That fall he contact me to go on a hike. The plans fell apart due to other commitments on both ends but I vowed to make sure we did get out there one day. After seeing my posts inquiring about the old way 46ers used to climb Macomb (up a different slide to the south of the one climbed today) he invited me once again and I jumped at the chance. He invited his buddy Suvrat along and I'm glad he did because the 3 of us had a great time on this hike.
We left the already full trail head a little after six. I met a couple about my age heading in to climb Haystack into Blake. I thought that sounded like a really cool route but a big day for sure. It was already much darker in the morning then its been all summer as the seasons are changing. We made some standard chit chat that made the initial 2.3 miles go by in a wink. At the start of the Macomb herd path, we got out all the various navigation aids and hatched a plan. We'd follow the modern herd path for 10-15 and as it peels away to a ridge high above Slide Brook, we'd drop into the drainage and start looking for the first major tributary entering from the south.
Dropping down the bank, I unearthed the first of several archaeological finds: a blaze orange match safe. After evaluating the banks, we decided to rock hop right up the creek. The going was somewhere in between hard and easy. It seemed like we had gone a bit too far though. Brian checked his GPS and confirmed. Rather than backtrack down the brook, we headed pretty much due south up and out of the drainage and immediately heard the correct one burbling away through some pines.
|with some nice open spaces|
|we navigated over and around downed trees.|
We followed this tributary until eventually we could see a break in the trees to our right. Figuring it was the slide base, we popped out to find deeply eroded creek bank. We got up on it to take a look around and got a good look at the slide track and rocky crag of the Macomb sub-summit, our destination. Views opened up over our shoulder to the Pinnacle Ridge and Allen. I found an old Reliance brand water bottle Brian said he'd had one of in the early 80's. A perfect artifact to date this old route. The eroded bank faded back into woods so we made our way back down to the stream and followed it until we reached another, very similar bank. More creek walking eventually led us to some preliminary slabs and some early views to Elk Lake.
|we reached an erode slope where we could see our goal|
|an excited and hat-less Summithat|
|the guys decipher views and document|
|The creek eventually got slabbier as the peak got mistier|
|things open up on the initial rocky pitch|
|the picture doesn't quite do the effect justice|
|nice view back to Elk Lake. Much closer than the modern route slide|
|I think this was Suvrat's favorite place on the hike|
|taking it all in|
|dome early color-changing eye candy|
|looking down on the transition from rock to rubble|
|the rubble peters out as you approach the final pitch|
|you can't really knock the smile off this guys face|
|The initial pitch of the summit crag|
|Brian worked left at this point about halfway up to join Suvrat on his line|
|like a boss|
|so close to the top|
|The guys finding their way|
|this new line is called the treking pole rainbow|
|loved this spot under the overhang|
|fragrant and lush|
|moss, pines and ferns|
|my favorite little summit guys. I call the red trumpets haha|
|bits of the herd path|
|Always a fun climb up Carson|
|The Hough tree|
|Ear to ear grin all day|
About half way down either the hike had caught up with me or the cake power had run out. I was pretty tired. The trail seemed to drag on a bit but we eventually found level ground and the intersection. From here on out we took turns leading and made great time. think everyone was ready to be out of the rain and in some dry clothes.Any time anyone up front found bad trail (up hill, muddy or rocky) there were scolded and sent to the back of the line.Things got much sillier in general in the late stages of the hike and eventually some Big Lebowski quotes got thrown around. The true mark of a successful hike. We made it out of the woods by around 6:10, making for a 12 hour day in the woods with about as varied as an experience as you can have: on trail hiking, off trail hiking, slide-climbing, route finding, trail re-discovering and 4 high peaks summits.
Despite no visibility, constant drizzle and high winds, I've rarely had more fun on a hike. Company makes all the difference in the world.