|Nov 16, 2003 (Sun)
|Elevations: 4240 feet, 4009 feet; Order of Height: 27, 999
|Participants: Andrew Lavigne, Johanna Wandel, Markus Wandel, Pu Chen, Ewart Tempest
This hike was designed to introduce Johanna (Markus' sister) to the beauty of the Adirondacks. We chose the hike over the Brothers to Big Slide, which offers much: multiple viewpoints and open areas on the Brothers; an excellent vantage point from which to view the heart of the High Peaks region, and a loop route rather than a there-and-back route.
The day turned out to be excellent - a somewhat cool but calm and sunny day. It had snowed a couple of days before, and a fresh white mantle of snow was over everything. After parking at the Garden parking lot, we tackled the route up to the Brothers, which wastes no time in climbing upwards. It isn't long before we start to be treated to the excellent viewpoints, and are soon on the Brothers themselves. Johanna is thrilled with the breathtaking views. The late fall sun and crystal clear day go a long way towards making the view superb. We push on, stopping for a good lunch break on the second Brother, and then hike into the dense but beautifully snowy forest between the Brothers and Big Slide. At the single viewpoint to Big Slide, we stop and take a few pictures. Big Slide looks magnificent today... a combination of the amazing sky and fresh snow coating and low-angle light. Definitely my best shot of Big Slide ever.
Ewart is feeling quite under the weather today and is falling a bit behind. At the junction just below Big Slide he decides to return back the way we came and to meet us back at the trailhead. So, unfortunately, Ewart does not get to summit Big Slide for a third time. The rest of us head up the very steep and icy final bit to Big Slide's summit. Markus puts his crampons on, while Pu and myself and Johanna opt to try it out without. I was very tempted to put them on but before we knew it we were on the summit. Calm, clear, even warm, and, as always, a spectacular view of the Great Range, Marcy, Algonquin, and on and on. A long lunch break ensued.
We decided to return via Yard mountain (not a real 46er peak, but close...), a trail I had never done before. Markus put crampons on Johanna, thinking she might find them useful on the way down, but the trail down the other side of Big Slide was not steep at all, and all Johanna succeeded in doing was tripping, falling, and ripping her gaiters. Markus and Johanna then ditched the crampons.
No one had been on the trail to Yard since the last snowfall, and in places some significant drifts had formed. We plowed through them, and in an hour reached the totally treed summit (there is, however, one very good view towards Gothics just south of the summit). The trail down from Yard to Johns Brook Lodge is initially quite steep, and on our hike there were a lot of short drops, frequently coated with ice. We negotiated these without incident, and before long interested the klondike pass trail, at which point we turned left and headed down to JBL (a bit muddy and soggy here, still). I was glad to reach JBL and be rid of unbroken and muddy trail (2:30pm). From here it was a well-trodden boot path, mostly flat, all the way back to the Garden trailhead. This we covered in a relatively short time (just under an hour and a half). Ewart was dozing in his car, having returned back two hours earlier than us.
All in all, an excellent day and a fantastic intro to the Adirondacks for Johanna.
Trip Reports, Image Galleries or Other References:
Image Gallery: November 2003 Big Slide and Yard Hike