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 Giant Mountain, NY (NE115 #71)- 11/6/2016 
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 Giant Mountain, NY (NE115 #71)- 11/6/2016
I wasn't originally planning on heading to the 'Dacks, but as I was cruising up I-89 looking for a hike idea, I said to myself in the style of Shia LaBeouf, "Just Do It!" and set the GPS for Keene Valley, NY. Eventually, I got off I-89 at exit 3, and began the drive to the Adirondack High Peaks area, which I hadn't been to since August 2011.

The drive between I-89 and the trailhead was very scenic, don't get me wrong. But that is a LOT of backroad driving! Derek was 100% right in that's not a highway cruise-controlled ride to the 'Dacks from NH :( . Ah well, I gotta do this for the remaining 44 peaks, so might as well get used to it. The drive through Middlebury Gap was pretty bleh due to fog and snow/sleet, but the weather got better once in downtown Middlebury. The drive through the flat and grassy Champlain Valley was cool too, and I finally got to drive over the new Champlain Bridge- the last time I was here, the bridge was still under construction.

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VT 125 through the Champlain Valley

Once into NY, it was a fairly fast paced drive- besides the centers of towns and villages, every road had a speed limit of 55 MPH :D . Kinda weird at times, since there were 55 MPH roads where I barely managed 40-45 due to the sharp turns and curves, but it was unique.

Eventually, I crossed under I-87 and entered the park proper. Only issue- I wasn't 100% sold on where I wanted to hike. Since I left my house at 8:30, and it took me four hours to get here, I would have about 4 hours or less of daylight to do a High Peak. My options were Cascade/Porter and Giant Mountain. Thought for a bit, then decided to stick with the shorter mileage and do Giant. I skipped Rocky Peak Ridge due to the limited daylight, but whenever I get to it, I'm going from New Russia. Parked, geared up, locked up, signed in, and boots were on trail around 12:45 PM.

The Ridge (aka Zander Scott) Trail started out with steep switchbacks almost right from the get go, crossing a dry brook bed beforehand. After the last of the switchbacks, the trail crossed some wooded ledges, as well as an open one with a western view. I dipped down a bit, then reached a small pond at a trail junction. I kept right.

About a third of a mile past the junction, I came to a spur path to "The Nubble", which I skipped, again due the short remaining daylight. After the Nubble spur path junction, the trail climbed steeply, then ascended via switchbacks, and I came to the first of numerous open ledges, all of which provided excellent views.

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View from ledges on the middle part of the Ridge Trail

Around the first ledges, I saw signs of snow. For the next mile or so, the sides of the trail had a coating, but there was none on the footbed. After the junction with the Roaring Brook Trail 0.7 mile from the top, the snow was everywhere. There was also ice, so on went the microspikes. Which reminds me- I saw so many people without traction of any kind. Hikers everywhere were slipping and sliding all over the damn trail- some on their butts. I can only imagine what it would be like on a nice holiday weekend :lol: . Less than a half mile from the top, I came to two sets of ledges which were the most difficult parts of the hike due to ice cover. Going down them, even with spikes, was quite interesting. Eventually, I got to the junction with the Ridge Trail to Rocky Peak Ridge (someday), and made the short climb to the summit of #71 on the Northeast 115 and #2 on the ADK High Peaks :D .

Unfortunately, the summit was socked in :evil: . There were a couple short breaks where I could see the Great Range and Whiteface/Esther, but the breaks were lickety split, and it was back to fog. Hung around for a bit, then headed back down...

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#2/#71!

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A short break in the clouds provided some brief views

... and then this happened on the open ledges halfway down :mrgreen: :

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Heaven effect

Around 4:30 PM, I made it back to the car off NY 73, a little less than 4 hours after starting. 2 hours up, 1.5 down. Not gonna lie, I picked a crappy weather day to do a spur of the moment ADK hike. At least that heaven effect on the mountains made up for it. Ah well, I have 44 more peaks to get it right :wink: :lol: . I made it back down before dark, but it got dark almost immediately after leaving the trailhead. If I had gone to RPR, not only would most of the hike down be in darkness, but descending those wet ledges would have been interesting, to say the least. It's a reason to come back :D ! Roundtrip distance was 6 miles with 3,050 ft. of elevation gain, and it took 3.5 hours not including breaks.

Dunno how many times I'll be back this winter (long drive, short daylight, really long hikes), but if I do come back, it'll be to do some of the shorter ones.

Here's the video recap:
https://youtu.be/Z2qu2X9qzos

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NH4K: 48/48 (Completed 10/4/2014)
NE67: 67/67 (Completed 7/25/2016)
NE115: 74/115
NEFF: 31/50
NEHH: 75/100


Tue Nov 08, 2016 7:33 pm
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 Re: Giant Mountain, NY (NE115 #71)- 11/6/2016
Congrats on the return to the High Peaks. I feel your pain on this one. It's kind of amazing how much your hike resembled my trip up that one. This should look very familiar to you. :D http://forum.hike-nh.com/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=8305 I have read the hike up to RPR from New Russia is amazing in foliage season, so that's when I plan to return. I need to get back to the Daks soon myself. Haven't bagged a 46er in a few months now. :(


Wed Nov 09, 2016 2:45 pm
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 Re: Giant Mountain, NY (NE115 #71)- 11/6/2016
Granite Guy wrote:
Congrats on the return to the High Peaks. I feel your pain on this one. It's kind of amazing how much your hike resembled my trip up that one. This should look very familiar to you. :D http://forum.hike-nh.com/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=8305 I have read the hike up to RPR from New Russia is amazing in foliage season, so that's when I plan to return. I need to get back to the Daks soon myself. Haven't bagged a 46er in a few months now. :(


Now that you mention it, there is a resemblance... :lol:

It felt great to be back, even for a short while. Can't believe it took me 5 years to return to the High Peaks! I've done hikes near Lake George within the past year, but they were well south of the High Peaks.

Yea, a fellow hiker told me that RPR from New Russia is best in foliage season. Now that I have two opinions, I know when I'm hiking that one!

I might have to take some weekends off throughout the year so I can do the longer hikes/drives without having to do an exhausting day trip. When I did Marcy in August 2011 (I posted a trip report on it, which is buried somewhere in the archives), my Dad and I stayed at Whispering Pines Campground near Lake Placid, so that might be my base of operations for those trips.

_________________
NH4K: 48/48 (Completed 10/4/2014)
NE67: 67/67 (Completed 7/25/2016)
NE115: 74/115
NEFF: 31/50
NEHH: 75/100


Wed Nov 09, 2016 4:05 pm
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 Re: Giant Mountain, NY (NE115 #71)- 11/6/2016
Nice job hitting up the daks. The drive through Vermont while long is extremely pleasant. I can echo your sentiments about the road in new York after you take the right after the bridge. The speed limit seems rather high for the sight lines and road conditions. Everytime I looked I wasn't hitting the limit. Just hang on and carve the corners. Pretend like you are in a photoshoot for your car. A fun drive though. You could always do what I did and spend a night at Marcy dam or one of the other outposts. The Daks seem geared for that type of excursion.


Wed Nov 09, 2016 5:41 pm
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 Re: Giant Mountain, NY (NE115 #71)- 11/6/2016
thegibba wrote:
You could always do what I did and spend a night at Marcy dam or one of the other outposts. The Daks seem geared for that type of excursion.


This. Its an easy couple of miles to make a base camp for a dozen or so 46ers in a gorgeous spot. Nice leantos if you get there early enough or plenty of tent sites. All free as a bonus. Just make sure you have a bear can in season. Or you can usually rent them there if not for a few dollars a day.


Wed Nov 09, 2016 7:19 pm
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