July 26, 2008

thoughts from the seat of the lawn tractor...

Taking time out of the busy schedule to backpack takes its toll. The lawn desperately needed mowing today (apparently our new top of the line ride on mower was for me) so I decided to get at least the front yard mowed before turning the job over to greg, who is now perfectly capable and did an awesome job. While I was mowing, my thoughts turned to some articles I have read online about using more of your lawn for growing food, not using harmful fertilizers on it and the fact that watering your lawn is a huge waste of water, a natural resource. I chuckled to myself thinking about the fact that we haven't done anything to our lawn since we had to quickly throw down grass seed before our closing 12 years ago and that all of this new to me, eco-friendly info gives me a good excuse to continue not caring if we lack a thick, beautiful green carpet of grass. Our "lawn" used to be a beautiful hay field before my grandparents so graciously gave us our acre of land as a wedding present. In between mowing it is full of daisies and black eyed Susan's and other wildflowers. I actually felt bad running them over this morning. Thinking of the lawn as the hayfield it used to be brought me back in time to the extensive farming my grandparents and parents did when I was a child. (I think my pattern of thought was being driven by the lunch I was planning to prepare for myself..which I'll get to) We had cows, pigs and turkeys and they had the best of circumstances before making it to our tables. My father took care of the farm animals as if they were household pets.
In light of the ongoing reports of factory farms and their inhumane treatment of farm animals, we have remarked that even our 100 year old barn gave way to more sanitary conditions than modern meat plants.
I am not a vegetarian. Perhaps all of the homegrown meat I ate as a child lends to the fact that I do crave pork chops, ham and occasional red meat. However, I recently began adding meatless options to my diet and have come away quite satisfied. Which brings me to lunch today. Back in my Papa's Ice Cream Parlor employment days, my sister and I were connoisseurs of the Reuben and all of its relatives, the Rachel (pastrami) and the Rastis (turkey). I can still eat a real Reuben with corned beef, but I usually don't feel so hot afterward, physically and mentally. So today, I used Tempeh (pronounced Tem-pey, not Tem-puh) and made a guilt free Reuben. Thanks to my vegetarian friend who advised me what the heck to do with it. Tempeh is a meatless option used by vegetarians and vegans made from soybeans, grains, and veggies. It definitely provided the substance needed between the Russian dressing, sauerkraut and swiss cheese to make a flavorful sandwich that could give the old Papa's Reuben a run for it's money! My max of meatless days in a row stands at 11, and I am encouraged that small changes do make a difference for the environment, for the humane treatment of animals and I am pretty sure that the Tempeh Reuben has a lot less fat and calories for myself. Tempeh is going to rank right up there with the soy sausage that even Dan agreed was pretty good.

July 22, 2008

backpacking to uphill brook: gray, skylight and marcy

The much anticipated and painstakingly planned for backpacking trip is complete. My son went and though acting very thirteenish will never admit, actually had a good time. Maybe a better description would be he made the best of it..but I am satisfied with that because there were several moments, seemingly small, but actually huge, where he contributed to the team work that hiking and backpacking requires. When he is not so tired and sore and a few weeks pass, hopefully he will forget the extremely hard work of the past four days and have lasting memories of the time spent in the mountains. As for right now, he plans to forever remain a 3er and anyway, he did climb the highest one.

Before I move along to the actual trip, I have to say that in addition to my father climbing with me, I would not be able to hike and backpack without the aid of my mother helping to care for my daughter while I am exploring the park. My husband, who does not want to be a hiker, is a hunter (which involves hiking through the forest, I hate to tell him) and understands that my new passion seriously imitates his love of going to hunting camp with the guys. Thanks to him too for realizing the importance of my goal.

Ok, so we leave the Upper Works trailhead in Newcomb, NY at 8:30am on Friday. My pack weighs 29 pounds, my father's weighs about 35 and Greg's unfortunately has accumulated about 22 pounds. We rested several times along the calamity brook trail before taking the first serious break at the Flowed Lands Lean to. Only about 3 miles left from here to Uphill Brook, where we are aiming to camp. There is a method to my madness of packing in 7.5 miles. First to be far away from the more populated camping areas (to avoid bears) and second, to get Greg closer to the trails of the mountains we plan to drag him up. Soon we made it to Colden Dam. I could not wait to see this place for myself. My ONE bottle of well water brought from home was gone by this point and I am happy to say that my very first sip of filtered water is from Lake Colden.
Of course it tasted great. We moved on to complete the 2.5 miles we had left to make it to a campsite. By 5:00pm we arrived at the lean to and were pointed in the direction the campsite by the occupants of the lean to who are ironically another Father and adult Daughter hiking team. The tent set up very easily and in no time we were boiling water for our dinner. We ate, hid the bear canisters and by 7:30pm were in the tent ready to drift off to sleep. As I closed my eyes I pictured where I was on the map and felt a huge surge of confidence in myself. I wasn't overly paranoid about the bears, and I surprised myself at my ability to just relax and enjoy the experience. I owe much gratitude to my hiking friends (adam, kathy, martha) who prepared me so thoroughly, that I feel like I have done this before. I fell asleep with the birds chirping and the sound of the brook in my head.

Saturday morning: we were awake by 7:00am, ate our oatmeal, drank some awesome percolated coffee and were on the trail by 8:00am. We hiked .5 mile to the trail junction to Lake Tear of the Clouds and the Four Corners. The Four Corners is where the trail to marcy and skylight actually begins. A mere 1.2 miles to Lake Tear, the highest pond source of the Hudson River. I was in awe of actually seeing this Lake because I had heard its name repeated to tourists hundreds of times throughout my summer employment as the beginning of the Hudson.

The cairn which denotes the beginning of the trail for Gray is at the outlet of Lake Tear. We chose to hike Gray first because the view is less important and we wanted to give the weather time to clear before we summitted Marcy. The trail up Gray was tricky at times, but my son shared that having to climb the mountain was better than just walking on the trails. My father explained to him that the trails are like taking batting practice and making it to the summit is like the actual game. Greg stated that batting practice is more fun. If he would only realize how much this is conditioning him for running those bases. Anyway...the summit of Gray is reached in no time. We were alone for about 2 minutes and then Gray became like an overloaded clown car. We had fun with the 20 or so people, announced that this was Greg's first high peak to which one man proclaimed was child abuse. The same man told Greg he thought the Rangers had an X-Box at the station. The next time we saw a Ranger, I had her explain that there was no TV at the station. Back we went down Gray and traveled on to the four corners. The weather appeared to be clearing, but with a cloud still surrounding Marcy's summit, we decided to climb Skylight next. Only .5 miles from the four corners. It was an easy hike. We were alone at the summit and spent a good amount of time up there while the cloud still lingered over Marcy. Greg did bring a rock from treeline, as legend says if you do this it will not rain. We did not want to take any chances of it raining while trying to catch a view from Marcy. From the four corners the trail to Marcy is .9 miles. We made great time to the treeline even though we were all beginning to tire. No way were we going to be this close and not do Marcy, even though we knew it meant getting back to camp after 7:00pm. Traveling up the bare rock to the summit of Marcy is very difficult. Luckily there are many cairns to stop and rest at. It was incredibly windy and my leg muscles were burning. Standing on Marcy was an incredible feeling and I was so excited to have my son with me for this one. Maybe I was delirious at that point but I had to wipe away a few tears. I felt sure that even if he really never climbs another high peak with me this will be one of the fondest memories. So there we were, three generations standing at the summit marker. We had made it into double digits as this makes 10 peaks for us.

We descended quickly and pumped water out of Lake Tear even quicker as we were attacked by literally the first black flies of the whole trip. (I thought of you renee) We made it back to camp, ate another delicious prepackaged backpacker meal and went to sleep by 9:00pm feeling extremely happy at not having to drive the hour and a half back home after the climb. The plan is to climb cliff and redfield on Sunday...
Sunday Morning: We barely had the oatmeal cooked and it started to rain. We rethink our plan of starting up Redfield right away. Then the rain became heavier and with a newly vacated lean to next door, we jumped at the chance to get all of our gear over to that lean to before it got soaked. We easily transferred everything except for the tent and agreed we had made a good choice to put off climbing Cliff and Redfield until another time. We spent the day lounging, napping, reading the lean to notebook and writing in it, playing a dice game and being the welcoming committee of the lean to for people who were still hell bent on getting up Redfield. Three guys did it and another couple had to turn around, for uphill brook had turned into uphill raging river. Two more guys from Toronto showed up at our lean to. They were soaked from doing the Indian Pass trail and asked if we would be opposed to sharing the lean to. Of course we would not. Anyway it is protocol in the mountains. With our other visitors we had spoken only of hiking, but with these guys, conversation of the upcoming election took place as well as inquiries about the Canadian health care system. A very interesting evening of conversation. Very strange though, where else would you spend the night sleeping with complete strangers?

Monday: We woke up at 6:15am to find that the rain had subsided. We anxiously packed up after breakfast, hoping to get on the trail and have some time to hike in the sunshine. The trails were small brooks and required slow going to avoid being soaked through. I managed to fall down like a ton of bricks slipping on tree roots. I am pretty sure the black and blue mark on my hip is a personal record and it appears to be swollen too. Definitely could have been worse and I had a good laugh at my own expense. Even though the 1.6 inch of rain from Sunday wreaked havoc on an already wet and muddy trail, the high water levels made the brooks and the opalescent river absolutely beautiful to view on the way out. We remarked on how quickly conditions change in the adirondacks and that nature really is in charge out there. It took us the exact 8.5 hours to pack out as it took us to pack in and were at the car by 5:00pm with muddy feet but definitely not wet feet. Greg got a second wind and photographed the abandoned mining village next to the parking area while we changed into sandals and loaded up the car. I could not drive fast enough across the Blue Ridge Road to the northway in search of the convenience store in Pottersville. We joked that we wanted milk, green tea, pepsi and coffee all at once and the three of us could not eat the pizza and salt and vinegar chips fast enough. Onward home to showers...even with no sense of smell, I knew that it could not be good.

Our first backpacking trip was a success. Time to plan the next one around mid August.



July 14, 2008

gettin it done

I finally pulled it together today and wrote up the rest of my hikes to send to the Office of the Historian for the Adirondack Forty-Sixers. And mailed them.... complete with pictures of me on the trail and at the summits. In a few short weeks I will receive acknowledgement from my newly assigned correspondent who will follow me through this journey and keep my hiking folder accurate so that I may some day be awarded the much coveted 46er patch. I know this is how it works because my hiking partner father is way ahead of me. I just mailed all seven trip reports out at once, while he has written up and mailed out each of his practically the morning after we complete a hike. Since you have to mention who you hiked with and how the trip made you feel etc, his correspondent asked in her last response if his daughter was documenting the climbs also in order to become a 46er? Slowly but surely correspondent lady! I wish they accepted blog posts as proof..this is much more fun.

horsing around

I took a vacation day today with no plan of hiking whatsoever (not an easy thing). My non-hiking husband is off every monday and has hounded me for weeks to take a day. So upon waking this morning...I wondered what he had in store for us. Not sure if the weather was going to clear, I suggested taking the kids to the Wild Center. Where is it he asks? (he knows where it is)...I tell him Tupper Lake. He says he is not leaving our town. Luckily for us our town is a minor tourist attraction in itself, near Lake George but without the crowds. My daughter has weathered about as much baseball as any 9 year old girl should have to be subjected to, so it is decided that we will reward her with horseback riding. Our son decides quickly this is not his thing and chooses not to go. Another reward for his sister. She is happy to have mom and dad to herself today. We head out to Bennett's Riding Stable. Reagan rides Sandy, a "kid's horse". This means it is an older horse and not a frisky one. I got to ride Strawberry. She likes to stop and eat a lot, I must be stern with her and keep her going. Great. Dan gets Spud, a touchy horse. Good call. Reagan gets to lead with the guide. She looks adorable driving her own horse and is in her glory. We learned how to make the horses trot. a little scary. At one point, we were instructed to sit forward in the saddle in order for it to be easier for the horses to go up a steep part of the trail. I feel bad for the horse and think that I should be walking on my own two feet up this rocky trail. I got some exercise anyway...riding a horse uses some strange muscles. All in all a great activity. I still got to be in the woods and at the same time watched a priceless smile creep across my daughter's face. She is already planning for a next time.

July 9, 2008

another aspiring 46er?

Out of the blue, on the way to baseball practice, my almost 13 year old son announces that he would like to go backpacking with me next weekend. Huh? I knew he enjoyed our hike of black mountain, but I thought that was because he was allowed to skip school to do it. So, I quickly check that he is serious...stop off on the way home from practice to buy him a sleeping bag and jump on the computer to order extra backpacking meals. While on the Campmor site, I can't resist biting the bullet and purchasing a bear resistant canister. We've already arranged to borrow two and now will have one of our own for future trips. This trip will either make him or break him as a backpacking hiker. I am hoping he comes down with the fever. How cool would that be...

July 7, 2008

big slide via the brothers




Getting back to hiking..July 5, 2008, I hiked big slide via the brothers and looped back over the slide brook trail. A roundtrip of 10 miles that took 9 and a half hours. We arrived at the garden parking lot (another first) at 6:45am. I made my father leave the house at 5:15am. I am just as opposed to getting up at that hour for ANYTHING believe me but I wanted to get a spot at the garden and it was fourth of july weekend. We made it in time to be the second car in the "one center lane only" row. We were on the trail at 7:15am (usually the time we leave the house). The rate at which you climb over the three brothers is slow due to the awe striking views that are encountered only 45 minutes into the climb. As you summit each of the brothers the view of the great range changes. When the trail is in the woods, it is easy climbing and dry. Mostly, you climb on open rock and ledges. There are two ladders to help with the extremely vertical bare rock, although there are a couple sections that just required scaling with the aid of a few strategically placed roots and branches. My back muscles are feeling it as well as my arms. What a different day compared to my last ranting post about street and nye. The slide brook trail had at least 10 beautiful waterfalls within the brook that required several stops for photo opps. I do believe I can count on one hand the number of black flies we encountered doing big slide. It was a beautiful day, not too muggy and some breeze could be felt. We met no one on the trail and only 6 people joined us on the summit after we had some time to explore it by ourselves. We spoke to one of the gentlemen, who has 29 checked off the 46er list. He told us of his climb of cliff and redfield the day before. We are interested as they are possibilities for our backpacking trip in two weeks. Speaking of backpacking, we checked out in more depth, the designated camping sites for future overnights. This only serves to get me more excited for the 3 night trip we have planned for the 18th-21st of July. I do have to admit that I am a little nervous though, the closest thing to primitive camping I have done is tenting in a state campground without electricity. Stay tuned for those postings. Meanwhile, Big Slide tops the list of favorite hikes. I am not sure that there will be a better hike among the 39 I have left. The view of Dix peaking over Upper Wolfjaw, Giant and Gothics from this peak are amazing. Like the books say...the best view in the adirondacks.

July 6, 2008

politically outing myself

I expect to be thrown out of my extremely Republican family for this..but this is as good a forum as any to announce the fact that I am going to vote for Barack Obama for president. I will also be able to ascertain whether my family is actually reading my blog. There I said it. It is not that I don't like John McCain for any particular reason. I admire him for his service to our country and I am sure he is a good man. I don't so much like any political candidate who mentions Ronald Reagan, as if they are trying to ride on the coat tails of his popularity and I recently heard McCain describe himself as working as a foot soldier for Reagan. Big deal. Reagan was originally a democrat and held his democratic beliefs of small government even after he switched to republican. I haven't decided whether my decision has any thing to do with the fact that Obama is black. I think it is part of it, since when there was still a choice between him and Hillary, I was actually contemplating voting for her since I think it is high time that a woman ran things. And now that a woman is not in the running, I think a black man ranks right up there. Call it wanting to see something historical or call it wanting to see someone who might actually think about the working (middle) class and the working poor- one of which I am and the other constitutes half of the people I supervise and watch struggle. People who the "average" citizen thinks had choices...when in actuality they never had a chance. I want senior citizens who can afford all of their medicine and food. I also want the kids out of Iraq, because that is what they are and because they have parents, some of whom are my friends who tell me they cry every day and wait on pins and needles to see activity on their sons myspace page to know if he's alright. Yeah, I have a boy who is 13- maybe we can just institute the draft in 5 years. My sister is afraid my republican, town councilman grandfather would not approve of my decision. Well, he voted for Ross Perot because I, as a 14 year old thought that might be a good idea (I have no idea why). He also said he did so because no previous president had ever "made a nickels difference" so what could it hurt. If he were here today, maybe we'd have a good debate. On second thought, if I got to see him again, who I am voting for would be the last of what I would talk about with him. That is how unimportant debating politics is.....so let's not.

street and nye and killer black flies




I should have listened. Have I mentioned that in addition to having no patience I am also not inclined to follow instructions well. More positively, I prefer to call it being "driven". People told me not to enter the high peaks in June, the black flies are too bad. Well, no can do...my patience have diminished as I have had to put hiking on the back burner due to busy sports schedules and I am ready for a mental health day on a mountain. June 9th, 2008, my father and I head up to the Loj. We are armed with 100% deet (no bug net..I know, it's my next purchase). The trail around heart lake and up the mountain to the cairn where the trail branches off to either street or nye is beautiful. We chose to do these two peaks because they are not known for their views and it is hot, humid and there is a chance of rain. Since we are early in our journey of becoming 46ers we are most interested in trips that we can bag at least two peaks in one day and we do not want to make it to wright and Algonquin just as the clouds close in on the view. Already been there and done that on Giant! The first half of this trip is enjoyable, cool under the canopy of the trees and there is plenty of cold stream water to wipe our sweaty faces with. And for my father to keep filling that water filter bottle of his...I am putting off drinking filtered stream water as long as I can!! We saw ladyslippers, some white triliums that were late bloomers and still looking pretty and very intricate beaver work. This easily traveled herdpath was deceiving at first and then us newbies were introduced to the true meaning of herdpath. Between the mud and the blowdown we were slowed to a snails pace. That is when the black flies began to devour any bit of showing skin. Luckily we came to a big rock/lookout point where Algonquin, Boundary and Iroquois were in full view. We had to move quickly though and were soon at the summit of nye. No view, tons of bugs. I put deet on first, then ate my sandwich with the same hands (yikes)...actually contemplated drinking the deet before I was done. I rushed my slow eating father, who did not seem to be as bothered by the bugs. I thought this could easily be a challenge on fear factor....get into the tank with about 3 million black flies and win. On to Street...through the mossiest forest I have ever seen. Only a few difficult spots to maneuver and we were on Street. It took a little searching to find the summit sign. It is so high in the tree, it is easy to miss. We followed a hardly discernible path to a ledge which treated us to 180 degree views. Very thankful for that. I have paid about 80 black fly bites for this view. What is the saying...a bad day in the cripplebush is better than a good day at work? Umm...my next mental health mountain day is going to be in July. The milkshake on the way out of Essex County hit the spot...thanks dad! Congrats to us, we are now 6ers.

a little off the topic


After driving my ford windstar van down some bumpy dirt roads...which are often the types of roads that lead to trailheads, I began thinking about a different vehicle. I had done the "hockey/baseball mom" van for about 4 years and since the kids would probably complain that one is touching the other in a 15 passenger van, I decided something more practical for the "hiker mom" was in store. With gas prices skyrocketing I was against getting a gas guzzling suv (the new nature lover in me thinks, who wants to do that to the environment no matter how much gas costs). So, after researching the Honda CR-V, I set out by myself to test drive and ultimately buy my new compact suv...it has plenty of room for tons of gear, whether it is hiking gear or the large amount of baseball gear we lug around constantly. I am thrilled with my purchase. The day I picked it up, I slapped an ADK sticker on it and I was good to go!

flowed land via calamity brook

I think it was the coldest day of January. We set the 20th as the day and ignored weather forecasts of way below zero not counting wind chill for our first snowshoe into the high peaks wilderness. (Much to my mother's dismay) We had tested out the shoes and practiced locally before feeling able to tackle the 9 mile round trip. I should back up and say that the snowshoeing came about after I figured out how much I loved being in the high peaks and did not want to have to say good bye to the park for the winter. I outfitted myself from head to toe with fleece, windwall, snow pants etc...the first trip out I could have been in a magazine add for the newest winter wear/gear. I haven't had that much new stuff since....well, years. Anyway, we started at Tahawus, the Upper Works trailhead. Followed the Opalescent along the Calamity Brook Trail. We got to see the Henderson Monument close up since the beaver handiwork was covered with snow and ice. I marveled at the way the Opalescent's water appeared a mint green color where it was frozen. The trail was packed down pretty good (whew!) and the terrain was rolling and the sun shown for most of the way in. We made it to the lean to right before you break through the trees to view the flowed land just in time to eat lunch. One of my bottles of water was frozen and I found out it was not a good idea to put lettuce on my sandwich as that too was frozen. We ate extremely quickly as it was registering -20 on my dad's pack thermometer. I put on an extra layer and a face mask before we ventured out to the middle of flowed land. I am actually glad I saw this place for the first time in it's frozen, white state. It was breathtaking to see a snow covered Colden and Avalanche Pass in the distance. The sun went behind the clouds and it was snowing on top of the mountains. It was much too cold to stay any longer and we headed back for the trail. Soon, the sun came back out and we finished our perfect day of snowshoeing feeling that we had accomplished something really big. We hope to find out what type of trail is under all that snow on our first backpacking trip.

July 2, 2008

phelps

I am not the most patient person in the world and the goal of becoming a 46er is not for people who require instant gratification. So, the Adirondack High Peaks are schooling me in the art of long term goals. That said, I had 3 peaks under my belt in 2 weeks and decided it was entirely possible to fit one more in before winter. On October 21, 2007 we set out to climb phelps. This was the day we were introduced to Marcy Dam. We turned down the road to the Adirondack Loj where the view that is ahead gets you psyched for the days hike. We felt like old hats as we left the trailhead with many other seasoned hikers. (I remember hoping no one noticed my camoflauge "hunting" backpack- speaking of patience- there were several gear purchases I made immediately and others that I felt could be spread out over the winter. My Kelty daypack was the first priority. Regardless, the camo pack worked to bring what I needed up the mountain.) Being at Marcy Dam is a cool feeling. You get a super close look at Colden and are teased by the partial view of Avalanche Pass. After pouring over guidebooks and maps of the area it is striking to actually stand on the ground that is conveyed as nothing short of sacred by the writers. After checking out the camping sites at the dam, we quickly decide we would not want to camp here with the masses. Leaving the dam, we find the phelps trail. I enjoyed hiking much of the way next to phelps brook. It was a beautiful summer-like day. We shared the trail with many friendly hikers and a few dogs, as everyone was capitalizing on what was probably the last gorgeous day of the season. At the windy summit, we marveled at Mt. Marcy in front of us and the Pass to the right of us. My father was thankful to have a view this time. Oh, how I want to see Avalanche Pass and the lake. I saw a tagline on a post from the adirondack forum that said "It's not a map it's a to do list". Well, I have a huge to do list in front of me, because I am now not only interested in climbing the 46 peaks but also being sure to take the time to discover all there is to offer within the park below 4,000 ft.

I had a definite sense of gratitude for being able to be on top of a high peak two sundays in a row. We begin to refer to our sunday climbs as being at "church".




July 1, 2008

giant


I hiked Giant Mountain on October 14, 2007 with my father. Husband did not come down with the affliction of needing to hike all 46 mountains and therefore I needed to enlist a new hiking companion. So, I am pretty ecstatic to share my new love of the mountains with my Dad. He is just as excited as I am. We started up my third and his first high peak. He was calm and patient and pointed out a lot about the forest and nature that I have curiously become interested in. The peaks seem to have cast a spell on me. Well, realistically, I believe I have begun this endeavor at a time in my life when I needed it (number one) and have a bigger appreciation for nature and the vastness of the wilderness (number two). The day is cloudy and cold, but we warmed up quickly with the exertion of this more difficult climb. Halfway up gave way to views of the Dix range that were awesome. I thought a lot about my grandfather on this hike. I considered myself lucky to be standing on the side of a mountain, taking in more beauty than my mind could register. Continuing on to the summit, we encountered the first snow we had seen of the season. Standing at the summit marker it was as if a white sheet was draped in front of us. After quickly eating lunch, we anxiously hiked back to the views we had enjoyed so much on the way up. Even without the reward of a view from the top, we were motivated for the next climb and began planning for it on the way home.

my first two peaks

On October 2, 2007 I climbed Cascade and Porter with my husband and our golden retriever, shadow. I was encouraged by a friend to "try" a high peak after only climbing a few small, close to home mountains. Of course, Cascade is touted as a good one to "start" on. Funny how my experienced hiker friend knew that once I got a taste of Cascade, the idea of becoming a 46er would surely follow.

The day was a beautiful cloud free day in the Adirondacks. I actually had trouble sleeping the night before due to the anticipation of climbing a "real" mountain. I left my house for the two hour drive north and arrived at the trailhead shortly before 9:30am. I was on the summit of Cascade by noon. The climb was definitely nothing to sneeze at, however, the view was all that I had dreamt it would be. A little hazy, but incredible. The sign pointing to Porter showed that for another 1.7 miles I could double my number of peaks. What an accomplishment was my thought as I stood on Porter looking across at the view of Cascade. After a short rest, we descended and made it to the car by 4:00pm. I drove home feeling the good kind of tired. Not bad for my first two peaks. I knew right then that I would be back before the fall was over. My hiker friend describes me as having "the bug". Very true.