Forty-five down, one to go
Brief splashes of sun under a mottled overcast set the mood, and a chill wind from the west kept us from getting too comfortable. After a bit of summit sightseeing (the summit lookout provids a great view down to Elk Lake and environs), we headed off. We had one important objective yet to achieve: get Brian on the top of Hough Peak!
Getting to Hough involved a bit of effort: we had to retrace our steps back over to South Dix's summit, then follow the herdpath over to Hough, which involved yet more up-and-down over an intermediate summit and then a steep climb up Hough itself.
Forty-five and a half-er?
I could tell Brian was getting a bit tired as we crossed over Pough (pronounced 'Puff' -- the intermediate bump between South Dix and Hough). Then, another descent followed by a quite steep ascent up the summit cone of Hough Peak. Brian's requirement to continue climbing was almost complete when we arrived at the superb viewpoint on the southwards-facing lookout on Hough's summit ridge. From here, it is only a few hundred metres of very gradual ascent to the actual summit -- which we reached shortly after 4pm.
With a barely-contained grin peeking through, Brian triumphantly arrived atop Hough Peak. Sixteen years, five months, and fourteen days after starting out at the summit of Wright Peak on a cold and sleety May afternoon, Brian had finished his ADK 46. I'm pretty sure that at the time, he didn't have a remote inkling that he'd be standing here, sixteen years later.
We got newly-minted 46R Harold to solemnly pass the 46R badge to Brian. Congrats to you, Brian!
Wind-tortured Trees on Hough Summit
Hough's summit provides an excellent view towards the central core of the High Peaks. Combined with some interesting late-day lighting, I spent a few minutes capturing some of the scenes. Then, with the time getting well past 4pm and with sunset at 6, we needed to hurry on. We knew at this point that we'd be getting back relatively late, but we wanted to be done the bushwhack down into the Boquet valley before dark.