|View from Big Slide towards the High Peaks|
We started our trip with a big breakfast at the Noon Mark Diner in Keene Valley, just a mile or so from our trailhead parking lot. (If you're hiking in the area it's a must-stop eatery for a cheap & filling meal. Don't miss the pie, turnovers donuts, they have it all!) Soon after we were loading up our backpacks & polk sleds for the first leg of our trip, a 3.5 mi trail to Grace Cabin, owned and operated by the Adirondack Mtn Club. The location of this cabin in the High Peaks Wilderness is a perfect jumping off point to hike the following ADK 46 peaks: Big Slide, Lower & Upper Wolfjaw, The Gothics, Armstrong & Haystack... and if you're up for a looong day, Mt. Marcy & Skylight. Other lodging in the area, also run by the Adironack Mtn Club include John's Brook Lodge (summer only), Peggy O'Brien Cabin and several lean-tos.
|Larry & his sled|
|Crossing John's Brook, approaching the cabin nearby|
In the weeks before our trip, hardly anyone had reported using snowshoes on the unusually low snowpack this year. The Adirondacks are well known for its wet trails in summer, which in winter usually translates into lots of ice walls & ice bulges under the and rocky ledges. Snowshoes are required if the snowpack is 8" or more in the ADKs, so for this trip we wore snowshoes almost the entire time.
|NY State trail marker|
|View of Upper Wolf Jaw, from Lower Wolf Jaw|
|Sliding down the steeps|
|New Olympic Sport - ice climbing in snow shoes|
|Upper Wolf Jaw Summit|
The third day was a rest day for me, as I felt usually nauseous by morning (possibly my overeating of the yummy pasta?) The rest of the group ate oatmeal with fixings and soldiered on to Haystack, the third highest in the park, enjoying a 11 mi hike with some above-treeline views and exposure.
|Bunny on the bridge|
On our last morning we ate homemade granola, cleaned up and hiked quickly through the bitter cold woods. We soon found ourselves at the Noon Mark once again, enjoying a big lunch & pie, discussing plans for our next winter trip to Grace Cabin.
|Grace Cabin - Beds, cubbies and food locker|
|Grace Cabin - kitchen side|
|Grace Cabin - table area|