Tuesday, September 17, 2013

ADK 46: Lower Wolfjaw Via White Trail

I've completed the adjacent peaks in the Great Range ( Gothics, Armstrong, Upper Wolf Jaw ) twice, both times we were too low on water to continue on on Lower Wolfjaw. So it remained on the "to be hiked" list until this weekend.  I'll be honest I've been dreading hiking LWJ for a while, mostly because it's still a long haul (10 miles) and it is a complete wooded summit.  I didn't really want to drag anyone along for such an anticlimactic hike, so I headed up alone Saturday morning.

Per usual, I got a later start than I wanted, this was because I had to stop a few times to buy lunch, get gas, and use the restroom, but eventually I made it to Ausable Mountain Club and parked my car.

The parking lot was packed ( but cannot compare to how packed it was & the Giant/Rocky Ridge Peaks were when I left.  I saw over 50 cars for G & RR!) 
Since I had been there before I knew to expect the .75 walk to the trail-head.  I was excited to find out that the white trail turn off immediate at the ranger hut and I wouldn't have to walk along lake road, which was pure torture last time.  

I took off and making decent time.  The trails are incredibly well marked and I was lost in thought for a while.  Interestingly enough they included a random person being in the woods - only to find out later, that there is a missing hiker in the area.  I didn't see anyone, but it has unsettled me. 
sign reads " not the trail "
For once my trail book was spot on about this trail.  They described it perfectly. Or maybe after 26 peaks I'm starting to understand what they're saying better..

When I left my car, at the last possible second, I decided to grab my hooded sweatshirt I had worn the night before, I couldn't have been happier with that decision. r I met 3 men who were hiking in & all the way to haystack to then climb Marcy the next day) and shortly after the wind picked up.  I tried to tough it out since I only had 1 mile left, but I caved.  I put on my purple base layer  Within 30 steps I realized I was really cold and that my base layer wasn't enough so I went back into the pack and grabbed the hoodie.  Which saved the day.  I need to add gloves to the pack already, I guess I was hopeful that this would still be a "summer" hike. 

Around mile 4.6 It seemed like I was on the highest point and suddenly there was a pretty steep decent.  I thought that it was possible that my watch was wrong and this should be the summit, but I figured I would go the extra .5 mile to see if there was anything higher.

After the quick descent there is a nice wooded ridge to LWJ.  It was also a wind tunnel.  I thought about stopping again to put on my windbreaker/rain jacket but made a deal with myself that I could at the top.  I came up to the big scramble that a friend had mentioned, as a couple were on their way down.  We chatted a bit about the trail, I think the woman was relieved when I told her that this was the only part this steep. Once they left, I was able to scoot up, it looked more challenging than it was, as I stayed to the right and discovered a teeny herd path for little people like me.
peak #26 & cold.
It wasn't much longer until I think I was on the summit.  I did not find any bench marker or sign high in the trees indicating that I was on the summit.  I continued past the junction leading to Upperwolf Jaw, walked around a bunch and than sat behind a boulder that helped block the wind.  I ate my bagel, that I wished was soup and was back on the trail.  With cold weather and no clear view, I had no motivation to sit around.

After doing the loop for Dial and Nippletop and having to walk along Lake Road, I decided that I would simply backtrack down the same trail I went up.  I was quite glad that I did.  Aside from the two areas of very steep, it was just a steady decline and very manageable hike. 

As I was climbing down, the clouds passed through and the sun came out.  I also ran into everyone else climbing that day.  Very rarely am I one of the first up and on their way down the mountain.  
tree eating a trailmarker
Along my way down, I stopped in the outlook that I skipped on the way up.  I'm glad that I initially skipped it, because it gave me something to look forward to, other than being in my car, and the view was beautiful.  I sat on a rock and enjoyed the view for a bit before moving along.

I made it back to the trail head by about 2:30 And back to my car by 2:40.  This was one of my fastest hikes 10 miles in about 6 hours including breaks.  I'm sure that means other people can do it in 4-5 but I am very proud of my self. The White Trail (which is actually red trail markers) is a really nice trail and a much better hike than I was expecting.  Dare I say I'd be willing to do it again?

 After I decided to stop at Davidson Bro's Brewing in Glens Falls.  I had gone once in the spring and enjoyed it so I stopped in for some soup/salad & a pint.  I also ended up leaving with a new growler.  All in all an excellent late summer hike. 

Also, if you plan on going up soon, keep an eye out for one us.  Scott Haworth has not been seen since Sept 5th.

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