A Perfect Weekend
I have two baseball caps that I like to wear when I’m hiking: a Red Sox 2004 World Series champions cap, and a Red Sox 2007 World Series champions cap. And with the Red Sox headed to the World Series, I’m hoping to add a third cap to my collection.
On Saturday morning I donned my 2007 cap for a hike up Rocky Peak Ridge, one of the Adirondack high peaks. A friend and I attempted this hike about a month ago, but from a less traveled, fairly difficult trail that starts in New Russia. We hiked and hiked, but ended up turning back before reaching the summit due to the late hour, dropping temperatures and ominous clouds. Despite failing to meet our goal, we had a fantastic time: Much of the hike takes place on bare, open rock, which makes for outstanding views. And we didn’t see any other hikers, which was nice. We felt like we had the forest and mountains to ourselves.
Last weekend we decided to return to the high peaks and hike Rocky Peak from the west. This is a more popular route, because it is shorter and takes hikers past Giant Mountain, quite possibly my favorite high peak. We started off surrounded by other hikers, but quickly got away from them. It wasn’t long before we were above the trees, marching over steep, open rock and taking in the stunning scenery. We could see the surrounding peaks, Chapel Pond and the fading yellow leaves of the poplars. The weather was on the cool side, but nice: I wore wind pants, a long-sleeved shirt and, at one point, gloves. When we lunched on the summit, I took off my baseball cap and put on a knit cap. But I warmed up quickly once we got moving again.
We stopped briefly on Giant before heading to Rocky Peak, which entails a steep descent and then a bit of a climb. However, the climb isn’t as bad as it looks, and you’re treated to some impressive views of the back side of Giant. The fading afternoon light gave this portion of the hike a more austere feel — the fallen leaves and bare tree limbs seemed more noticeable, while the ledges and boulders seemed harder, flintier. The summit itself was quite lovely, with views of the ridge hike we had done a month earlier. We could see Bald Peak, with its impressive glacial formations and Middle Earth-like cliffs, very clearly, as well as Lake Champlain in the distance.
The hike back to the car was not easy, as the trail was slippery and covered with leaves, which made it difficult to see. But we made it before nightfall, which means I have now hiked 15 high peaks. On our way back, we stopped to grab beverages for the car ride — I like to drink a Coke after I hike — and beer for the Red Sox-Tigers game that evening, which we listened to on the radio while playing several intense games of cribbage.
The Red Sox won, and they’ll be in the World Series when it starts tomorrow. Which is pretty amazing, when you consider how dispiriting it was to be a Red Sox fan last season. With any luck, I’ll be hiking my next high peak with a brand-new baseball cap that says: Red Sox 2013 World Series champions.
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