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HaBaSaGoArUp and a 46 Finish (6/13/20)

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  • HaBaSaGoArUp and a 46 Finish (6/13/20)

    After almost 26 years I finally completed my first round of 46 (and started my second) on Saturday June 13th. Why did it take 26 years? Best answer is, life just got in the way.

    When I first hiked Cascade/Porter in August of 1994 I had no idea what a grip the Adirondacks would get on me. Sometime in this time period and maybe on that very hike, I absolutely fell in love with the place. I grew up in the Albany area and attended 2 semi-local SUNY Universities during the 94-02 time period. Back then I was able to complete 15 high peaks with limited transportation and little ambition to be a "46er" at the time. I mostly just enjoyed walking around the woods and exploring new places. If I made it to the summit of a mountain then that was just a bonus. Also during that time period I obtained my MS degree in Environmental and Forest Biology and did my research in a Northern hardwood forest, so every time I go out into the ADKs it's like a "backyard world". It feels very comfortable to me, almost like visiting old friends/family. Some of you may not understand what I'm talking about (I wouldn't have 26 years ago), some of you may know exactly what I'm talking about; but if you currently don't, then I hope that you someday will.

    When referring to my Adirondack excursions I've been known to say "You pick your days, unfortunately you don't get to pick your weather" and this trip certainly lived up to that phrase. I needed HaBaSaGo for my 46 finish and I had been looking at 6/13 as a possible finish date for about 2 weeks. Every day constantly checking NWS Mountain Point Forecast for Marcy to get and idea of conditions and start planning my pack contents. As the day approached I realized the weather conditions were not going to be "ideal". Forecast for the summits was low 30's, snow showers on and off all day, summits in and out of the clouds, winds NNW 10-15 mph and that's exactly what I got.

    I try to make documentary movies for my kids (ages 8, 6, 4) which takes extra time/effort and knowing I was already in for a pretty long day I signed in at the Garden at 3:30am. Parking lot was about 2/3 full already from the Friday campers. Trail section from the lot into JBL is in excellent shape and I arrived about 4:50am. Here I took a short break, put some food and water in my body, and watched/listened to the forest as it fully awakened. Now in full light I pushed on up past Bushnell falls and reached slant rock at about 6:45am. Took another short break and that's when a light snow began to fall.

    Made it to the col between Hay and Marcy at 7:30am snow was becoming a little heavier but nothing was sticking. It was better than rain as it fell, but pretty much had the effect of rain after it hit the ground/trees/me and immediately melted. Made sure to put on my waterproof shell and conserve some dry clothes for the wet scramble and slog I was in for the rest of the day. I summited Haystack shortly before 8:30am and the clouds began to break slightly as I saw fleeting views of Marcy and Basin thru the thinning clouds. It was my first views of anything all day and gave me hope that I may luck out later in the day as the sun burned the clouds. Took another short break on Hay then headed over to Basin which I had told myself would be the hardest part of the hike. I took my time making my way over to Basin taking some photos, making videos and taking in the sights as the clouds cleared.

    As I ascended Basin the clouds rolled in thick and the snow was the heaviest all day. It finally started to stick on the trees and made some of the highly eroded rock slabs on Basin's western side a little slippery. When I summited Basin at 11:20am the summit was completed obscured in the clouds again. I spent about 15 minutes on the top hoping to see a glimpse of something but nothing but pure white (I did find a diamond earring up there though: If you can describe it or send me a photo I will return it).

    Pushed off towards Saddleback and the infamous "cliffs". As I approached the cliff section it began to snow pretty hard again but I caught up with a husband and wife team which was reassuring. Even though I have seen some people describe it as more of a "rock pile", I've always been apprehensive about the cliff section of Saddleback so it was good to go thru there with people, even if they were complete strangers. We scrambled up the cliffs and the summit was completely socked in like Basin. It was 12:50 and I didn't linger long, Gothics (and my 46 finish) was about 1 mile away.

    I was moving slower now but before I knew it I was in the col between Saddle and Gothics and for some reason felt like I was catching a second wind (maybe a 46 finish adrenaline rush?). When I arrived to the tow line I began to rethink my route and decided maybe it would be better to go out over Armstrong and UWJ instead of descending the towline and going out the Orebed Brook trail. As I ascended the steep towline section the clouds began to break slightly but by the time I reached the summit at 2:10pm unfortunately it was completely socked in again. When I arrived for my finish I had the summit completely to myself but after about 10 minutes a group of 4 showed and I got my obligatory 46er finish photo on the summit of Gothics with nothing but white clouds surrounding me (exactly how I imagined my finish photo ).

    Off to Armstrong and technically the restart of my second round. I was last on Armstrong in October 1997 and it felt good to almost go "full circle" in a way and revisit this section of the Great Range 23 years later on my finish hike. The highly eroded section of trail between Gothics and UWJ was the muddiest section of trail I saw all day, but still not terrible. I went up and over a completely clouded Armstrong just before 3:00pm but as I descended towards UWJ the clouds finally began to break and I got my first real views of the day. I was at the summit of UWJ at 3:50pm and WOW...I had forgotten how good the views were on UWJ, just perfectly positioned! Since I was pretty beat physically by now and I had finally gotten some views, I decided to "bask in my glory" for about 30 minutes before pushing down the Wolfjaw trail and back to the garden. It had been a long time since I was thru that trail and descended thru several landslides. If anybody could provide some information on those (names/dates) I would appreciate it.

    As I approached the Wolfjaw lean-to, just pass the sign that says 4.1 miles to the Garden, I heard some twigs breaking. I expected to see another hiker approaching, but as I looked off to my right about 30-40ft away, I saw the biggest black bear I have ever seen running for it's life away from me. It happened so fast and since the bear was moving away from me I was able to keep my underwear clean. I had never actually seen a bear on a ADK High Peak hike before. I had crossed paths with people who had just saw a bear but never saw one with my own eyes so it will always be memorable moment during my 46 finish.

    I got back to the Southside trail (saw a sign saying it was abandoned) so I bushwacked across the brook and up the hill to the Phelps trail. Made it back to my car at 6:30pm, exactly 15 hours roundtrip. If I can figure it out (never seems to work for me) I will post some photos. WHAT A DAY!
    “Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt.” John Muir


  • #2
    Congrats on the finish, with a bear sighting to boot! Impressed with the huge hike... nearly a great range traverse. My finish was on Gothics too, with pretty much similar foggy weather conditions. Make sure you go back on a nice day for that peak though in your second round.

    Comment


    • lemonhead24
      lemonhead24 commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks, mbowler! Yeah, definitely going back thru that stretch again on a nice blue bird winter day!

  • #3
    https://imgur.com/WgZqNbw

    https://imgur.com/IUDAL6h

    https://imgur.com/oXJc4D3

    https://imgur.com/ghSYNLC

    https://imgur.com/knkHkSZ
    “Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt.” John Muir

    Comment


    • autochromatica
      autochromatica commented
      Editing a comment
      Hahahaha June, what a crazy month.

  • #4
    Nice photos! Thanks

    Comment


    • #5
      https://imgur.com/eIV3wOw

      https://imgur.com/tmFkdJv

      https://imgur.com/WyIsfXn

      https://imgur.com/rSxiLiY
      “Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt.” John Muir

      Comment


      • #6
        Huge congrats on your finish, lemonhead! I do think I would have loved to have traded the 75 degree temps I had for the 30 something degree temps you experienced, lol.

        A great hike with a great finish! Your journey seems to have been much like my own that ended just last week...not an "I must do this right now" kind of thing, but more of an, "I love the mountains, I'll finish when I finish," kind of a deal.

        Congrats again!!!

        Comment


        • lemonhead24
          lemonhead24 commented
          Editing a comment
          Thanks, Groundpounder! Congrats again on your recent finish too.

      • #7
        Congratulations, thanks for the write and pics. Looks like a great challenging hike to accomplish your goal, I love how you had it in you still after Gothics and went for Armstrong and UWJ also to start round 2. Wish you could have had better views from those great range peaks, but next time. Even without the views this hike surely sounds memorable beyond the 46er finish with the bear and the sticking june snow.
        Regarding descending on the wolf jaws trail and the slides, I think that areas' slides are generally the wolf jaws brook NorthWest slide, I think the most noticable slide area that is crossed by the trail is the "wide" part of it but not positive, and not sure if they were irene formed/cleaned/unaltered.
        35er #3133
        46er #11779

        "Good Thoughts, Good Words, Good Deeds"
        Zarathustra

        Comment


        • #8
          Great report and pics ! Congratulations on your finish ! Even days where the weather is less than perfect have their own magic.
          104/115

          Comment


          • lemonhead24
            lemonhead24 commented
            Editing a comment
            Originally posted by Rookie View Post
            Even days where the weather is less than perfect have their own magic.
            The weather made this hike a lot of fun and more memorable without a doubt.

        • #9
          Congratulations on your finish! Sorry the weather didn't cooperate but quite an impressive final hike to cap off your round.

          Comment


          • #10
            Congrats to a fellow Gothics finisher! it has been too long for me- need to get back there this summer.

            Haystack is just sublime...

            Comment


            • lemonhead24
              lemonhead24 commented
              Editing a comment
              Besides Dix Range I think Hay>Gothics may be my favorite stretch of trail in the High Peaks.

          • #11
            Good route for finishing your round.
            Congratulations,
            Don

            Comment


            • lemonhead24
              lemonhead24 commented
              Editing a comment
              Thanks, Don! Exactly right....and well said. Just finished one round.

              More importantly, it was the beginning of my second round!

              By the way... I love reading about your excursions too.

          • #12
            Video Trip Report:

            Part 1
            https://youtu.be/CPiHPa1QocE

            Part 2
            https://youtu.be/QHtcj3XgYzM

            I apologize in advance for the amateur cinematography, bad rambling/commentary and the quality of video. These videos are intended for my kids, shot on an iPhone8 and not intended for the hard core ADK hiking crowd. Subscribe to "Adirondack Adventures" on youtube if you want to see similar content. I'm open to any corrections, fun anecdotes, constructive criticism and any other useful comments regarding the video but please just be nice. My kids and I get some enjoyment out of these and each one I make gets a little better I think.
            “Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt.” John Muir

            Comment


            • MTVhike
              MTVhike commented
              Editing a comment
              Very good video, nothing to be ashamed of. It looks as if you did some of the stretches 3 times, to take the videos!

            • lemonhead24
              lemonhead24 commented
              Editing a comment
              Thanks, MTV! Definitely not ashamed of it but wanted viewers to adjust their expectations as a lot of people are producing unreal content on youtube now.

              And yeah...I did many stretches multiple times in order to get those 3rd person shots that I think add so much to a video trip report like this.

              Also those shots are one of the ways I trick my kids into thinking their dad is some badass, superhero-movie star!

            • autochromatica
              autochromatica commented
              Editing a comment
              Just an FYI -- 7,000+ vertical feet *is* badass, superhero-movie type.

          • #13
            Those videos are great!! Reminded me of Survivorman with Les Stroud. Congrats on the finish.

            Comment


            • #14
              Congratulations! That's quite a hike, especially with the weather conditions. I love how you combined a finish with the beginning of something else. Enjoyed the photos and videos.
              Last edited by debmonster; 06-21-2020, 10:02 AM.
              We don't stop playing because we get old; we get old because we stop playing ~ Satchel Paige

              Comment


              • #15
                Congratulations on your finish! Videos are great, don't sell yourself short. Those little phones can amaze.

                Also: Too bad you weren't filming when you saw the bear!
                Last edited by autochromatica; 06-21-2020, 04:23 PM.
                ADK 46/46W + MacNaughton, Grid 277/552
                Photos & Stuff

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