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Nickname earned?

>> Monday, October 12, 2009

First, a few words to explain this Blog's title.

Like so many kids, I went to various summer camps.  I hated most of them.  It's unbelievable how breath-stoppingly, toe-blackeningly cold a deep lake can be at 7 a.m.  But I did spend one fabulous summer camp week at a local nature center, where a dozen kids and three cool counselors spent the week scrambling up trees, catching critters, canoeing, and slogging through a swamp with hip waders, a compass and a map.  There were no swimming lessons involved. 

It was My Paradise.

By the end of the week, my fearlessness with regard to all things slimy, damp and woodsy earned me the nickname "Woodswoman Extraordinaire".  I'm still attempting to live up to the nickname.

The latest attempt?  An ankle bruising, gale buffeted, deep mud squishing, dog-encumbered, yet weirdly exhilarating scramble up to the top of two of the Adirondack High Peaks.  Why?  My insane husband and even insaner self are on a quest to become 46ers.  Yes, we want to join the ranks of the wacky people who have climbed all 46 Adirondack High Peaks that are over 4000' feet. 

So, on Sunday we loaded our Basset Hounds, Simon and Lucy, into the car, drove 4 hours, and made our way through the throngs and mud to the summits of Cascade and Porter. 

Spouse and kids carefully contemplating next move:

Cascade is one of the most popular high peaks to climb, and it certainly showed.  We were loaded down with our usual day-packs filled with the survival gear that is necessary when climbing the High Peaks.  Weather that high up is unpredictable.  Yet we passed one young woman climbing in a mini skirt, hosiery, dress boots, a dry-clean only wool dress coat, and chain smoking.  And another wind-chapped shivering child of about 18 was wearing shorts (shorts!  It was 40 degrees at the start of the trail!  There was snow up there!  And winds that were threatening to sweep us off the mountain!), a cotton sweatshirt, and white sneakers.  Ha.  They started out white, anyway.

If Lucy looked like that 1/2 way up, just imagine how those white sneakers fared.

But I digress.

The trail is the same for both most of the way up, then there is a split near the top of Cascade that takes you over to Porter.  Comparatively speaking, Porter was anticlimactic.  Me with the kids on Porter:

Nice views, but not heart stopping.  And cold as heck.  So we scrambled and waded back off Porter and over to the trail up Cascade.  Which looks like this and gets a lot steeper: 

The views were breathtaking.  Staggering beauty. 

Too bad all the celestial, misty radiance was actually snow making its way toward us, but what's a little October chill in exchange for an adrenaline rush and some great photos?  All of us at the top of Cascade:

Well, sort of at the top.  This was after we'd touched the little brass ring that marks the summit, and scooted around the leeward side of a sheltering rock so we didn't get blown back off the summit.

All-in-all, the greatest thing we took away from this climb (peaks 2 and 3) was our dumbstruck admiration for our two lumpy Basset Hounds who enthusiastically scaled two high peaks in one day on what?  6 inch legs?  They were slow but amazing.  And they're currently running around the house like maniacs less than 24 hours after we returned, so clearly we did not wear them out.

Never, ever believe someone who tells you Basset Hounds are lazy couch potatoes.


b. October 13, 2009 at 8:22 AM  

Yippee! A way for me to enjoy nature without actually having to EXPERIENCE it. I'm all about armchair exploration these days :) Sigh...I miss having a blog. One of these days I should resurrect mine, or start anew.

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