|Oct 18, 2003 (Sat)
|Elevation: 4606 feet; Order of Height: 15
|Participants: Andrew Lavigne, Markus Wandel, Ewart Tempest, Caroline Doucet
This turned out to be a pretty interesting hike: we started at the South Meadows trailhead under low patchy cloud and a few flurries; Along the way from South Meadows to Marcy Dam we admired the late fall feel of everything slightly dusted with snow. At Marcy Dam we were greeted with much higher water flow than we'd noticed all summer. It started to snow with a bit more gusto as we hiked up towards Avalanche Junction, and, as well, with the increased elevation we encountered more snow already on the ground. From Avalanche Junction to Lake Arnold the accumulated snow on the ground got deeper and deeper, up to the point where, at the pass, I estimate that there was a good 4 inches of snow on the ground. This made for tricky going, as this whole section of trail is basically a big pile of small boulders, all made slippery by the snow. It was snowing lightly but steadily at this point.
The descent to the junction with the trail to four corners was slow going with all the slippery rocks and snow, but, on the plus side, the weather started to break up and we were treated to occasionally brilliant views of a hillside or a peak (especially Mount Colden). We had a good eating break at the Lean-to near the junction with the trail up to four corners (forget the name), and then made our way down the trail to the Uphill Lean-to, where the herdpath to Redfield (well-marked with a cairn and some flagging) is found. Apparently this initial section of the herdpath up Redfield is newly blazed, and I found it to be quite nice, with soft footing and is easy to follow. Higher up, the route follows the Uphill brook and some minor tributaries and, especially with all of the new snow, is quite tricky in spots. Also difficult to follow at times with all the snow cover. Views back to the Macintyre range are very good, and we embarrassed ourselves for somehow getting confused and mistaking Algonquin for Marcy.
The final bit of the ascent is through low conifers and soon we are on the summit. With a good dusting of snow and a spotlight of sunlight against it, Marcy's cone stood out very dramatically. The summit [of redfield] is treed, but has one very good lookout to the south, where there is an almost 180 degree view encompassing Skylight, Allen, and other more distance southern peaks.
On the summit are a couple of veteran 46ers waiting for a threesome to come up and finish their 46er quest on this very summit! They have beer and champaign and are ready for a bit of a celebration. (I cannot for the life of me remember his name - maybe Paul? and as I recall he uses the 'views from the top' website often). Anyway, after a good bit of lunch, we head down, me not looking forward to the slippery boulders over snow in a stream descent. But it goes better than I expect and soon we are back at the Uphill Lean-to. None of us are much into going back up over the Lake Arnold route, so instead we decide to return via Lake Colden and Avalanche Pass. This turns out to be a wonderful choice, because as the trail descends (instead of ascending for the Lake Arnold route), the snow disappears. Also, the gorges and flumes on the lower Opalescent River are very scenic and interesting, and Markus and I explore them. We arrive at Lake Colden to witness some beautiful late afternoon sun-and-cloud scenery. We take the North-west trail around Lake Colden, which is wayyy better than the trail on the other side, and I note how nice some of the lean-tos are in this area (e.g. Cedar Point). We reach the Interior Outpost on Lake Colden, and, while briefly poking around, strike up a chat with the undertaker, who has come out to talk to us. He graciously lets us take a quick peak and photo inside (it is truly a wonderfully attractive rustic cabin) - thanks!
Time and light are a-wasting and so we hurry along, hoping to get past the rough trail along avalanche lake before dusk. In fact, we manage it most of the way down towards Avalanche Junction before it gets really dark, and at the Avalanche Junction Lean-to we don our headlamps. Then it is one final push in the dark all the way back to the South Meadows trailhead. Although long (almost 30km), this was a great hike with lots of variety, both in the weather and the nature of the trail, as well as scenery.
Trip Reports, Image Galleries or Other References:
Image Gallery: October 2003 Mount Redfield Climb