My new friend from Allen Mountain, was meeting me at the upper-works parking lot. He was sleeping at the trail head and I had no way contacting him or backing out, so I found the energy and made my way north. I had also reached out on the aspiring facebook page and another person joined us for the day. The three of us were ready to go and started on the trail at 6:40. The trail is the same as Marshall for a while, so I knew what to expect.
Along our way we kept running into students and finally stopped to ask who/what they were up to, they were from downstate and studying the Hudson River, they had traveled to Lake Tear in the Clouds (the highest point of the Hudson River) Which I thought was SO cool, I wish I took that class as a child and that I taught it now, however I teach 3-6 year old children and I have no intention of ever taking them camping. ever.
Once we passed Marcy Dam, we began to gain quite a bit of elevation as we made our way to Uphill Lean To . We stopped at the lean-to and had a nice break, resting for the final push for the two summits. We decided to do Cliff first, which was a very muddy trail. There were some great scrambles, all easily navigated.
Just around noon we arrived on the summit of Cliff Mountain. We sat for a few minutes, enjoyed a snack and took our photos. A pair came up quickly behind us, the man was on his second round of his 46 and would complete his when he made it over to Redfield.
With another mountain still to climb, we didn't hang around for too long. Descending Cliff was quick and we were heading up the other part of the fork towards the summit of Redfield. We were all unaware that Redfield is actually the 15th highest peak. Mentally we were all ready to reach the summit, which tortured us as we made our way.
We did hear one lone rumble of thunder, which made us alert, but kept going.. We passed some interesting folks, that made me a bit nervous, and for the second time this month, I was glad I wasn't hiking alone. After our long steady walk up, we arrived at the summit of Mount Redfield. We enjoyed more snacks and a few pictures before we remembered (again) that we still had lots of miles between us and our cars, an many many miles between our cars and our homes.
Another lovely break Uphill Lean-to for yet more snacks (eating was important throughout the day), happened as we made our way out. The trail seemed quite quick all the way to Calamity Pond, after that, I think someone moved the parking lot further away. We were racing daylight but making good time. Throughout the day, the weather had been humid, so we weren't surprised when it started to rain. It felt refreshing, so none of us bothered to put on our rain gear. Out of nowhere, the clouds opened up and poured. The amount of rain was something I had been able to avoid for 45 mountains I have climbed. Rain was pouring into my boots, which actually felt quite nice since it was like floating ice packs in my shoes. I completely stopped trying to avoid mud and puddles and fully embraced them.
Headlamps came on with about 20 minutes left and the reflections of cars was one of the best sights of the night. Only second to the reflection of the deer eyes we saw while walking in the dark with headlamps.
It was still raining so we said our goodbyes quickly and I climbed into the back seat of my car to change into the dry clothes I had luckily packed. I was able to pour water out of my boot and everything I touched was completely saturated.
With dry clothes on, I tore out of upper works, dreaming of my left over mac & cheese from Druthers. The rain hadn't let up in the slightest and fog was also an issue, just as I was reaching the northway I pulled over because I couldn't see anything. It did clear, but it was the hardest drive I've done on this stretch of New York.
With just one peak left, it made all the hard work of the day completely worth it.
Cliff Mountain (Ranked 44th at 3960)
Mount Redfield (Ranked 15th at 4606)
Dueter Backpack, hydroflask waterbottles (40oz, & 32 oz) Asolo boots, oiselle shorts, and smartwool ski socks