[< Previous Page]
[page 1] [page 2] [page 3] [page 4]
[Next Page >]
Pinnacle North Lookout
Haystack from Pinnacle
Testing the saw
Returning to the others, we began our route along the crest of Pinnacle Ridge. Immediately we encountered our first big bit of blowdown. I took the opportunity to whip out my newly-purchased mini folding saw and demonstrated a bit of heavy-duty blowdown removal.
Quiet ridge trail
Colvin Range scenery
AMR signage
For the most part, though, the crest of Pinnacle ridge did not have a lot of blowdown. It was a pretty nice route, if somewhat lacking in views. Like most of the trails we had been on so far today, it was almost entirely untravelled, not at all eroded, and often grassy in places.

As the trail heads northeast towards the highpoint of the trail at Blake Peak, it crosses over several lower subsummits. Generally the elevation loss and gain between these subsummits is less than 300 feet, but some of the ups and downs are quite steep, and we started to get a bit tired of this as we approached the summit of Blake.
Sunny flat ridgetop
View over that-a-way
Limited Dix view
Gothics and Pyramid
Another Elk Lake View
Pinnacle Ridge Trail
Our overall progress along the ridge was not nearly as fast as the brisk marching we had done along the Elk Lake-Marcy trail, and it was 4:45pm by the time we reached the summit of Blake Peak. Blake Peak is officially one of the Adirondack 46, even though it has a summit elevation of less than 4,000 feet. There is, for the most part, no view from the summit of Blake. It's not one of my favourite 46R peaks.
Pinnacle Ridge Trail
Lookout over Upper Ausable
Pinnacle Ridge Trail
Blake Peak
Blake Peak View
Super-steep Blake Descent
With not a lot to keep us on the summit of Blake, we continued on, starting our descent down the northeast side of Blake. We immediately noticed the big increase in erosion on the trail, owing to the many thousands of 46R questers out to bag the peak (and they virtually always approach from this, the 'Colvin' side).

The combination of much more traffic erosion with an extremely steep grade combined to make for a quite tiring and sometimes treacherous descent. Things were still a bit wet and muddy in places, requiring extreme caution with the steep grades. This was not a particularly fun bit of descent. We did, however, make it down in one piece to the col between Blake and Colvin, where we encountered the trail junction that would bring us steeply down to the valley floor of the East Branch of the Ausable River. From there, we'd start our ascent up to a shoulder of Haystack and our campsite for the night.
Junction with trail to valley
We hiked partway down the trail towards the valley bottom, stopping at the first flowing little stream to refill our water supplies (we had used virtually all of it up on the hot and dry ridgecrest back above). We began to think a bit more about Ewart's sudden decision to turn around, and his seemingly excessive fatigue. We began to wonder if perhaps he was in some way sick.

After filling our water, we continued on down a few more hundred feet. We continued to think more about Ewart, and when we reached a very small but serviceable campsite nestled into the steep slope alongside the trail, a thought popped into my mind: perhaps we should camp here for the night, abort our plans for a route over Haystack, and instead make a more direct route back towards where Ewart was camped, just in case he needed our help. I discussed with the others, and they fairly readily agreed. We were all pretty tired in any case, so the idea of camping now instead of hiking down and up another thousand or more feet seemed pretty good. Although this meant we would not get to summit the best mountain on the itinerary, we felt that ensuring Ewart's well-being was more important. And, we had all been up Haystack before, in any case.

We set up our two identical Big Agnes Seedhouse 2 tents on a somewhat sloping patch of leafy ground (I was to find out later that I lucked out with the least sloped bit of ground), and set about doing camp things - boiling water, organizing bedding materials, soaking some tired feet in the nearby bubbling little stream.
Cramped little campspot
Clean little stream
Soaking after a long day
We were nestled into bed just as dusk settled. Given the completely perfect zero-percent POP forecast, we elected to leave off the tent flys and let the starlight and the fresh mountain air in.

We agreed to get up at 4am in the morning, and quickly make best time to where we believed Ewart was camped.
Interactive Trackmap - Blake Peak Backpack, Day 1 - click to expand
Hike Data - Blake Circuit, Day 1
Start Time: 8:41a.m.
End Time: 6:00p.m.
Duration: 9h19m
Distance: 16.83 km (10.46 mi)
Average Speed: 1.8 km/hr (1.1 mph)
Start Elevation: 2181ft (665m) *
Max Elevation: 4013ft (1223m) *
Min Elevation: 2055ft (626m) *
End Elevation: 2472ft (754m) *
* : +/- 75 feet
Total Elevation Gain: 3335ft (1017m) *
Total Elevation Loss: 3035ft (925m) *
* : +/- 75 feet
Elevation Graph
[< Previous Page]
[page 1] [page 2] [page 3] [page 4]
[Next Page >]
Send feedback or leave comments (note: comments in message board below are separate from those in above message board)
(There are no messages in the homemade custom message board)
Web Page & Design Copyright 2001-2024 by Andrew Lavigne. (Privacy Policy)