September 8, 2008
algonquin, iriquois and wright peak
You may be thinking that I just returned from another backpacking trip...Nope, I just decided to see how much I could punish my body in one day. I ignored the encouragement to save Wright for a leisurely, enjoyable, short day in the Adirondacks and coupled it with algonquin and iriquois because they are all in the same 11 mile vicinity. It was a very strenuous day to say the least, but the views were incredible. My father and I had decided earlier in the summer that we wanted to stand on top of Algonquin, the second highest peak, on a clear fall day so that the view would be the best possible and that it was. It was 65 degrees and mostly sunny the entire day. We started out at the Adirondack Loj trailhead, signing the register at 7:45am. We knew it would be a long day and with the shortened daylight we wanted to be back at the car by 7:00pm. We kept a quick pace along the trail that eventually branches off and bypasses Marcy Dam. We came to the junction of Wright and Algonquin at 10:10am after carefully but quickly making our way up the very rocky trail. This was not a wet trail at all. Just like any other high peaks trail there are tricky, root filled spots. The trail up Algonquin is just as rocky, mostly very vertical slabs of bare smooth rock. When you near the summit there are a few cliffs that give shorter legged people a bit of a challenge. The last bit of rock you must hoist yourself somehow up, paralyzed me a bit, but with help from my father and his trusty hiking pole, I made it. To the north, the view was still in cloud cover but in all other directions only a few low level clouds remained. There was Mt. Colden in front of us, closer than we had seen before. We got a great view of Lake Colden as well. We quickly found a front seat to this mesmerizing view and for a few short moments had it to ourselves. We were briefly alone...then the adk chapter hike arrived. They were a constant source of chatter. Some interesting information to note and some not so much. Anyway, we ate lunch, took many pictures and soon headed across the summit to boundary. Boundary and Iriquois appear to be a hop, skip and a jump away...however, when you have to descend, ascend, descend and ascend again to get to Iriquois, the legs definitely start to feel it. I know, stop whining...time is an issue though so this had to be done without a lot of rests in between. It took about 40 minutes to get to Iriquois and we allowed ourselves another 20 minute break. From Iriquois, there was a great view of the cliffs on Wallface mountain and by 12:30pm the view over to the Sewards and Santanoni had cleared. These mountains are not easily viewed from the other peaks we have been on so this was a treat. My father and I commented that we are getting pretty good at peak naming. I remember being on Cascade the first time and having no idea what I was looking at and not even being able to tell from the map which mountain was which. Back to Algonquin by 1:50 for another short break. The views North have cleared and we can now see Whiteface. We were still mesmerized by Colden and did not want to leave, but time is closing in and we need to get to Wright. The trip down the Algonquin trail take some time because of all of the bare rock that must be negotiated. We remind ourselves that this is nothing compared to the slide of Macomb! Yikes. We made it to the junction with Wright by 3:30, rounded the corner and without stopping began climbing once again straight up. I erroneously thought that Wright would a walk in the park...compared to the other peaks. Was I wrong. It may be a mere .4 mile but it is straight up, lots of bare rock and more boulders to maneuver. It was 4:00 at the summit, very windy and getting cold. The view had changed a bit with the shadows of late afternoon being cast. We got a great look at the vastness of Algonquin. I could not muster the strength to search for the plaque honoring the plane crash incident. I've seen pictures, they will have to do until I make another ascent of just Wright someday where I think I will leave enough time to take a nap up there! It is very cold at this point and at 4:30 we start the journey out. We pick up the pace as much as possible and reach the soft forest floor just as I start to feel like hot lava is lining my boots. I can feel a blister forming and my knee is starting to act up. We start the traditional planning of what we want from the Stewart's on route 73. Luckily my father has stowed a green tea in the car, which will however, be warm. We ask ourselves why we never think to put a cooler in the car for the trip home. Next time. On the final stretch we are walking at "red trail at dusk" pace. That means fast, like "we don't want to have to break out the headlamps fast". We signed out at exactly 7:00pm. 3 more peaks under our belt. Once you sit down in the comfy car seat..it is all suddenly worth the extreme physical exertion...never mind that I haven't been able to walk right all day.
at 9:00 PM