After almost 2 months of visiting family and friends with frequent venue changes we were looking forward to some quiet time in the amazing solitude of the lakes, rivers and mountains of the High Peaks Region of the Adirondacks.  Wrong!  There is way too much to see and do here: paddling rivers and lakes, fly fishing, mountain biking, beautiful drives, and fantastic hiking.  I felt like a "kid in a candy shop" and couldn't wait to get the fun started.
An view into the high peaks.

     Our first adventure was a road trip into Lake Placid, a cute but super crowded tourist town. Situated on Lake Placid and Mirror Lake, the town was the home of the 1980 Winter Olympics.  A lot of the Olympic facilities still exist, so viewing athletes in training as well as watching competitions seemed to be a daily offering.
     Our campground in Wilmington, NY bordered on a mountain bike trail system.  One day off I went without any clue where the trails went and, invariably, I went the wrong way as my selected trail ascended a moderate grade for several grueling miles.  After miles upon miles of gasping for air, long stops to catch my wind, and several extended walks up the steeper sections, I finally made it to the top. Whew!!!  It turned out that the trail was called "The Poor Man's Downhill" and was designed to be descended.  At any rate, it sure was fun riding the trail in the correct direction, back downhill.
A view of the Adirondacks.

     The Adirondack's have 46 peaks in excess of 4,000 feet and most are fairly steep ascents of 2,000 to 4,000 feet.  In addition, any hiking in the Northeast usually involves trails full of mud, slippery roots, loose cobble, boulders and long steep stretches of wet, slick granite, with no switchbacks; so climbing the mountains can be quit vexing.  "Challenge accepted!"
This struck me as weird.  At the start of my hike to Algonquin
Mountain's summit there was a pile of rocks with a sign asking hikers to carry a
rock to the summit.  The pile in this photo is near the summit and
the sign asked us to deposit our rocks onto the pile.  The rocks are used
to create mini walls along the summit trails to remind people to
stay on the granite rock trails rather than the vegetation.

     My first peak was Giant Mountain, a 4,627' mountain with a 3,000' climb over 3 miles and the 12th highest peak in the Adirondacks.  It seemed like a short hike, so off I went.  The problem was that when I climb a mountain I tend to look down, so I walked right past an important trail junction. It took me a mile to figure out my mistake, so after an error correction totaling 2 miles, I was back on course. The mountaintop featured a beautiful 180+ degree view into the high peaks region and was well worth the effort.
The view from Giant Mountain.

     My favorite hike was a 10.5 mile gem ascending 6 peaks over 4,000 feet.  Since this was an out-and-back trek I had to return over the same mountains twice.  Therefore, I only bagged 3 more peaks on the "Adirondack 46" list--Algonquin, Iriquois and Wright.  At 5,114' feet Algonquin ranks as the second highest peak in the Adirondacks and features a 360 degree view of the high peaks region as well as Lake Placid.  This was a long day hike with a lot of elevation gain and loss over rough trails, but I felt pretty good at the end of the day.
Mount Marcy is
the tall one in the background.

Algonquin Mountain as viewed from Wright Mountain.

     One day Nancy and I headed out on a road trip.  We elected to travel on the back roads and had them all to ourself.  We discovered several beautiful lakes and rivers all in the shadows of the high peaks.
We discovered a rugby tournament on
our drive through Saranac Lake, NY.
     Our favorite drive was up Whiteface Mountain.  At 4,867 ' it is the 5th highest mountain in the Adirondacks.  At the top is a cool castle and a 360 degree vista of Lake Placid and the heart of the high peaks, including Mount Marcy the highest summit in New York at 5,344 feet.  A cool thing for me was that I was able to see the route and all the peaks from my trek the day before.
The high peaks from Whiteface Mountain.
Marcy is the tall one on the left.
Wright, Algonquin, Boundry & Iriquois
are the chain of peaks on the right which
I hiked the day before.  

Nancy at the top of Whiteface Mountain.
Lake Placid is in the background.

     The area is full of great restaurants and we found an excellent one perched above a waterfall as the water cascaded into a narrow chasm.  We were so mesmerized with the location that our dinner took over 3 hours as we sat on the outside deck and watched the river flow by.
The river as it enters the falls and chasm
below R.F. McDougall's Pub.

     We hated leaving the Adirondacks as there was so much to do that I could have stayed the entire season.  As we were leaving Nancy and I commented that we both forgot how beautiful it is in upstate New York and New England.  I guess we became so enthralled with the mountains and deserts of the west that the beauty of the Northeast seemed to slip away from our memories.  We loved the Adirondacks so much that we may return in September to bag a few more peaks in "leaf" season.



  1. Wow, spectacular views. Love to you both!

  2. We have never been there but the views are absolutely beautiful!

  3. Great blog! We've loved every minute we've spent in the Adirondacks.


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