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Continuing on towards the summit, the North Trail briefly skirted the western face's edge before heading back into the dense conifer forest that covers most of Giant's summit. Another, better and more open set of ledges came next, and from those ledges, we had a good view of Giant's summit proper. As expected, it was teeming with hikers who had climbed up from the more popular short routes.
Windblown face
Semi-open trail
Giant's Summit
We decided to drop our packs here before making the short walk over to bag the summit. We then returned back to our private and empty ledge for a relaxing break and snack.
courtesy JInnes
Busy Giant Summit
Along the top
Giant Summit
courtesy JInnes
courtesy JInnes
Arn and Gosia, Giant Summit
Jenn and Andrew, Giant Summit
The weather was pleasantly breezy and cool up here, perfect for once again drying off the buckets of sweat we'd shed on our climb up through the forest on this humid day - a day that had turned out to be mostly cloudy, but not in a way that obscured the view: A very high cloud deck with a few puffy clouds beneath actually made for a very interesting skyscape.
Lunch at the lookout
Keene Valley
Heading Back down
With the summit of Giant achieved, we started back down the North Trail. The generally good state of the trail allowed us to make quick work of the Giant Mountain portion of the descent, and it was a short 45-minute hike back down to the Giant-Green saddle. Here we turned left, heading in the general direction of Keene Valley.
Purple Soother Mushroom
Saddle Junction
The hike from the saddle over to Hopkins mountain was probably the least fun part of the day: in addition to a few more ascents and descents than we expected, we encountered a fairly long and tedious section of boggy terrain as we crossed over a low shoulder of Green Mountain. I was glad when we finally got to the junction with the Mossy Cascade Trail, for I knew it meant that we were now very close to Hopkins Mountain - which meant that our toils were largely over.
courtesy JInnes
Boggyness 2
Boggyness 3
Junction w/Mossy Cascade Trail
The definition of a root-y trail
Arriving Hopkins summit ledge
An abrupt and steep ascent of about 100 feet brought us to the beautiful open side-slope that is Hopkins Mountain's summit. Although not a true 360-degree view, Hopkins provides an excellent view down into Keene Valley and across towards the central High Peaks. At just over 3,100 feet, it is one of the Adirondack's nicest "lower" peaks.
Hopkins Mountain
A break on Hopkins
Giant from Hopkins
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