Kelly was working in Lake Placid again so I went over to meet her for a hike. Why not start another list? To become an Adirondack 46er, you need to hike the 46 peaks over 4,000′. We decided to start me off with Cascade and Porter, not far from town. We met at the same trailhead on Route 73 for Pitchoff Mountain so there was much talk of how this hike wasn’t going to turn into a hot mess like that one had.
The trail started out climbing easily through fairly open woods. It was packed down enough for spikes so our snowshoes were strapped to our packs as we ascended. As the trail became steeper, the trees became denser, but there were a few spots to peek through them along the way.
It had been completely cloudy when we started, but the clouds were starting to blow over and more and more blue sky appeared as we got higher. Perfect timing!
We stopped for a snack break at the junction out to Cascade’s summit. We could feel the strong wind pushing through the trees occasionally, once knocking a ton of snow onto my head/back right after I had lifted my hard shell’s hood up. Close one! It was a short hike out to the open summit from there.
The wind was really strong. As we ascended the summit cone, Kelly didn’t like how much the wind was pushing her on one narrow spot, so she turned to go back into the trees. I thought I could see the summit (false) and I was comfortable leaning into the wind and trusting my microspikes so I kept going.
It turned out the summit of Cascade Mountain at 4098′ was slightly farther up than I thought it was, but I kept going. Once there, I knelt down to get a more stable stance and take a few photos, but it was pretty difficult and I just aimed wildly around before putting my camera away and walking leaned over back the way I’d come.
I was ready to get back into the trees, but I always find super windy summits like that exhilarating. My face was apparently really red, but I was warm enough. One of my favorite parts of being in exposed strong wind is at once how loud and how quiet it is. The white noise of the wind, especially on a hard shell, blocks everything out. But I can hear my breathing so loud in the blank space left behind. It’s an interesting soundtrack for gazing at the surrounding snow-covered peaks.
We went back to the junction and turned to continue to Porter Mountain. The trail wasn’t quite as packed here, but we weren’t quite postholing either. A few spots in the saddle had deeper drifts of loose snow that we plowed through, eventually making it to the summit of Porter Mountain at 4059′. This summit was protected by trees which let us enjoy the view without being blown over.
From Porter, we went back down the way we’d arrived, climbing up slightly from a saddle, and then it was all downhill back to the trailhead.
It really warmed up as we descended so we kept stopping to shed layers. The hike was only 6.2 miles but we made great time and then headed into town for some food. It was way better than our experience on Pitchoff.