Adventure 1, Part 1: Sharp Bridge Campground and the High Peaks

15 Jul

Throughout our Adirondack trip this past week and a half, the recurring thought I had was: Maybe the trip out west didn’t work out for a reason.  I was unbelievably disappointed to miss out on our cross-country trip this summer.  It didn’t seem possible that we were going to be able to make up for it with some camping trips around here…but so far so good.  Our first 9 day camping trip was amazing.  I’m breaking it into 2 parts because there was just so much to do and see!

7/3 

We set out for Sharp Bridge Campground super early on Thursday morning.  We got there and as we were pulling in it started to rain.  Awesome.  We quickly set up camp in the drizzle, thankful that the campground was mostly empty.  After camp was set up, we decided to drive around a bit to get our bearings.  We found the trail heads for some of our hikes.  Then it began to POUR–we couldn’t hardly see the road.  We were looking for a drive-through type place to grab some food, and ended up making it all the way to Lake Placid before we found a place.  We ate, then made our way back to camp.  We had a small fire that night, but it started raining again, so we just went to bed early.

lake placid...a long drive, but what else were we gonna do?

lake placid…a long drive, but what else were we gonna do?

7/4

We got up super early to try to beat the crowds at Giant Mountain–my first 46er.  We were up, packed up, and at the trailhead by 7, and were shocked to find a TON of cars already there.  We took a couple pre-hike pics and then got on the trail.  The trail goes mostly straight up–there might be a quarter mile all together where you are flat or down, but otherwise it’s up up up.  There were many difficult sections of big bolders and steep slippery rock slab.  The rain from the day before made the climb even more slick.  I spent most of the 2 and a half hours going up and thinking about how people do this all the time and alternating between feeling so weak and out of shape and being really proud of myself for how much better shape I’m in these days.  At one point, I started comparing this climb to marathoning–the mind is telling you no more, but your body is perfectly capable of more, you just have to get your mind to shut up.

foggy and wet

foggy and wet

As we got closer to the top, a really cool breeze kept hitting us.  When we finally made it to the top, there was no view–we were literally standing in a cloud!!  It was super cold, so we had a snack, took a few pics and hiked back down.  Eric had brought 2 beers along to toast my first 46er, but I wouldn’t drink it.  I was nervous I’d be drunk (on a mostly empty stomach) and fall down the side of the mountain.  As we were climbing, I’d been nervous about the hike back down, but it ended up being mostly OK.  I am much more confident and happy on the ways down mountains.  It was also at this point that I realized that “hiking” and “climbing” are 2 very different things.  Right now, I’m much more of a hiker.  But I am optimistic that with time and practice, I will get better at climbing and learn to like it (more on that later, when I write about the Snowy Mountain experience).  Also, the “typical hike time” for this mountain is listed as 7.5 hours–we did it in 5.  Because we rock.  And maybe we need to slow down a little bit hahaha.

 

We were going to do other hikes this day, but we decided one mountain was good.  We stopped on the way back, grabbed a 6 pack of Ubu Ale to celebrate, and spent the rest of the afternoon hanging at our campsite, drinking, reading and recapping on a great hike climb.

good beer!

good beer!

7/5

We got up early again this morning.  Originally the plan had been another 46er, but we decided before bed to do some “easier” hikes instead.  At 7 AM, we visited Roaring Brook Falls.  It’s about a quarter mile hike in to the base of the falls, which are very visible (a much better view) from Rte. 73.  It was still a nice little hike to warm up before we hit the mountains.

falls in the background

falls in the background

We left there and got to the very busy lot for Roostercomb and Snow Mountains, which is also the access point for Dix Mountain.  We decided to do both mountains this morning, since they’re both only about 2.5 miles–“only.”  We hit Snow first, and it was pretty easy except for maybe a half mile of climbing–lots more bolders and rock slabs.  We had the summit to ourselves, which was cool, but the summit was a rock slab surrounded by trees, so there weren’t any real views.  It was really sunny, and it felt great to sit in the sun, except for when the wind was blowing.  We hung out there for a bit, then started to hike back down.

camp5

About 1 mile down, there’s a junction for Hedgehog/Lower Wolf Jaw/Roostercomb.  We went another 1.5 miles to Roostercomb, which was mostly dirt and roots and not much rock.  Eric kept commenting about how weird it was that 2 mountains so close together could be so different.  The views from the top were pretty cool, especially seeing Giant.  It really hit home how big a climb it had been–it is an enormous mountain. We took some pictures, took a picture of another couple, then hiked a little ways to a ledge to see the views from over there.  On our way back down the mountain, the couple we’d taken the picture of caught us.  We hiked with them for a mile or so to the trail split (they were going to Snow next), and it was cool to talk to them about what they’d done and about running (he’s a marathoner).  We made it back to the parking lot without incident, and hung out in the back of the truck, having lunch and checking in with family while we had reception.

The top of Roostercomb

The top of Roostercomb

On the way back to the campground, we stopped to try to find an unmarked trail I’d read about that was to the Bouquette River Falls.  We hiked about a half mile before we gave up, but not before finding some really cool dispersed campsites and watched people cliff jumping from the other side.  We couldn’t figure out how to get over there to join them, and it was kind of cold to be in the water anyway, so we called it a day and headed back to camp.

7/6

We had a rough night and I was pretty tired–I slept til Eric woke me at 7, which is when we’d been getting to trailheads previously.  We decided to try Noonmark Mountain, which Eric told me was easy (they’d done it on one of their winter trips).  Noonmark is so named because from Keene, the sun is directly over the mountain at noon.  Cool story.

 

The original plan was to do a loop of Noonmark and Round Mountains, which was a 7 mile loop.  About halfway up Noonmark, I’d decided we were done climbing when we hit the top of Noonmark.  The trail is only 2 miles long, but it felt TOUGH.  Maybe it was the cummulative muscle fatigue of 3 mountains in 2 days, but I felt awful for most of this climb.  Around 1 mile in, the climbing got really tough, and we stopped to take a break.  I hadn’t eaten yet, so I grabbed a fruit roll up, devoured it and immediately felt like puking.  There was a lot of steep slab rock and even some ladders, which made me nervous for Picasso.  There were also sections (like all of the mountains really), where the steps were enormous–I’d get one foot up to hip or higher height, then have to push up–talk about a good workout.

awesome views the closer we got to the top!

awesome views the closer we got to the top!

When we finally got to the top, it was all worth it.  The views were incredible–it’s just a giant rock slab with 360 degree views.  There was a slight breeze and we were completely alone up top.  We sat there for a long time, just enjoying sitting on our asses and looking at all of the mountains surrounding us.

camp12

The hike back down was nerve wrecking.  We were both worried about Picasso, which is silly because he’s better on the mountains than either of us.  We made it to the bottom and only saw a couple of people, which was nice.

ladders! yikes!

ladders! yikes!

We finished the hike and decided to stop in Keene Valley to get food–I didn’t want another pb sandwich.  We stopped at Noonmark Diner, where I’d seen a tent the day before, and I went in to “convince them” to let us sit out back with Picasso.  Turns out, no convincing necessary–dogs are welcome out back!  We both had delicious burgers and ice cold cokes, and it tasted so freaking good.

looks raw, but it wasn't.  or maybe it was.  i was starving.  it was amazing.

looks raw, but it wasn’t. or maybe it was. i was starving. it was amazing.

On our way back, we stopped at Chapel Pond.  I had wanted to go there earlier, but it was always packed.  It was busy that day, but not too bad.  We hiked a little trail down and got to a small beach.  It’s amazing how refreshed an hour of swimming in super-clean, cool, mountain water can leave you.  Picasso had a great time running, jumping and swimming–plus playing with other dogs there.  We left after an hour to get back to camp, hand wash some of our clothes and hang them to dry out.

swimming at chapel pond--this is his jump from the beach...

swimming at chapel pond–this is his jump from the beach…

Luckily, when we got back to camp, most people were already gone (Fourth of July weekend is over), so there were only maybe 5 other sites with people on them, and none were really near us, so we were pretty secluded again.  We burned every last bit of firewood this night, since we were leaving for part 2 tomorrow!

he is a pyro...

he is a pyro…

 

**I would be remiss if I neglected to mention that the campground was pretty nasty–the bathrooms were a good hike from us (when no one was around, we could cut through other campsites and it wasn’t so bad).  They were very dirty, they ran out of paper towels early on and never replenished.  The allure of a campground was to be able to shower, but the showers were SO gross.  Not sure we’d ever stay at this one again…normally the campgrounds are awesome but this one definitely left something to be desired…

 

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2 Responses to “Adventure 1, Part 1: Sharp Bridge Campground and the High Peaks”

  1. sheisonarun July 16, 2014 at 3:45 am #

    Sounds like you’ll are making the best of not so fantastic problem. 🙂

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Adventure 1, Part 2: Indian Lake Islands Campground and the Central ADK | shmeruns - July 16, 2014

    […] First part of the trip is recapped here. […]

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