A short image gallery of a quick Easter Friday day hike on a supremely perfect spring day in the Adirondacks. The destination: Pitchoff ridge - a low but frequently scenic set of bumps alongside route 73 near Cascade Pass.
Today was just myself and friend Sophie - no one else was available. We drove down at a leisurely hour and on the way decided that we'd do the hike as a traverse. Although we only had the one car, I had brought my running gear and would simply jog along the highway to close the loop.
It was a picture-perfect sunny spring day: cool and dry and with a light breeze. We started at the eastern trailhead for Pitchoff, climbing up through the snow-free lower forest. Higher up, the steeper parts of the trail were quite eroded, rough, and frequently crossed by blowdown.
With a final steep stretch of trail, we cut into one of the shady parallel grooves that are characteristic of Pitchoff's eastern ridgeline. Up here above 3000 feet and in a shady aspect, there was significant snowpack still. Fortunately, it was very firm, with no hint of postholing.
Minutes later we arrived at the beginning of the ridgeline part of the walk, and all kinds of wonderful views to the distant Central High Peaks opened up. The terrain is characterized by nice sections of dome-like bedrock interspersed with a few clumps of coniferous trees. The perfect seeing conditions gave us excellent views in all directions.
The next phase of our walk began now - we headed west, along the crest of the ridgeline. There are all sorts of interesting little twists and turns the trail makes. There were patches of ice and snow, but we were able to manage without getting out the microspikes. Little open lookouts and bare patches meant the views continued to impress.
The middle part of the ridgewalk is less interesting - more in the trees and less at lookouts. The trail went down and up over a bump or two, and with the lingering snow and ice, was at time hard to follow. After an hour or so of this, we started to descend steeply towards the western end of the ridgeline. There, we began to emerge onto what is probably the best of the open lookouts of the entire hike. Immediately below us to the north, we could see the terrain fall alway steeply to route 73, Cascade Pass, and the two cascade lakes. Directly across from us was Cascade Mountain - a popular 46R peak.
Approaching western viewpoints