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Today's hike's objectives: Introduce some new people to Adirondack winter hiking; Get Jenn and Brian some more as-yet-undone 46er peaks; and something with nice views. I figured the porter-cascade traverse would fit the bill, because it was fairly short and had quite a lot of good lookouts, and the summit of Cascade offers big open terrain on a relatively low peak.

At one point in the planning for this hike we had upwards of 12 people scheduled to come along. However, as the time got nearer, our group was whittled down to the six people you see in the headline: myself, Jenn, Jenn's friend Maureen, Ewart, Pu, and Brian. This was Maureen's first Adirondack hike, and Brian was returning to hiking after 6 months off, having broken his lower leg badly this past summer.
courtesy PChen
courtesy PChen
courtesy PChen
Through a glass, darkly
Patiently waiting
Sleeping Quarters
courtesy PChen
courtesy PChen
On a mission!
Waking Up
Marcy Field trailhead
We left Brian's car at the Cascade Mountain trailhead, and then all piled into the CR-V and headed around to the trailhead at Marcy field. The plan was to hike from there up and over Blueberry Mountain, then up to Porter, over Porter, quickly up and down Cascade, and down to the Brian's car at the Cascade mountain trailhead. The relatively short descent down to the finishing trailhead was seen as a good thing in that it would not be too much of a strain on Brian's recovering leg.

The forecast was unsettled. The previous few days had seen very warm temperatures and heavy rain; the last 24 hours had seen an abrupt deep freeze. We were at the tail end of a winter storm and flood warning combination. As a result, I was unsure of exactly what weather conditions to expect.
courtesy PChen
Exploded view
And they're off!
On our way at 9:30, we discovered that apart from a dusting of fresh snow, there was essentially no more snow base down at the 1000 foot level (where the trailhead is). The recent rains had completely melted all of the winter's accumulation thus far. As a result, we barebooted it a good ways up Blueberry mountain. The water that I feared was unfortunately not all frozen up, and we had to cross many swollen and rapidly flowing creeks. Fortunately, none were too big or dangerous to manage.
First look at Blueberry mountain
Definitely not the last
Finding a bridge
Maureen over frothy stream
Connell recovery hike
Stand of uniform trees
Major Flowage
Steady as she goes...
The steep stuff begins
courtesy PChen
courtesy PChen
Resistant to Freezing
Andrew heads up
Andrew and Ewart
We switched to crampons (or spikey snowshoes) for the steep ascent up Blueberry Mountain. The weather had turned clear and bright, although still pretty cold. The views from Blueberry Mountain's many open spots and lookouts is quite panoramic, and this was the clearest conditions I'd yet experienced in all of my times up here.
courtesy PChen
Itch, or death wish?
The first of many views
Pausing for a break
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