Despite carrying on a bit too late drinking beers, telling stories from college and playing a little guitar, we both woke up early, a bit excited for the day. That early wake up proved to be a really fortuitous. On the drive up we kept popping in and out of patches of thick ground fog, each time it lasted a bit longer. As we pulled off the northway onto 73 the fog lifted just in time to see our destination looming largely to our right.
I was pretty excited for the clear blue skies to start the hike. I honestly hadn't expected very much based on the forecast. Partly sunny with some showers in the morning followed by rain in the afternoon. I chose a hike that would have some views right away in case weather did roll in and the summit was view-less. We got out of the car around 7:30 and were on the first overlook not long after. Really cool views of the Dix range, the great range and all the impressive rock on Round Mountain. At the edge of the Giant's Washbowl, there's a simple two timber bridge over some thigh deep water. It was icy and very slick. We both held our breaths crossing and were quite happy to make it across without any problems. That would've been a bummer.
It snowed during our descent and as we got lower it changed from slush to rain. The trail also changed from snow to patches of ice to mud. Justin got to experience nearly every possible condition the high peaks have to offer. Roaring Brook was doing what it's supposed to do. It was a welcome relief to walk down some more gradual terrain as we approached the intersection. Though I knew we'd be adding mileage, I hadn't realized we'd have to climb 500 ft to get back up to Giant's washbowl. Oof. As we climbed, the skies truly opened up and we just had to laugh. Rough conditions! The pond was quite pretty and we had a fun time noticing all the beaver activity which seemed pretty old at this point. The cliffs as you approach the washbowl and on the other side of the it from the trail are quite pretty and remind me of Japan. Swirling mist made them even more majestic.
We followed the shore of the Washbowl until closing the loop with our approach. The icy bridge was no longer iced over but still looked pretty treacherous and was glad we didn't have to cross it again. The trail sign at the intersection read 0.7 mi to Route 73 which was truly a sight for sore eyes. Though we maintained a very upbeat attitude during the hike it was certainly a challenging one and the dream of being out of the rain and heading towards warm beds and dinners was a sweet one. We paused again at the first overlook and marveled at just how different conditions were. A few switch backs later we packed the car, dried off the dog as much as possible and made our way down to Albany. It was earth day and what a great way to celebrate it. Fully immersed in some dramatic conditions on a truly stunning piece of green earth. My coffee refill at Stewart's was free too which was just icing. It was great sharing the trail with an old dear friend and seeing yet another face awed by the majesty of the Adirondack High Peaks.