As I said on my last blog post, Leesa and I had our Christmas with family on December 23rd, so the 24th and 25th became hiking days! Today we wanted to climb Porter Mountain from the Garden in Keene Valley (a new trail for us). If all went well, we would continue on to Cascade Mountain.
We didn't get a very early start today. We reached the Garden at 9:30. We were the only car there! Unbelievable, even for Christmas Day. There were some cars parked at other areas...3 at Roaring Brook, 4 at the Ausable Club parking area, but we were the only ones at the Garden. Usually we are looking at a full parking lot.
I expected we would be breaking trail and that it would be no small task. Once again, the first mile was easy with just 1-3 inches on the ground. We bare booted the first mile. At the old shed building shown below, we put on our snowshoes.
|An impressively built old wood shed? along the way|
It was a pretty day out. I wasn't expecting full sun and blue sky, but that is what we got. It was in the mid 20's with no wind.
|A nice plaque honoring Jim Goodwin|
Thank you Jim Goodwin for all you did for the Adirondacks (and the Goodwin family continues to do).
As we approached Little Porter Mountain, the snow on the ground went from 4" to a foot almost instantaneously. I had not been on Little Porter before, and it has great views.... the Great Range, Big Slide, Noonmark, Round, Giant & RPR can all be seen.
As we stepped onto the summit of Little Porter, there was a bank of clouds to the south and we couldn't see much in that direction. It quickly lifted, and within 5 minutes we could see in all directions! Pretty amazing change.
|Signage at Little Porter|
Once we left Little Porter Mountain we travelled a short way before we ran into 2 different spots where we couldn't follow the trail and each time spent 15 minutes or so scouting for a trail marker. The snow was now a foot deep and there were no tracks or traces of the trail. Each time we eventually found the trail, but we lost some time.
At about 3300' we decided to call it quits. The sun was hitting the south side of Porter where we were and softening the snow so it was getting heavy to break trail. It was easy to go back down following in our tracks, but it would have been a tough haul to climb the last mile to Porter. We'll save it for another day.
If you haven't been to Little Porter, it's worth a look. That view made our day. I was fun plodding through the snow too. We really didn't mind getting turned back shy of our goal of Porter Mountain. There's always another hike.
|Looking up at Little Porter on our way down|
|This shows our progress... and what was left|
|Our route as shown on National Geographic TOPO|
Hike Distance: 5.2 miles
Hike Time: 4.5 hours
Elevation Gain: ~ 2200 feet