gothics summit to be quite full. Included in that group was a family of four from the Rochester area. One daughter, one son who are working together on their 46. Three of them had already climbed Gothics in their 16 to date, but they were helping their daughter catch up, before continuing on, so they could finish together. Anyone here ever hear this story before?

    Deja Vu all over again.

    Most of the folks on Gothics that day seemed to have come up Orebed from the JBL, and did not plan on savoring the joy of Pyramid.

    We descended over to Armstrong, an easy thirty five minute walk, and came back down the (I think tedious) Beaver Meadow Trail. Filled our water bottles just before the Falls and headed down that awful road to my car. We took just under eleven hours for this loop, but that included about two hours of summit time. These mountains deserve at least that.

    BTW, we stayed at the DEC Sharp Bridge Campground that lies on rte 9 between exits 29 and 30 on the Northway. I have never seen it even close to full, the sites are spacious, new bathroom facilities, very convenient to Keene Valley and, with one qualification, I would recommend this campsite in a heartbeat. Unfortunately the series of rumble strips that were put in at that useless checkpoint on 87, have created a situation that generates a hellacious noise a half mile away every time a vehicle crosses over them. All night long it sounded like we were sleeping next to heavy machinery. From the campground, it doesn't sound like rat-a-tat tat, but BOOM BOOM BOOM.

    So, if you are a light sleeper, you may want to skip this otherwise very pleasant campground.
    #5585

  • #2
    Nice report! Now I have even more reason to hate those rumble strips!
    This post is for entertainment purposes only.

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    • #3
      Nice report for sure.

      A comment on the Awful Lake Road: I never used to like it either, but 2 things have changed my mind about it. One of them was switching to lighter style hiking boots - much more comfy for my feet and the walk is no longer painful. Two, I look at a map and I see how far into the woods it gets you for so little effort. Gotta say, I don't mind it anymore.

      A comment on the Useless border patrol Checkpoint & the rumble strips (border patrol intentionally NON-capitalized): *^$%#@*^$

      Glad ya had a good day there.........
      Walk Softly

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      • #4
        We stayed there for a trailwork weekend, a couple weeks ago, and I'll second the sound of those rumble strips.. especially the ones in the passing lane, that are over a culvert. This amplifies the sound greatly. When a truck is in the passing lane, it was LOUD!

        Complain to Homeland Security.
        Guinness: Goes in brown, comes out yellow.

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        • #5
          Re: Return to Sawteeth, Gothics and Armstrong - August 8th

          Originally posted by Silverback
          BTW, we stayed at the DEC Sharp Bridge Campground ...
          I stayed there last year on Labor Day weekend and it was full, but I had a reservation. But, I would imagine on non-holiday weekends there would not be many people there.

          I had the campsite in the far corner near the stream. I don't remember hearing any traffic noise. Maybe the noise of the creek blocked it out.

          I can't wait to do Sawteeth ... it will be my 46th peak!

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          • #6
            They tell me that the only time it does fill up is on Holiday weekends (a spillover from Paradox Lake).

            I can't remember when they put the rumble strips in. It was recent, in response to the deaths that occurred there. They may not have been in last September. I don't think even the creek noise could drown that out.

            Good luck with number 46! When is the plan to hike it?
            #5585

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            • #7
              Funny thing about Pyramid, when I'm asked which of the 46 I will return to first, my answer is Pyramid. I know it's not a 46 but it's the one that holds the most enchantment for me. Maybe it was the weather with the clouds playing a teasing game of hide and seek of the mighty Gothics. Maybe it was that incredible view of Gothics. I've never been to Europe to see cathedrals with their flying buttresses but if if ever there was a natural one then I'd think Gothics would be it.
              Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass.
              It's about learning to dance in the rain.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Boreal Chickadee
                Funny thing about Pyramid, when I'm asked which of the 46 I will return to first, my answer is Pyramid. I know it's not a 46 but it's the one that holds the most enchantment for me. Maybe it was the weather with the clouds playing a teasing game of hide and seek of the mighty Gothics. Maybe it was that incredible view of Gothics. I've never been to Europe to see cathedrals with their flying buttresses but if if ever there was a natural one then I'd think Gothics would be it.
                Pyramid is special, and I agree 100% on the view of Gothics.

                I am surprised at the number of 46ers who have not been on Pyramid. Even last Monday, on a full summit, it was only the two of us who came over Pyramid. I think Pyramid should get a special waiver from the "46er commissioner" and be allowed to be a substitute for, say, Blake.

                Now, before the cards and letters start coming. I'm only kidding. Sort of
                #5585

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