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Big Slide snowy Bushwhack

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  • Big Slide snowy Bushwhack


    I hitch-hiked to the Garden after we saw that vans and campers were "not allowed beyond this point". I got a ride in a service van (headed to Adrian's Acres but willing to go the extra mile)! I signed out at 10 am. and was headed to South Meadows. I planned on bushwhacking the whole way after 10 minutes on the trail to help me steer clear of P-Ppty. I had the property lines (two different parcels) drawn into my GPS. Before long I decided I needed to wear contacts instead of glasses because the Balsams were dripping wet. To my consternation I discovered I only had the prescription for my left eye so I wore one of those in each eye. What this meant is my map was nearly useless to me unless I went with no lens in my right eye. I have done this before and it is no fun. Luckily I had drawn a tentative route, which I had transferred into my GPS. So, this would be a full-on GPS guided hike.

    I was rounding the east end of the Brothers and passing westward between Big Slide and Porter. I slowly gained elevation to 3,000'. The woods were very open and in spite of clouds I had nice views up to impressive cliffs on both Porter and Big Slide. The colours and the woods were perfect. There were fields of ferns and they progressively soaked my legs and feet while the intervening conifers soaked the rest of me. I didn't mind because the experience was so richly rewarding.

    I walked below very steep terrain on my left until I was on the final approach to the drainage I wanted. My plan called for me to go onto the ridge on climber's right of this drainage but when I reached it I saw to my delight that it was a very wide slab. It was covered in soaked lichens but the slope was only 20 degrees and my La Sportivas stuck well. The slab extended well out of view above me. This was totally amazing and I took way too many pictures! Part-way up it began snowing hard. This was too much! (in a good way) When I topped out after 500 ' of ascent (no views of Cascade-Porter). I found myself in deep, emerald green moss with majestic trees hung with snow-covered lichens. The woods seemed to be haunted and it felt like I was in a fantasy story, except it was my own waking life.

    The forest floor was deadly with abundant hidden sod holes and the snow, either from the 2-3 foot high ferns or the Balsams was wet and clung to me as melting slush. I was aware that my safety margin was thinning but in spite of very cold hands and feet (gloves and footwear saturated over and over again) my core remained comfortable. I stopped and took pictures in spite of needing to keep generating warmth. I was homing in on the summit and I had almost everything I need in my pack. (I had forgotten my double layers of wool mitts and waterproof shell mitts in the van).

    The woods changed continuously and were always beautifully coated in freshly fallen snow. The final few hundred yards seemed to take longer than expected but it was because I deviated more than usual to avoid brushing too much snow onto myself. Then I heard voices and broke out onto the summit. I immediately swapped shirts and put on a brand new thick Rab puffy, a dry wool hat etc. Then the best was to swap foot beds and socks and put plastic bags inside my shoes. After a sigh or relief I ate my tuna sandwich, my first food since starting out. The entire trip up only took just over 4 hours but I would have sworn it was more like 6.

    At 2:30 I was approaching Yard when Sylvie and I made radio contact. We were unable to understand each other and later I learned that Sylvie was on the shore of Mirror Lake in Lake Placid. No wonder! Amazing to have any contact at all with our .5 watts FRS radios. The woods were white and only dripping a bit. There were a few sunny breaks and then everything was stunningly gorgeous for a few fleeting moments. Because of the conditions I decided to forego the whack to South Meadows and from Big Slide it took me 3 hours and change of solid hoofing. The trail between Yard and the Klondike trail has some fine moments when it passes under some big cliffs.

    The next morning was important because Sylvie and I were doing Marshall via Indian Pass Brook for her 46th peak!
    Last edited by Neil; 10-07-2019, 11:26 AM.

  • #2
    Beautiful pictures, Neil. Very colorful, how do you like your camera?
    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


    • #3
      Originally posted by NumNum View Post
      Beautiful pictures, Neil. Very colorful, how do you like your camera?
      Thanks! I got lucky.
      I'm very satisfied with the Sony DSC-HX90. But it wasn't cheap.
      30x optical zoom, plenty of controls and very user configurable. Nothing like a DSLR but those are too big for bushwhacking. I don't use much of the gimmicky stuff, and there's a lot of that. I mostly shoot manual and change the focus and metering areas. I also set it up to quickly swap aspect ratios. I set up the photo transfer to my PC via wi-fi but it is so much faster via the USB cable that I only use that.


      • Craig
        Craig commented
        Editing a comment
        I seen they weren't cheap, the good things aren't I guess.