We were almostly completely alone here on Mt Jo (up to this point we had only seen two other hikers). I reflected back to the hordes of people back down below at the parking lot, and was very grateful that 99.9% of them had taken the main trails over towards Marcy Dam and the central High Peaks. It was nice to be able to enjoy a bit of solitude even though we knew there were so many people in the mountains today.
As a final 'sting in the tail', there were a few short rock scrambles to be overcome before attaining the summit. Dad showed that he's still got some climbing skill in him, angling up the rock steps with relative ease (although I did catch him cheating with his knees a few times!). Above this, we were treated to some grand views and, shortly thereafter, the big, wide summit ledge. Success on Mt Jo!
Amazing views opening up...
Heart Lake and MacIntyres
The view from the summit is indeed fantastic. The view is not 360 degrees - probably more like 200, but those 200 degrees face directly towards the central high peaks. Nestled down below us was the triangular-shaped Heart Lake. An extremely good view - I liken it to the 'front row seat' view of the Adirondack High Peaks - they loom up, bang-o, directly in front of you, larger than life.
We had a good sit-down and lunch on the summit, chatting and enjoying the views. Although it was mostly cloudy and hazy, the cloud deck was high enough that we had unobstructed views. The forecast for the early afternoon was for rain showers, and we seem to have, for now, beaten them.
Mother nature was interested in throwing us a curveball, however. I was scouting around the summit area looking for views when I noticed the wall of grey approaching us from the west. Looked like a pretty good bout of rain, it did. So, I ran back to the summit ledge and warned Jenn and Dad that we should get going, and to get the rain gear on. I wanted to get down past the summit scrambling before the rocks got too wet.
We got the rain jackets on as the drops started to fall, but it came good and hard and quickly, making our downclimbing a little slick despite our attempt to get down off the rock quickly. Dad did pretty well, though, and we maneuvered our way down the rock steps with little drama.
The brief rainstorm made the path down wet and a little muddy, but the footing was still pretty good. We took the 'long way' down Mt Jo - a slightly longer but less steep and bouldery trail. This was better for Dad's Meniscus-missing knee.
Our descent went without a hitch, and Dad showed ever-increasing skill negotiating over rough Adirondack trails. In no time, we were down into the flattish land below Mt Jo. The rain stopped and the sun re-emerged, and it was actually quite warm out.