Mayhood’s Sporting Goods
CHENANGO COUNTY – One of my favorite places to go on vacation is the Adirondack Park. The park was established in 1892 and is a mixture of 2.6 million acres of public land and 3.4 million acres of private land. The Adirondack Park has over 3,000 lakes and 30,000 miles of streams and rivers. The landscape is stunning and there is plenty of room to play.
The park offers it all including opportunities to boat, fish, hike, camp, bike, and more. One of the greatest accomplishments for an avid hiker is to climb and descend the 46 highest peaks of the Adirondacks. As a kid I remember my aunt, Julie Thompson, and uncle, Howard Thompson, making several trips up north to complete all 46 peaks. They came back with great stories and stunning photos. Ever since I have wanted to become an ADK 46er myself. My sister, Ashley, and I have embarked on our journey to becoming 46ers, but we have a long ways to go.
Our first experience hiking the 46 Adirondack peaks was during the summer of 2015. We completed a hike up Cascade and Porter Mountains. Cascade has an elevation of 4098’ and Porter is 4059’. These peaks are popular because the trail is easy to access and it is one of the shorter hikes. The main trail is found by taking Route 73 out of Lake Placid. The trailhead is found on the right hand side of the road.
Parking can be a problem particularly on the weekends. My sister and I made sure to get up early to avoid this problem. We were on the trail by 5 a.m. and there was only one other car when we arrived. A trail register is available a short distance up the trail; we made sure to sign in and out. This is a very important thing to do when hiking in case of an emergency.
Cascade and Porter mountains can be completed together in one trip. There is a branch trail 2.1 miles up Cascade that takes you to the peak of Porter. To do both peaks it is 5.7 miles round trip. If you plan to do just Cascade it is 4.8 miles round trip. This may not sound like much, but in the mountains when you are gaining elevation at a fast rate, it takes a lot longer than you might think. This is important to keep in mind when planning a trip because you don’t want to be out hiking in the dark. For an out of shape hiker it takes two to three hours to reach the summit of Cascade. An experienced hiker might take about 1.5 to two hours to reach the summit.
We were glad that we started out early to complete at least a portion of our hike while it was still cool outside. The trail was easy to find and well marked. Light scrambling was required on a few sections due to sharp inclines, but it was not too difficult. Our efforts were rewarded once we reached the bald summit of Cascade. The views were stunning. When we arrived, we shared the summit with a family group. We assisted each other with snapping pictures and took in the landscape. After having a snack we began descending the trail to reach the branch trail for Porter.
The summit for Porter was not as obvious as the one for Cascade. The summit for Porter wasn’t completely bald like Cascade. We were not able to find the elevation marker at the top so we actually continued past the summit on a trail leading to The Garden in Keene Valley – another trail that can be used to reach the summit of Porter.
We quickly realized we were losing elevation and turned to our guidebook to discover our mistake. We turned around and went back to the summit. Another hiker had a GPS unit with them that confirmed our elevation. We compared it to our guidebook and discovered we were at the summit.
On our descent we stopped for a break where the trail for Porter connected back to Cascade. We continued our hike down the trail as quickly and safely as possible, followed by some rather dark clouds. Thankfully we had our trekking poles. The descent was a lot harder than the climb – it is rough on the joints. We were thankful when we reached the register box. After signing out it was a short race to the car as the rain clouds decided to open up. We made it back in perfect timing.
After this hike I was hooked. Unfortunately, we haven’t found the time to return since, but this summer we have several trips planned to complete some more peaks. To say the least, I am very excited. If you haven’t been to the Adirondacks yet it is well worth the trip. Just make sure to you are prepared and make sure someone knows your plans before heading out – safety first.
– Mayhood’s Sporting Goods