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Sometimes, you dont get what you want, but its still all good

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  • Sometimes, you dont get what you want, but its still all good

    The mission was to bag the Saranac 6. Anyone who knows me, is aware that not all of my plans always go the way I planned. I arrived at Tmax and Topo's last saturday. The plan was to start hiking on Monday. I do not like hiking the next day after a long drive. I'm the settle in type of guy. If I was in the Army, then it would be different. The targets were Haystack and McKenzie, but my legs are not good. A set of Spasms and cramps Saturday night had me thinking about that long day, so I switched to doing Baker, then Scarface, if time allowed. But, first, I had the grand idea of doing a Fire Tower before the hiking the others. Azure was on my radar. Pretty bold. After a nice drive, I stopped off the side of the road to get my bearings. Little did I know my turn off was right across the road. I could not get any service so, I drove up to St. Regis to find a connection. I was shocked when I drove back down the road to see that I was right there, all along! Oh, well. I drove down Blue Mountain Rd, until I got to a heavily graveled road. I asked a driver coming my way for directions. He told me the tower was over 6 miles down the road. Now, I just had my car repaired the week before. Busted CV Joint that cost me some of my vacation money. The mechanic said the boot was torn apart. Probably from road debris. While I was driving on this crunchy road, I'm hearing pops and pings as the tires went over the rocks, followed by clinks clanks of the rocks hitting off the bottom of the car. 6 miles of this and back? No way! I turned around and headed back to Saranac Lake. Azure was out. I was not risking another trip to the mechanic for a fore tower.

    I reached Baker around 10am. By the time I got ready, it was 10:16am. I wondered if I could make Scarface. I'll worry about that later. The mountain was everything I had read and heard about. Started off on the up and got upper. I did not have much of problem as I discovered some off trails that went around a few of the steep parts. I encountered a family from Singapore, coming up behind me. They were wearing sneaker and cotton clothing. Perfect for hiking. They wound up joining me; sticking to me like glue. They asked me questions about the area, and I answered as best as I could. One of the men said, it was lucky we ran into you to guide us up. I had to laugh to myself. Was he kidding? If they really knew me, they would have turned around and hiked back down. Ha Ha. We reached the top just under an hour later. I was surprised that I hiked that fast, but my legs were still hurting. I popped a few motrins, but the spasms started from my knees down my legs. I remained at the summit, while the family made their way back down. They were a nice bunch of folks. We talked much on the way up and at the top. They asked me for advise on anywhere else to go, since they were here for another three days. I suggested a drive up Whiteface and a few waterfalls. I don't like to come right down off a summit. I stayed for an hour and enjoyed the views. I had a feeling that Scarface was going to get done, today. I still had the entire week....

    Coming down off Baker, my legs were still hurting. I've been having more trouble with them, lately, especially, my left knee. Damned thing keeps popping out with pain, but when its wrapped tight, it will hold. The pain remains, however. I go to my car and grabbed my lunch; sitting on one of the small benches on Moody Pond. Chewed up another hour, there. Scarface was a loss, but I found the time to take the Fire Tower at Belfry. It wasnt much of a hike, but my legs were hurting bad. 190 feet felt like several hundred. I got it, though.

    I planned Scarface for Wednesday. On Tuesday, I scouted the trails I would be hiking. First, the Jackrabbit. Checked out the SOA trail. Then, mover on to the trail for Scarface. I soon found out the road is closed for repair. I went after another Fire Tower, Cathedral Rock. Quite a drive, but it was another bluebird day. With the rains coming for the rest of the week, I'm not sure if I want to hit Haystack and McKenzie. Looks like I'll have to finish the 6 another time, but thats what makes coming back so much fun. My legs are another question. A testimony to my weight. Last year, I was feeling great with my hikes, but gaining that extra 25 pounds really put a hurt on my knees. I take it day to day.
    Nothing like being in the woods.

    http://www.gerardsadirondackpics.shutterfly.com

  • #2
    Maybe you didn't get quite what you were hoping, but you still got some things. Summits, progress, a vacation in the adk.
    With how you talked about the first drive out to Azure, the road to Stillwater tower's trailhead is very rough also. I haven't been to Azure, but I blew a tire on the rough rough ride between pavement and parking on big moose rd getting out there (the dirtroad was hardpack at the time, but with rocks sticking up all over out of the dirt that were several inches high just trying to take out tires or exhaust or axles) . Unfortunately, getting a wicked headache twisting my 4-way trying to get off rusted-tight lugnuts is how I will forever remember that tower.
    "Only those who risk going too far can possibly know how far one can go"
    T.S. Eliot

    Comment


    • Gerard01
      Gerard01 commented
      Editing a comment
      I was sweating bullets the first mile. All I kept seeing was me driving out with a flat or two and having to jack her up and put on a new tire.

  • #3
    Adventures come in many ways. You had a great day in the woods, and now you leave me humming the Rolling Stones in my head.
    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


    • #4
      It's never a bad day to be in the ADK's! Thanks for the reminder that I really need to get a car than can handle those gravel roads better.

      Keep on keeping on with these mountains. Winter can really slow ya down, and it's been a hard spring to get in suitable training/conditioning hikes, especially if your time is limited.

      Comment


      • #5
        Checking anything off a list you're working is an accomplishment. So congratulate yourself there.

        Adirondack Guide Gerard. Has a nice ring to it. Good thing you didn't have to pull a Bill Nye Hitch-Up-Matildas move with the folks from Singapore.

        As for Azure... I hate to be the bearer of bad news but that road is one of the easier of that kind in the Adirondacks to reach a fire tower trailhead. Stillwater, Vanderwhacker, east side of Hurricane, Wakely, and Pillsbury are all much rougher than Azure, especially the first two. You'll need to figure something out there or have many extra miles walking in on those roads if you're ever gonna get to those towers.

        Comment


        • Gerard01
          Gerard01 commented
          Editing a comment
          Adirondack Guide Gerard. That’s funny. I couldn’t guide myself out of a paper bag. Guess, I’ll have to drive those roads as best I can, next time.

        • MTVhike
          MTVhike commented
          Editing a comment
          Maybe I need to re calibrate my road descriptions, but the road to the East trail up Hurricane is in very good shape (unless you mean the part beyond the gate!). One of my favorite ways to do Hurricane with visitors is to have 2 cars and do the loop up the East trail and down the "main" trail to NY 9N (not US 9).

        • Makwa
          Makwa commented
          Editing a comment
          I was last on that east side 6 years ago. Best I can recall it had some rougher spots then. Or maybe I'm remembering it rougher than it was because it climbed the whole way. It's all relative in this case as I was comparing them all to Azure which is an easily negotiated gravel road.

      • #6
        Congrats on tagging another summit, even if it wasn't the one you were looking for.

        For eight years and 150k miles, up until very recently, I drove a 2011 Legacy everywhere I could want to travel by car in the ADK. That car could barely clear a speed bump, but when driven carefully never had any issue with an ADK road. Paved, dirt, flooded, or uplowed, it survived just fine. Whatever you're driving now will handle a few miles of gravel.
        My mind was wandering like the wild geese in the west.

        Comment


        • Makwa
          Makwa commented
          Editing a comment
          Gerard drives an '87 Yugo with bad shocks and bald tires. But don't race him for pink slips... he's an assassin on a quarter mile drag strip.

        • FlyFishingandBeer
          FlyFishingandBeer commented
          Editing a comment
          So a lightweight car, based on the Fiat 127, and more or less designed to rarely see asphalt. I certainly wouldn't challenge him to a race on ADK dirt roads!

      • #7
        Thanks, for the kind words, guys. I discovered that the road block on Ray Brook Rd does not affect the trail. I should have investigated it further. I will hike Scarface on Saturday.
        Nothing like being in the woods.

        http://www.gerardsadirondackpics.shutterfly.com

        Comment


        • Makwa
          Makwa commented
          Editing a comment
          Good luck with Scarface. One tip... there's a view that opens up about a half mile before the summit. It's right after the steep-ish climb and then the trail flattens out from there to the top (only a few hundred feet of ele gain left). Summit is treed-in so stop at the viewpoint to enjoy some scenery....maybe on the descent. You like your long summit stays but I would recommend doing that where the view is rather than the rather boring summit area.

        • Gerard01
          Gerard01 commented
          Editing a comment
          I spent some time on the lookout, but it was very windy and cold. The summit was calm and secluded.

        • Makwa
          Makwa commented
          Editing a comment
          Sounds like a successful day on Scarface. Nice. Can't wait to see a trip report.
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