7-9-17 – 7-13-17
Back to the High Peaks! I was rejoined with StillWaters this trip. We meet at Heart Lake – an ADK campground. Hence the luxurious accommodations (note the covering over the picnic table – living large!).
Day 1 – Mountains Street and Nye
The first day was going to be a fairly easy one – StillWaters was not feeling well and we wanted to take it slow. So we were going to climb two mountains – Street and Nye. On the way up the mountains we passed the remains of an old lumber camp:
Street and Nye are not known for their great views or vistas, but are still part of the 46 High Peaks.
The prayer for Street from John Calvin:
Enlighten us, O God, by your Spirit, in the understanding of your Word, and grant us the grace to receive it in true fear and humility, that we may learn to put our trust in you, to fear and honor you, by glorifying your Holy Name in all our life, and to yield youthe love and obedience which faithful servants owe to their master and children to their fathers, seeing it has led you to call us to the number of your servants and children.
The prayer for Nye was also from John Calvin:
Grant, almighty God, that as you shine on us by your Word, we may not be blind at midday, nor willfully seek darkness, and thus lull our minds asleep: but, may we be roused daily by your words, and may we stir up ourselves more and more to fear your name and thus present ourselves and all our pursuits, as a sacrifice to you, that you may peaceably rule and perpetually dwell in us, until you gather us to your celestial habitation, where there is reserved for us eternal rest and glory, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
On the way back I noticed evidence of beavers, or of a very hungry hiker – not sure which
Day 2 – Wright Mountain, Table Top Mountain, and Phelps Mountain
The next day we were going to climb one of the more popular peaks – Wright. It is not an easy hike, but one that people can do in a day from the Loj parking lot. We meet some hikers who were trying to climb the mountain with a full pack – crazy if you ask me.
Wright offers some wonderful views even with the partly cloudy skies – I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to channel the Wright Brothers on this peak and fly (the peak was actually named after a different Wright).
The prayer for Wright finished my journey with John Calvin:
Grant, almighty God, as no other way of access to you is open for us except through unfeigned humility, that we often learn to abase ourselves with feelings of true repentance. May we be so displeased with ourselves as not to be satisfied with a single confession of our iniquities. May we continue to meditate on our sins until we are more and more penetrated with real grief. Then may we fly to your mercy, prostrate ourselves before you in silence and acknowledge no other hope than your pity, and the intercession of your only-begotten Son. May we be reconciled to you, absolved from our sins, and governed throughout the whole course of our life by your Holy Spirit. Let us at length enjoy the victory in every kind of contest, and arrive at that blessed rest which you have prepared for us by the same, our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
One of the things that puts this peak apart from others is the remains of a B-47 Bomber that crashed into this mountain in the 1960s. I was glad to see a plaque calling us to take a moment to remember the four servicemen who died in that crash. The wreckage that remained helped me to realize the severity of the crash.
After climbing Wright we headed back down and then up another trail towards Table Top and Phelps Mountains.
We had lunch at Marcy Damn
Then we stopped at Indian Falls to take in the views:
Table Top is another “trail-less” peak enclosed with pine trees making one feel very claustrophobic. Not a great view or a picnic at the top – very deceptive naming!
It was also where I began prayers with the mystic John of the Cross:
I did not know you, my Lord, because I still desired to know and delight in things. Well and good if all things change, Lord God, provided we are rooted in you. If I go everywhere with you, my God, everywhere things will happen as I desire for your sake.
StillWaters was feeling like he was done for the day and decided to leave me to climb Phelps by myself. It was one mile up and up and up and at the top despite the great views I was never really sure what was the actual summit. I found a pile of rocks left there by previous hikers and decided that had be the summit.
The prayer from John of the Cross called for stillness and calm which was great to be reminded of so high up and surrounded by such majestic peaks:
O blessed Jesus, give me stillness of soul in you. Let your mighty calmness reign in me. Rule me, O king of gentleness, king of peace.
Day 3 – Avalanche Pass
No mountains this day. StillWaters and I were going to move our gear to Livingston Point Lean-to in the Flowed Lands to prepare for Mount Allen. This brought us right through one of my favorite places in the High Peaks – Avalanche Pass
Day 4 – Looking for Allen
Today we were going to climb the elusive Mount Allen which stands alone from all the other peaks, has a very long hike to the base of the mountain, and elicits groans from other hikers again and again. It is not any easy mountain to climb because of its location. We got an early start, was feeling good, and then… we got lost.
In retrospect we never really found the actual trail leading us to the mountain, but were wandering on very old logging roads and skid roads for some time. After a while we followed what we thought were trails, herd paths, and then realized that we were deep into the wilderness and not on any trail at all.
A couple of things to think about when you get lost.
1. Don’t panic.
2. Panic a little, but then take slow breaths and stop panicking.
3. Get the map and the compass.
4. Try to figure out where you might be and what direction you may need to go.
5. Using litmus points, go in that direction.
This is what we ended up doing, working our way through very thick woods towards a creek and following the water back to what we knew would be the main trail. We made it back safe and sound, but never found Allen Mountain – it would have to wait another day.
I want to take a moment to point out how serious this could have been. StillWaters and I were deep in a part of the 6 million acres of the Adirondacks that were not often hiked and we did not know where we were. So many people and institutions point out the importance of hiker safety but it does not hurt to go over them again:
1. We told someone where we were planning on going
2. We had warm clothes, food, water filtration systems (we even had our camp stoves and supper because we planned on taking a long time with this hike)
3. We had flashlights, emergency shelter options, matches/lighter, compass and map
4. We did not panic
Any time you go on a hike you should have the bare essentials to be able to survive at least one night in the wilderness if that should happen and we were prepared. Thank God it did not come to that.
In the end I was able to climb 5 out of the 6 mountains that I hoped to climb and despite the disappointing ending that still makes for a good and successful trip.