'Twas time for another intro-ish hike for Miriam and Asmir. Also, Luke and Sophie were raring for a mountain hike with us -- it had been a long time, almost a year, since we'd last done a hike with them (and that was an aborted hike, at that, on Mount Hale in New Hampshire). Anyway, after our successful intro to the Adirondacks [for Miriam and Asmir] on Ampersand, we wanted to up the ante a little, while still fitting into the parameters of not too long, big views, something all the non-regular participants hadn't done before, and decent trail conditions.
So... I fed the parameters into the Andrew Adirondacks Computational System, or AACS[tm], and out came with out a couple of potential candidates: Nun-da-ga-o ridge in the Soda Range, and the traverse of Porter and Cascade. For a while, I was leaning towards Nun-da-ga-o ridge, but in the end the thought of a beautiful day on the many-faceted traverse of Porter and Cascade won me over. It was the harder of the two, but at less than 12km of total distance I thought we would be ok. Plus, we had two cars, making this traverse possible.
Asmir, Miriam, Jenn and I (plus Bob, who finagled himself onto the hike) drove down to the Adirondacks on a very fine Sunday morning. We met up with Luke and Sophie, who had spent the previous day in Montreal, at the Cascade trailhead. There, we all piled into the CR-V for the short drive down and around to the Trailhead at the end of Marcy Field. We were on the trail by about 9:30 a.m.
I wanted to make sure that this hike would not feel rushed, and that everyone had plenty of time to complete the steep sections. The total elevation gain up to Porter is on the order of 3,000+ feet (1,000 m). A fairly stiff amount, if I may say so.
Sharp right and stream crossing
Setting a nice, easy pace, we walked up through steepening ground to the base of the steep shoulder of Blueberry Mountain -- the first objective to be surmounted on this hike. I like this part of the hike, since it climbs through open patches and up bare rock slabs. One gets excellent views back down into Keene Valley, and if the day is sunny, like it was for us, you get a full dose of warm morning sun.