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Sawteeth, Pyramid, Gothics, Armstrong, UWJ on a Perfect Day (8/26)

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  • Sawteeth, Pyramid, Gothics, Armstrong, UWJ on a Perfect Day (8/26)

    This hike was two years in the making. I had been after my brother for a long time to come on a climb in the Adirondacks with me. One day, during a moment of weakness, he offered a deal: If I did a triathlon with him, he would do a mountain with me. Seemed a bit unbalanced, especially since he has been doing triathlons for years and years, so in another moment of weakness I accepted the deal. At least he wasn’t requiring that I do a full length triathlon. So last year at 57 years old I signed up for and participated in the mini Musselman in Geneva, NY. Then, with the hike date set and getting close, he was injured in a bicycle vs deer accident. Spoiler alert – the deer won.

    One year, and another mini Mussel later, the rescheduled hike finally took place on 8/26. I wanted to show him the best views and some fun climbs so we tackled Sawteeth, Pyramid, Gothics, Armstrong and UWJ along with a good friend of ours from the local Y. The forecast was perfect and every detail was falling into place.

    We started from the Ausable Club a little after 6:00 and made quick work of the long road walk to the dam. After a short break we took a side trip to the base of Rainbow Falls. Pictures cannot do the falls justice. What a beautiful place!

    After the falls we took the scenic trail up Sawteeth stopping for water at the last minute just before the up began. Knowing this was going to be our last water stop for quite a while we drank like camels and topped off our bottles.

    It didn’t take long for my brother to take the lead when the up started and he kept the lead most of the day. He is 10 years younger than me, our friend is MUCH younger than both of us, and both are in better shape than me so I found myself in an unfamiliar position - the one calling for breaks. And not just on the summits.

    Speaking of summits, there wasn’t a bad view on any one of the summits we visited. Not a cloud in the sky all day! No bugs to fly in front of the camera lens either. And probably the driest trail conditions I have ever seen. What some might call mud was hardly even worth noticing let alone lying down and rolling in.

    My water supply (two quarts) ended up not being adequate. Usually it isn’t a problem but I took my last swallow just after leaving UWJ and was cramping up with another mile or so to go before the next reliable watering hole. Once there I didn’t even bother with the filter. Just filled one of my quart bottles and chugged. And then did it again. A week or so later and nothing seems to be rotting and falling off so I guess all is good.

    Early in the morning as we departed my brother-in-law’s house in Lake Clear I remembered that I had neglected to pack my headlamp. Not wanting to waste time turning around, and figuring we wouldn’t need it, I decided to keep driving. Good thing my brother had his. The shadows were getting long as we said good-bye to UWJ and they weren’t getting any shorter. We high-tailed it down and back to the road making the decision to leave the one headlamp we had between the three of us off as long as we could and instead let our eyes adjust to the darkness. That strategy actually worked better than I expected. No stubbed toes or skinned knees! We made the road just as it was getting too dark to see. Some would call that good timing.

    In the end AlpineQuest had the day at 16.06 miles and 5685’ of up. My brother, who was worried that the altitude and occasional drop-offs might trigger his fear of heights, turned out to have the moves and abilities of a serious hiker. Part of me was hoping he would turn into a crying pile of flesh with his tongue dragging in the dirt but it never happened. Perhaps this was the wrong series of mountains. Maybe the Sewards on a hot and humid day. Or the Santanoni Range after a week of hard rain. After all, I have now completed two mini-triathlons and the training that went with them. He owes me another hike!

    Stay tuned…
    Me - 41/46
    Mrs - 17/46

    A trail without mud is like a day without sunshine.

  • #2
    Nice TR. We've done all of those peaks except Pyramid (it's obviously on the bucket list).
    I agree with you, they're all fantastic summits.

    You're in the home stretch. Are you eyeing a 46 finish for this year?


    • #3
      Was hoping to but won't be now. I have a less than perfect knee that didn't care for the pounding it took trying to beat the darkness and has been complaining ever since. The first 100,000 miles are the hardest.
      Me - 41/46
      Mrs - 17/46

      A trail without mud is like a day without sunshine.


      • Learning The Trails
        Learning The Trails commented
        Editing a comment
        Ah, bummer... Hope you heal up quick.

        I just realized you did this hike the same day we did Donaldson /Emmons/Seward... That may have been the most perfect hiking weather of the Summer. As, you said, not a cloud in the sky. Absolutely fantastic.

      • Fat Man Hiking
        Fat Man Hiking commented
        Editing a comment
        Thanks. No doubt my knee will slow me down for a little while. I'll crawl the last five if I have to.

        Yeah, the weather was amazing. Just about the best I've had the pleasure to hike in.