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Hikers find snow atop some High Peaks

October 14, 2016
By ANTONIO OLIVERO - Staff Writer ( , Lake Placid News

KEENE - Hiking traffic at the High Peak's most popular trails appears to have been down a bit for this Columbus Day and Canadian Thanksgiving weekend compared to Labor Day weekend's massive crowds.

At the Cascade and Porter mountains trailheads on state Route 73 located about 7 miles from Lake Placid, 17 pages of register sign-in sheets were filled out between Sunday and Monday, Oct. 9 and 10. Estimating an average of three people per hiking group, that would mean about 1,020 people hiked the trail after signing into the register Sunday and Monday. Register numbers were not available for Friday or Saturday.

Those numbers compare with the estimated 1,500 hikers Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK) summit stewards said they spoke with atop Cascade over Labor Day Weekend.

Article Photos

Stephanie Branch of Plattsburgh kneels amongst the snowy and icy conditions near the summit of Mount Marcy Monday, Oct. 10.
(Photo provided — Stephanie Branch)

Over at the Adirondak Loj, it's estimated about 420 people signed into the Loj register Monday, 900 signed into the register Sunday, 810 signed into the register Saturday and 480 signed in Friday. On Labor Day, ADK summit stewards said they counted about 1,500 people total atop Mount Marcy, Algonquin Peak and Wright Peak, the three most popular High Peaks from the Adirondak Loj trail register, which is a popular starting place for many more mountains in the area.

Numerous hikers who signed out of the Loj register Monday evening said the trails and mountains were busy, but not as crowded as they expected them to be. Numerous people said Mount Marcy, the state's highest point at 5,344 feet and a 7.5-mile hike from the Loj, had at the most 20 people at its spread out summit shortly after noon Monday.

The bigger takeaway for hikers was the cold and icy conditions of the trails near the summits of Mount Marcy and Algonquin Peak, as snow and ice remained on the ground and on vegetation throughout the clear and sunny day.

"(Spikes) would have been helpful," said Stephanie Branch of Plattsburgh. "We were out hiking yesterday Street and Nye mountains and there was no ice, it was beautiful. We were hiking in T-shirts. Today it was totally different, but beautiful."

"We were going to do Gray and Skylight," said Mary Hennop of Plattsburgh, "We got both colors and snow. When we reached the summit at about 12:15 p.m. and there were about 20 people, the largest size group was eight people."

Mark and Michelle Nowak of Newburgh, New York said visibility while hiking Monday was the best they'd ever seen, as about a dozen people were atop Marcy's summit at 1 p.m. Sunday, a cold breeze still in the air. Monday's pristine conditions followed a cloudy Sunday and at times wet Saturday, which may have affected the number of hikers in the region.

Mike Hartz of Buffalo hiked out to Avalanche Lake Monday afternoon and said he saw eight people there, a smaller crowd than he expected.

Over at Cascade Mountain, Jason Leon, a Lake Placid Elementary School teacher and trustee on the village board, hiked the mountain to see the sunrise Monday morning and six other people were at the summit at that time. He described the view at the summit at around 6 a.m. as one of the most amazing hiking experiences he's ever had as the early season frost from the High Peaks made its way to Cascade.

"The snow was like glitter, the clouds kept coming from the north side and dipping down in between us and the sunrise, then they'd kind of swirl around and leave with a gust of wind," he said. "You'd see these sparkles."

Leon did say the waste disposal situation near the top of the Cascade and Porter mountain trail was unexpected and unsightly. He said it looked as if Saturday and Sunday were busy on the trail as there was enough toilet paper in one spot near the top of the trail to make it "look like a porta porty had spilled over.

"It seems as if there is a spot off to the side where people generally do it," he said. "You can tell with higher traffic. I was a little taken back."



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