Monday, September 8, 2014

Adk 46: Allen Mountain

My last three trips to the high peaks have been long hauls for 3 mountains each (Haystack, Basin, Saddleback)(Santanoni, Couchschara and Panther) and (Donaldson, Emmons, Seward).  While I haven't exactly been looking forward to the long walk that is Allen Mountain, the thought of hiking only one mountain was a bit exciting.

Jen & I got a fairly early start & arrived at the parking area by 6:40. We ran into another car that was unsure which parking lot was the correct one for Allen (upper works vs east river - the correct one for Allen is East River) I incorrectly told them that it was upper works.  Once I pulled in and saw the sign I realize my mistake and drove to upperworks to get them.

After readjusting and signing in we were on the trail.  Almost immediately after a guy joined up- we let him pass and continued on our way.

I'm not entirely sure when the suspension bridge was repaired/replaced over the Hudson River, but it was nice to not have to wade through cold water first thing in the morning.  The trail was well marked as we made our way around Lake Jimmy as the semi floating bridge is no longer passable.  The reroute is great and our feet stayed dry.

Somehow our buddy that we let pass earlier had ended up behind us, and ultimately stayed with us throughout the day.  I often chat with people on the trail, but usually people tend to have their own agenda so this was a nice and reminded me of my traveling days.

our new friends genius gaiters.

We reached a gate in the road as we first approached the Opalescent River, the orange flag and cairns in the river made it seem like it was the appropriate place to cross.  After crossing, we wandered about, unable to find a trail. we bushwhacked along the river for a bit before deciding to cross back again.  I wandered my way up through the woods and found the road/trail we had been on. It was decided that we had not gone far enough, so we continued before finding the real crossing 

After crossing, we picked up speed again towards at the junction to Lake Colden.  Our friend, Barry, was planning on backpacking for a few days, so he dropped his pack as we chatted with two men from the Albany area, Mike & Chris (the ones I followed to upper works to correct my bad directions)  We all took off together but the two guys were fast and quickly left us.  

After over 5 miles of hiking we finally reached the Allen Mountain trail-head.  We signed in the register box and began our official climb.  Initially the path doesn't make much elevation gain which is enjoyable except for when one remembers that they are there to climb a mountain and those 2,000+ feet aren't going to magically disappear.

We crossed another stream (this one was my least successful- also the only one I had boots on for) is when a moderate climb began and after the waterfall the wetter/steeper ascent started.
not the waterfalls that mark the slide/steep climb just a pretty cascade
The three of us made our way with some slips and slides and were a bit dependent on the poor trees surrounding the open slimy rock faces.  I found a garmin gps on a side trail that still had two bars of battery.  Figuring that someone had lost it that day, I put it in my bag to be be sure I could find its real owner.  It didn't take long since it ended up belonging to one of two men that were heading back down the mountain when we were about 40 minutes from the summit.

I wasn't wearing a watch and was barely pulling out my phone for pictures, so I was blissfully unaware of what time it was throughout the day.  I do know that by the time we summit ed, I was starving, but since I typically eat lunch at 11am, that doesn't give me a whole lot of information.  Since many of my climbs have been solo ( 11 !) it was nice to actually hang out and relax.  Mike & Chris joined shortly and we all enjoyed a much better view than I was expecting.

once upon a time there was sign here...

after 41 high peaks, these types of views still awe & inspire

While I could have hung out forever, I had plans to sleep in my house and making our way off the mountain seemed to stand in the way of that.  ( that & driving back to Albany)  The hike down was significantly faster and far less of a mess than I was expecting. A lot of time was spent sliding or crab walking but we made it down in what seemed like minutes in comparison of the hours it took to summit.

Once past the waterfall, we were able to pick up some speed and make our way back to the register box.  We sat for a few minutes and our friends came barreling out just behind us.  I switched into my keens for the road and was in no hurry to start walking again, but as realized earlier we were still 5 miles away from the car and there were no other options than walking. 

The junction  to Colden is quite close to the trail head for allen, and this is where our new hiking pal left us - his plans was to hike some orphan peaks (Redfield & Haystack) and complete his 46. Mike & Chris took off and must have been cruising because we did hear/ see them until flashlights were out & we could see them across Lake Jimmy.  

As we made our way back to the car, we came to a T in the road and I immediately assumed we were going left, I knew the car was in a north -west direction of where we were so going left seemed the most logical to me.  As we came upon Lake Sally the most incredible moon rise was occurring over the mountain.  I was in complete awe and thankfully, Jen was realizing the mistake so we turned back and headed in the other direction.  Daylight was leaving us fairly quickly by now, but when came upon the huts and knew we were close to the car.  

One of the beautiful things about hiking in the dark is that you really don't care if you're walking it disgusting swamps of mud anymore and when the car suddenly appear it feels like Christmas as a 4 year old.

The trail was long & wet.  The people were fantastic.  Allen is one of those mountain that you generally are only climbing because you're an aspiring or current 46er.  I haven't really felt the community side of this adventure until this hike.  Their trail stories keep me excited about my remaining 5 hikes.

Allen Mountain ( Ranked 26th at 4340)

Mileage 18+ herd paths

Time:  13.5 (includes lots of socializing)

41/46 complete

Gear used:
Dueter Backpack, hydroflask waterbottles (40oz, & 32 oz) Nalgene bottle 32oz, Asolo boots,keens, ems pants, old navy long sleeve.

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