I spent the weekend in New York State and decided to drive up into the Adirondacks. I went to Lake Placid, where I spent the night, and then, last Sunday, I hiked Mt. Algonquin, the second highest peak in New York (5114 feet). The highest is Mt. Marcy (5344 feet).
Here is my route (click to enlarge):
After a hike seemingly straight up the mountain:
Here I am on the top. The girl that took my picture cut off my feet and put in lots of sky space above me. This is cropped as well as I could.
The white speck on the very left side of the image, next to my right elbow, is the 1980 Olympic arena in Lake Placid – remember Eric Heiden?
Speaking of Heiden, after winning 5 Gold Medals in Lake Placid, he went on to becoming a world-class bicyle racer, competing in the Tour de France in 1986. In 1989 he became a medical doctor, and today he practices as a renowned orthopedic surgeon. But I digress.
(click to enlarge) The trail was extremely steep, rocky and often wet. This was definitely class 4 hiking (need arms). The picture shows a section of trail looking down. It does not look so scary in the picture, since the camera is pointed down, making it appear not as steep as it was.
I was constantly panicked about twisting my ankle or breaking a leg. I once sprained my ankle at home and I could barely make it from the bed to the bathroom. How was I going to get down a mountain on a trail over 3 miles long with such an injury? But with my bad knees, I had no choice but to pick my way down slowly, with countless other hikers, young French-Canadian teenagers to old guys like me, passing me.
Every time I am on a mountain and my knees hurt excruciatingly going down, I wonder why I don’t pick up another sport, like paragliding or sailing, that is not as painful.
Interestingly, an elevation of 5000 feet is where most hikes in California or Colorado begin. In New York, a mountain of 5000 feet (there are only two) is a Mountain with a capital “M”. This was one of the hardest hikes I have done in years, and as I write this, my legs, knees and feet still hurt.
On the way back I noticed the ski jump structures. These things are huge. Here is a quick picture from the road.
Finally, if you want to know much, much more about hiking the High Peaks in the Adirondacks, the Friar is doing a much better job than I.