Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Peaked Mountain 9/24/16

It's been interesting and fun to adjust my style for planning a hike. With Hunter we leave town later and don't want to hike as many miles since he's stuck in the pack. I've made a new list of peaks that are closer to home and average between 3 and 8 miles. I don't want to sacrifice beauty though and between this hike and Moxam, I think we've actually seen more beauty in some ways than when we were focusing primarily on the high peaks.

We thoroughly enjoyed the drive up north with the fall color slowly creeping in. I always enjoy exploring a new area. From the map it looks like this access point to the Siamese Ponds Wilderness has a ton to offer. We've been working to depend less on Hunter sleeping through the drive and this time he spent the first portion of the drive awake and happy. I guess we've worried that if he isn't sleeping he'll be upset. He was definitely nice and chill. At the trail head we bundled him up, gave him a bottle and changed his diaper in the trunk haha.

At the trail register we noticed that Thirteenth lake is ringed with campsites. It looks like a very lovely place to camp! It's a very short walk from the lot to the shore of the lake where there's a picnic table and fire ring with a stunning view. Worth the visit even if you aren't hiking!!! We followed the trail around the lake to increasingly stunning views of this serene body of water  ringed with mountains. The whole family was in high spirits, immersed in the quiet beauty.

The trail twists along the shore of the lake with many fine views and several pretty amazing campsites. It reminded me of a slightly less brutal version of the trail around Flowed Lands, lots of little ups and downs avoiding the natural obstacles of the shore. We soon entered the deep woods along Peaked Mountain Brook. It was a very different form of lovely, with many tumbling falls. At times it reminded me more of brooks in the high peaks with the water cutting incisions into widely exposed swaths of bedrock. It was super pretty and interesting but didn't photograph well with the dark forest. It was a steady climb and we worked to gain elevation until a bit of a break along the shore of Little Thirteenth Lake. The edges of this lake were grown in quite a bit with marshy vegetation so it was hard to catch a view of the lake itself.

The trail then winds along Peaked Mountain Brook through several old beaver meadows. We were several miles into the hike already and starting to wonder if we'd bitten off a little more than we could chew taking Hunter so deep into the woods. The trail just had such a deeply remote feel to it. Something I've always sought that out but now it had a completely different edge to it with Hunter in our care. He seemed quite happy and content though and we still had juice left so we continued on.

The second beaver meadow gave us our first look at Peaked Mountain and we were deeply inspired. What a craggy little bugger! Very interesting in comparison to the surrounding peaks which tend to have a more rolling nature. This gave us motivation to continue following the beautiful brook to the shore of Peaked Mountain Pond. I can't imagine a more peaceful or beautiful little Adirondack pond. It's truly a worthy destination on its own and the designated campsite there is extremely tantalizing for future weekend camping plans.

A dark cloud rolled over the pond as we made our way along the shore. It gave a bit of an ominous feel to the start of our ascent. Immediately, care needed to be taken with many short scrambles. The stakes are very high now that I'm carrying Hunter on these climbs. Slipping or stumbling is no longer an option. Nothing was too challenging though and we were soon exhilarated but views far off in every direction. I have a difficult time recalling an Adirondack Mountain with views stretching so far off into the distance. It was neat to see Blue Mountain to the Northwest.

Along the mellowing summit ridge we encountered several lovely overlooks which guided us onto the craggy, multi-level summit. We felt a great sense of accomplishment for making the climb. We both feel like we've lost a step or two since Hunter was born and it was nice to know we still had the climb in us. We took pictures from the 2-3 different vantage points before getting Hunter out of the pack in a safe grassy area well off from the edge. He ate and played, truly enjoying climbing on the rocky features and...gnawing on sticks. We feel like bad parents at times letting him interact so deeply with 'dirty' stuff like this but feel in our hearts that this must've been what it was like for a long time before antibacterial soap and the sterilization of the first world. We also had to do our first high elevation poopy diaper change which went pretty well hahaha. We ended up hanging for about 45-50 minutes and met several small groups of folks, the first we'd seen hiking all day. During my research, I got the impression this was a popular hike, but it ended up being pretty quiet with a trail that didn't bear evidence of much traffic at all.

The climb down seemed to fly. Some of the features that felt difficult to climb were much more easily descended. We put Hunter's sun cover up which makes it much easier for him to sleep. He'd stayed awake for the entire hike thus far and we knew he was due for a nap. Within 5 minutes of hiking off the peak he was out like a light. Even with us talking loudly and jostling him while working down the craggy summit path. I'm hopeful this ease of sleeping in challenging environments is a trait he can carry in to later life. It makes so much of life easier if you can just pass out when you need to. The obstacles flew by as they sometimes can on the hike out. We made great time as the gradual loss of elevation rolled us out of the woods. With the light a bit better in the afternoon sun I attempted to gets some shots of the dramatic Peaked Mountain Brook. After about a 40 minute nap Hunter was up again and babbling happily as we reached the shore of Thirteenth lake.

We stopped at the picnic table at the head of the lake, gave Hunter a bottle and basked in the quiet beauty of the sunny fall day. It was a truly incredible hike and such a great thing to share as a family. J and I both hope so much that exposing him to nature at this age is leaving its mark in some way. We think it does. It's given the two of us so much peace in our hearts and minds through the years. We hope it can offer him the same in this challenging world we live in.

We had slightly underpacked food for ourselves so made our way to the North Creek Stewart's for an awesome late lunch/ early dinner of soup and the amazing seasonal pumpkin pie ice cream. It was a feast for the ages with Hunter downing a hefty portion of chicken rice soup. Unable to let go of the awesome day we headed over to Barkeater chocolates, which if you haven't visited yet, I highly suggest you do, and got an excellent stash of truffles. With our Adirondack day now complete we made our way dreamily down the Northway and back home. This fall has been great so far and I can't wait to see whats next!

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