The original plan was to do one last backpacking trip to end the season. Mother nature didn't look like she was going to cooperate with that idea and we did not like the idea of being cold and wet so we cancelled the trip to Santanoni. Keeping a close eye on the weather reports, we agreed to do a dayhike on Monday. At first the reports looked like clouds, so we thought we had settled on Tabletop. At the last minute, weather.com reported a partly sunny day after 9am. So it was my idea to do Rocky Peak instead and maybe have a nice view from Giant as well. Giant was the first peak my father and I did together and we were treated that day to a view of nothing. So, we started out from the Roaring Brook Trail to Giant hoping that the fog and clouds would clear by the time we summit one or both of the mountains. The last time we used the Zander Scott Trail, so this would change things up a bit. We climbed the three tenths of a mile to the top of Roaring Brook Falls. It was beautiful from up there and would be worthy of a return trip to that exact spot. We would also sometime like to explore the base of the falls, which has it's own little trail to and from. The trail continued away from the road and the falls, climbing very moderately on a soft dirt trail. Not too rocky. Just like any other high peak trail however, this one also gets very rocky near the top and also presented us with some tough maneuvering over wet bare rock and very slow going. This trail is also 6 tenths of a mile longer than the Zander Scott trail, so we quickly decided that we would take the other trail on the way out. This would require us to walk route 73 for about a mile to get back to the car. After leaving the trailhead at 7:30am, we made it to the junction with the other trail at 10:45am. While resting here we met two hikers who have completed the 46. They told us some stories and wished us luck. It is nice to meet others who have actually completed this feat and lived to tell about AND continue to hike them. My father and I joke that someday we'll be saying "hey, lets take a run up Giant just for the fun of it". When in actuality, I think we'll be saying "hey, I wonder what the view actually looks like from Giant". The weather is still not clearing at this point. I remain optimistic that by 1pm the clouds will have burned off. We ate an early lunch at the junction to the RPR trail. Only .2 to the Giant summit from this point and 1.1 to RPR. Off to RPR in hopes that hiking the 2.2 miles (which will take us about 2 hours) will get us back to Giant if and when there might be a view. Plus, we want to do RPR first because it is the needed peak. We didnt bag it the first time along with Giant because of an October 14th snowstorm that cropped up. The "mere" 1.1 mile is a lot of down, almost to the point you think you are somehow on the wrong trail. Finally it cuts back east and starts the ascent. This portion takes us 1 hour and 15 minutes. We spent little time on the top of RPR as there is no view and it is already 1:15pm. Limited daylight must be taken into account, so we eat a little more and take some quick pictures. Attention is paid to the rock formations up there since there will be no "distance viewing" today. There is a strange thing happening on the rocks today. 3 times we have seen a little drip turning into either foam or bubbles so I photograph that. On the way back up to Giant the sun comes out quickly and we are treated to a limited view of the peak we were just on and the almost peak status of the leaf season. There are rich golden and yellow colors mixed with the conifers. A little further to the south from here bright reds are visible. Just as quickly as the view appeared it was gone again. At the junction to the summit of Giant, it is still viewless. We are kind of relieved not to have to climb up Giant for we are both tiring and coming down with a head cold. The trip down the front of Giant is tricky but we remind ourselves that we've done it before and we slowly made it to the road at about 5:45pm. The 1.8 mile trip on route 73 to the parking lot is welcomed at this point, we walk at a very fast pace and managed to avoid being hit by the speeding 18 wheelers. Funny how you can walk 1.8 miles in about 15 minutes on flat pavement. In no time, we are sitting in the comfy seat of the car, enjoying the rest of our sandwich from lunch with the chips we bought and left in the car for after the hike. Along with our "dinner" we enjoy ice cold green tea from the cooler we finally remembered to bring. 19 down, 27 to go. Not bad for my first year hiking the high peaks. Happy 1st High Peak Hiking Anniversary to me on October 1st.
P.S. If anyone had clear views from Tabletop on Monday, I don't want to know about them.