I have to admit, I’m not the best at putting up timely trip reports or content. “No kidding” I’m sure you’re saying to yourself… if you’re reading this. Truth is, this isn’t my bread and butter. Heck, I’m still trying to figure out my audience! Travelers that hike? Or hikers that travel? Or just my kids? Ah, I guess bloggers think about this sometimes. Blogger… I don’t feel like a blogger. Well, on to the blog about a trip from the past! BTW, they’ll be a few like this 😉
Waaayyyyy back in September of 2020 Darcy, me, and Rae along with our pup Blue headed up to the High Peaks of NY to add some peaks to Rachael’s list of 46er’s. We were up at the crack of dawn and got to the ADK LOJ parking lot at just about 4:45am, only to realize that the lot was full already! They were sending cars down the road to park so we dropped our gear and Blue, Rae, (Blu-Ray! HA!) and Darcy stepped out while I found a spot… over a mile away. Pretty sure two. I parked and walked/jogged back to the parking lot already tired. We finished getting ready, then headed into the trail after signing the register. It looked to be a nice day but busy.
The trail to Algonquin, Iroquois, and Wright (and numerous other 46er’s) follows the Van Hoevenberg Trail for a short while through some nice, peaceful woods and over a neat little wooden bridge. Eventually you’ll get to a signed intersection pointing to the right for A-I-W, so off we went at a pretty good pace. Blue was happy to be out, but this was going to be her longest day in the woods, by far!
Soon the trail gets more difficult as the rocks, roots, and elevation start to gang up on you, and we began to come up on more people as we climbed rocks and traversed the tight areas of the trail. The air was getting a bit cooler as we got to the intersection for Wright, and we made our way through a fairly big group that was resting here. Up the steep ascent of Algonquin!
Blue was made for this, walking right up the exposed rock areas as the 3 of us bipeds used our poles and trees to pull ourselves along. It’s quite a leg burner! Eventually the trail twists and turns you out onto the exposed face of Algonquin, the second tallest mountain in New York. Just a bit further up, following huge cairns that point the way, is the summit and great views in all directions. Today there were lots of people enjoying the beautiful blue skies and views as we were. We congratulated Rae on another peak, and then found a little place to get comfortable just below the summit. The wind was whipping and cool so hunkering down in the rocks helped.
Rae, Darcy, and Blue were ready to move on, but at this point I opted for a nap. I’d done the peaks before as Darcy had, but knee pain and a nap asked me to stay behind for this one, so nap I did. I also had a nice chat with the summit steward. Summit stewards are volunteers that hike up these mountains to help educated hikers on proper trail use and Leave No Trace principals. If you ever meet one up there, let ’em know they’re doing good work… important work!
After my nap I noticed the ladies coming back so I walked a short ways to meet them. We sat down for a bit and Blue got the scare of her life when a huge bird, hovering in the strong wind, let out a call and got a little to close. She started barking and backing into the rocks to get as small as possible, and the rest of us just started laughing at her! “It’s a Pterodactyl, Blue! Run for your life!” Poor pup, we’re not nice! 😀
We gathered ourselves up and said goodbye to the scary bird and summit of Algonquin, then headed down to the intersection with Wright. I had already made up my mind I was going to keep going down, and figured I would take Blue as well. She’d summited two high peaks and seemed a bit slower, although I’m sure she would have been fine with a third. Darcy and Rae headed up to summit Wright while Blue and I waited for a bit, then headed back down. Soon we found a nice little area to sit and sure enough, she laid down and crashed into a nice, deep nap. I put my head against a tree and just sat there petting her as more people came up the trail.
We finally got the energy to get up and started heading down the trial, in no hurry as we were expecting Darcy and Rae to catch up soon. I guess we were moving pretty good though, because we soon got back to the parking lot without seeing them. I made a beeline for the snack bar and ordered a hotdog for myself and a burger for Blue, and we found a nice bench to sit while we gobbled down our food. Blue laid down again while I kept a look out for the others in our pack. My knee was getting tighter and sore, but sitting was better than walking at this point.
Within 10 minutes Rae and Darcy came out of the woods, having summited the three mountains they came to get. The day was gorgeous and the crowds at the LOJ were evidence of that, that’s for sure. We were done, though! Well, not really. The car was still over a mile away! Darcy offered to go get it so Rae, Blue, and I sat down nearby and waited for that wonderful, soft seat to sit on. And of course, the ride to Stewart’s for CHICKEN BACON RANCH PIZZA!
Algonquin, Iroquois, and Wright are part of the McIntyre Range (with Mount Marshall being the fourth). From the LOJ, it’s about 10.5 miles round trip (not including the walk to the car!) and 4,370 feet of elevation gain. It’s not an easy hike and you should plan for the day, with food and water and some layers. Even in summer the winds on these peaks, specifically Wright, can be high and cold!