Adirondack 46er: the good, the bad, the exhausting

This is a post with 100-page potential. (I first mentioned this hiking challenge HERE.)

The collection of memories and experiences (both good and very, very bad) are enough to fill a lifetime of stories, but because I am a lady of few words, I will condense a quest to hike the 46 High Peaks of the Adirondack Park into 140 characters or less:

hike tweet

But I’m actually not doing my favorite place in the whole world justice to reduce it to a few words; although, even a million words, a million pictures can’t really describe just how epically cool the Adirondacks are.

Views of Mt. Marcy from Haystack Mountain

And there was NO better way for a North Long Beach girl like me and Downtown Albany boy like Mark to explore the highest points in the park than to take up this massive challenge, to push and cry and feel the burn.

Many hikers we’ve met along the trails have similar experiences.  The cliffs on Saddleback Mountain are ridiculous.  Blake Mountain is deserving of the most middle-est of fingers.  Allen Mountain, *sobs, just sobs.  But part of the “joy” of this experience is joining with your fellow Adirondack comrades over beers and pies and ice packs to trade war stories.

So when I tell you to give the #ADK #hikelife a try, and I say “trust me, it’s cool.”  Just trust me, it’s cool.

Stacie trying to stay dry on a soggy hike.

But in case you need more, here’s more.  In as few, yet concise, words as possible, this is Mark and me on The Good, The Bad, and The Exhausting in our quest to hike the 46 High Peaks.

The Good.

Stacie: I have so many good experiences, so many memorable things, not just the WOW at the summit.  But I will say, at the top of Nippletop Mountain I had an honest-to-goodness moment.  We say the word awesome, but I literally felt the word AWESOME.

Mark:  The day we hiked Sawteeth, Gothics and Armstrong Mountains was one of our longest days up to that point.  After 15 miles I felt great and I realized I could do any of them!  I also enjoyed discovering new things, gaining knowledge, and becoming an experienced hiker…and not being “newbs” anymore! Now the Adirondacks feels like home. 

Stacie:  And we made some great trail BFFs!

Mark:  ….car camping is pretty cool, too.

The Bad.

Stacie:  Allen Mountain.  A million times Allen.  Not because of anything other than when we hiked this monstrosity:

  1. We got maybe two miserable hours of sleep in my car the night before.
  2. It was cold and rainy the whole day, the entire 20+ miles.
  3. We weren’t used to no-sleep hiking, poor conditions, or that distance.
  4. Wet and slippery slides; imagine hiking up waterfalls, endless waterfalls.
  5. At the summit, oh that glorious summit! we were in a cloud.

Mark:  Starting our first high peak, Cascade Mountain, I hit my head and sprained my ankle before we even made it a quarter of a mile.  And then there was the time I hit the wall between Blake Mountain and Mount Colvin.  Sitting in the pit between the two mountains, I knew I had to climb back up Colvin but I was DONE.


The Exhausting.

Stacie: That one time I actually cried on a trail.  Uncontrollably and from physical and mental exhaustion.  We were on our way down from Mounts Skylight and Gray and took a wrong turn.  That mistake added two miles to a 20+ mile hike.  I may or may not have said “leave me here,” and meant it.  This is the big hike Dax did with us.  It was an excellent lesson in paying attention to your distances and your junctions, because when you miss a turn you could find yourself heading in the complete opposite direction.

Mark: There were so many times we were so tired.  Our Cliff Mountain and Mount Redfield day was memorable.  Waking up at 3am to make the drive up north by 6am, hiking for 16+ hours (through so many bogs!) before finally making it back to the car at 10:30pm.  Then driving home.  It ended up being a 22 hour day.  Kind of exhausting.

But wait, there’s more!

Ending with our worst and most exhausting moments on the peaks doesn’t exactly make the most convincing argument that the ADK 46er journey is worth the effort.  So let me leave you with this: Mark and I started dating six months before we hiked our first High Peak, Cascade Mountain.  From there, we shared some epic adventures.  We had each other for encouragement.  Together we laughed our way through the awkwardness of changing sweaty clothes in the car and pooping in the woods.

And then…

mark and stacie mtn
Mark and Stacie on Rocky Peak Ridge

I’m going to marry my adventure partner.  On the top of Whiteface Mountain.  This summer.

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