I’ve only two done high peaks trips in the Adirondacks so far, but I was able to double my number of finished peaks on the second one, from two to four, and the plan was to more than double them again today with five new peaks in the Dix Range. We drove up last night to the Elk Lake trailhead and slept in the back of the truck so we could get an early start in the morning.
We were hiking at 6am up the Dix Trail to Slide Brook. We took advantage of the privy at the campsite, then found the cairn marking the unmaintained trail up Slide Brook. We’d be on “unmaintained” trails for most of the day, but in this instance that just means unmaintained by DEC. Apparently volunteers from the Adirondack Forty-Sixers do maintain the trails on this range.
It was steep going, but decent trail. We started to get a view of the peak we were going up, and then we came to the slide. The slide was very steep and very loose, but it did have great views whenever I paused to turn around. We mostly went up the right side of it, which seemed to offer a little less exposure.
Once at the top of the slide, it didn’t take long to reach the summit of Macomb Mountain at 4405′. There was another group just leaving but they offered to take our photos first. Once that was done, we put a layer back on to keep warm in the wind, and sat and enjoyed a second breakfast.
From there, the trail descended into a col, then started ascending again on some open rocks up to South Dix’s summit at 4060′. It was a beautiful morning to check out the scenery.
We caught up to the same group again so while they took a break at South Dix, we continued on the wooded path to Grace Peak at 4012′. It was mostly an easy ridgeline walk out. We enjoyed more open views from the rocks there before two other groups showed up and we headed back to South Dix.
We took a brief break at South Dix for more food and then backtracked a little bit and found the little cairn marking the path over to Hough Peak. There was a seemingly unnecessary smaller peak on that ridge, which we climbed and then descended again before beginning the steep climb up Hough.
Some views along the way had shown us the rest of the ups and downs we’d be doing to get just one more peak, so we took another food break at the summit of Hough Peak at 4400′. From there, it was very steep down, but also some climb-y ups. I got stuck at the bottom of two slanted rock slabs with a narrow space between them for a bit, before finding tiny finger holds and inching my way up.
Once we reached the Beckhorn, a lesser peak of Dix, we could see the summit just ahead. The wind was kicking up on the open walk over, but we still stopped for more snacks at the summit of Dix Mountain at 4857′.
Although we’d been making good time most of the day, we wanted to get down at a decent hour, so we didn’t sit for too long. Back over to the Beckhorn we went, and then began a pretty straight down climb on “maintained” trail. It wasn’t quite so steep once we got back into the woods and off the giant rocks and we eventually made it back to the Dix Trail heading out to the trailhead. I had been expecting the next couple of miles to be completely flat, so my tired legs weren’t a fan of the little ups and downs along the way, but once past Slide Brook, it was a very easy stroll out to the truck.
We made it out around 6pm after 15.2 miles, five high peaks, and 4700′ of elevation gain (and loss). Nine high peaks down, 37 to go!
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