Temperature in my apartment at 4:45am: 84 degrees
Hours spent silently whining yet unwilling to turn on the AC: 3
Hours slept: 4.5
Hard boiled eggs eaten: 3
Cars already parked in st. Hubert's lot: 8
Times I went down the wrong trail: 1
|not the trail for Dial & Nippletop.|
Time I thought about renting a place at Ausable Club: 9
Time signed in: 7:55
Frogs seen: 14
Snakes seen. 1
Number of Bears seen on Bear's Den: 0
Number of Elk seen along Elk pass: 0
(are there elk in ny? I thought we had moose, are they the same things?)
Times I regretted wearing heavy wool socks: roughly every step that my fitbit claims to be 44,968
Number of selfies taken: 11
Number of people on Dial summit: 0
Number of hikers seen in a prom dress: 1
Number of people on Nippletop Summit: 0
Miles climbed ~ roughly 14+
Time signed out: 4:50
Dial Mountain # 41 at 4,020
Nippletop # 13 at 4,620
I am now a 19'er !
Months later than I wanted, I finally got back into the peaks! After doing a bit of research, I saw that Dial and Nippletop are easily hiked together. Since I am a bit behind on my goal of 13 peaks this year, I decided to take advantage of their ridge line. I quickly read a few trip reports that all suggested a loop from St. Huberts up Dial continuing to Nippletop and then taking Elks Pass down. So off I went, I left Albany around 5:20 and arrived at the parking lot at 7:20. The perk of this trail head is that it is considerably closer than going up to the loj !
After readjusting my pack, I headed through Ausable Club towards the trail head. This is a beautiful resort that I would love to live at. Forget vacationing, it is adorable.I signed in at the wrong box and started walking up a different trail for about 2 minutes before I remembered reading something about Lake Rd and a big gate, so I turned around and headed on down Ausable Rd. I signed in at 7:55 behind a camp group that was planning on also getting in Blake and Colvin on top of Nippletop & Dial (madness!). After passing the big gate, the "hike" starts on a paved road for another .75. I caught up to the boy's camp stretching at the junction, wished them good luck on their 4 peaks and told them I'd see them soon when they passed me, which they did about .25 up the trail.
The trail wasn't technical, it was an easy soft path and while steep, it was a long and steady incline. The humidity was tough, but it seemed at one point that I literally walked right out of it. Suddenly the air was crisp with a nice breeze. I could have imagined all of it, but it was much appreciated. When I reached the summit of Dial - it was similar to being on Porter & Phelps when I've been the only person on the top and I'm not entirely sure if I'm really on the summit. I found a large boulder climbed up and relaxed.
|i was hiking alone. had to entertain myself somehow.|
|not positive, but I think that peak in the distance is where i was headed.|
I hung out for about 20 minutes before I was itching to get back on the trail and over to Nippletop. I knew I started with plenty of daylight, but the slight chance of isolated storms kept me moving so I could ensure I was below the trees and off the rocks just in case. The climb to Nippletop was fairly quick with out a lot of dramatic descents or inclines. I passed a summer camp with one girl wearing a prom dress, my only though was that she must be a CIT, poor kid. It wasn't the day to be wearing extra clothes.
The boy's camp was coming off of Nippletop as I made my way and I yet again had the peak to myself. The breeze was phenomenal. Once I sat down, I simply sat in silence without drinking my water or shoveling food in my mouth. It was that beautiful and calm that I just sat because I wanted to enjoy itt before anyone else may join me. hows that for sounding like a crazy hippie? Luckily no one did, so I was able to enjoy the views all on my own.
|I appreciate the attention to detail.|
|Nippletop .2 away|
After enjoying lunch, pictures, and relaxing I was ready to start making my way back to the car. When I read trip reports, It seemed like everyone climbs down Elk Pass back to the road. If you happen to read this post while trying to trip plan, my suggestion: back track of Dial. Dial wasn't steep enough for this to be a challenge and only adds .2 on the mileage.
Elks Pass is steep. After hiking I read a few more blogs of normal hikers who all refered to it was the worst mile, worst hour, etc. In wet conditions this would have been straight up hell. Since I was hiking alone on an empty trail, I took my time. My knee was very over the descend long before it was over. Once I made it to the ponds, the trail was much better, more gradual and even had mud instead of rock faces.
I met up with a pair of hikers who are also teachers taking advantage of the time off and empty trails of the weekdays. I didn't catch their names, but she and I chatted our way along back towards the road. We caught up with the Boys camp again, who had to go a ways out of their way to refill on water and had yet to start Colvin or Blake. I wished them luck and continued down. I stopped at the creek with my new teacher friends to fill up two of my empty bottles, while I still had some water left once the trail spit me out onto the road I would still have 3 miles back to my car and I'd rather be drinking water than thinking about it! I left my new teacher friends to continue pumping their water ( I used iodine tablets) and head back to the trail for the road.
|I can't take credit for making it, but I love whoever did!|
Once I signed out, those bad boys came right off and I walked the remaining .70 to my car in my thick (way too thick for the a mid july hike) wool socks. The drive home was easy, and I stopped at Venezia's in clifton park still covered in sweat and mud and sat down for a delicious baked ziti dinner. All in all, a pretty solid day of hiking.