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View Full Version : Dix via Round Pond - 5/8/04



WalksWithBlackflies
05-13-2004, 12:17 PM
Last May, I was part of a trail maintenance crew that cleared blowdown along this trail. I had a good time, and it felt good to actually give something back to the mountains… so I decided I’d do it again this year.

I had a project in Albany on Friday, after which I would head up to the Adirondacks for the weekend. As luck would have it, my project was only about 3 blocks away from Karen and Chris’ house, so I planned on stopping by for a drink and dinner. On my way, I bought a liter bottle of Ommegang Three Philosophers beer (A deep burgundian brew bursting with sweet malt and dark cherry. The perfect marriage of flavor is achieved by blending a delicious cherry lambic with rich Belgian-style ale. Crafted with wisdom and patience, this brew will help unlock the secrets of the universe). Unlock the secrets of the universe it did not, but it was good. After dinner (and the obligatory manual labor I was “volunteered” for), I followed Chris’ directions out of Albany to the Northway (I-87). I was now well on my way. Fifteen minutes later, I passed a sign for “Route 5 East – Albany”. What the ?!?! Somehow, I had gotten onto I-87 SOUTH… but had no idea how I got turned around. The only logical conclusion is that aliens abducted me, and then accidentally placed me back on the wrong side of the highway.

Anywho, I got back on the Northway in the right direction, and the remainder of the drive was uneventful. Reached the trailhead at about 11:00. Due to my late arrival and the cool temperatures (20-30º F), I contemplated sleeping in the car and meeting the trail crew early in the morning versus hiking the 4.2 miles to the lean-to and sleeping-in. Since I drove my Camaro (not really designed for overnighters), I reclined my seat back to see if it would be remotely comfortable. It was, but as I looked at all the stars through the T-tops, I realized it would be a great night for a hike… so armed with a bowsaw, I hit the trail at 11:30. Since my the light from my headlamp doesn’t provide the amount of light necessary for depth perception, some of the rocky sections of the trail were annoying, but manageable. A few minutes later, I reached the pond. The moon rising over the mountains was reflected in the pond as I walked along the northern shoreline. I began running into some sporadic blowdown as the trail began its ascent away from the pond. I learned something that night… yellow birch is very dense wood, and takes a long time to cut with a bowsaw. The moon kept peeking over various mountains on my way to the lean-to, which I reached at 2:30. I hung my food in a bear-bag, and was in my sleeping bag at 2:45. I was sound asleep by 2:46.

I had planned on waking up at 9:00 so that I could make a guard for my saw blade before the trail crew reached the lean-to. Instead, I was stirred from my slumber by Pete Hickey’s wake-up yell at 9:45, followed by the subsequent laughter of the remainder of the trail-clearing crew (Jean-Rene, Fannie, Mario, Julie, Kanji, Suzy, and Curt). By 10:00, I had packed and we were on the way to the slide. Again, there was some sporadic blowdown, but nothing out of the ordinary. Upon reaching the bottom of the slide, I filled up my water bottle, ate some breakfast, and took a few pictures (see attached).

The section of the trail that parallels the slide is unrelentingly steep. We started to see some snow and ice on the trail, but nothing that required snowshoes or crampons. Once at the junction with the trail from Hunter’s Pass, the trail levels-off a bit, but is still a constant 20% grade to the summit. At each viewpoint, more and more mountains appeared on the horizon until we reached the summit’s 360º panorama.

While on top, I took some pictures and movies with my camera while others ate lunch. I had to be extra cautious on the descent since I had an exposed saw blade, so I left with the first group (Kanji and Suzy) off the summit. The descent was really slow going due to the loose rocks and ice/snow. The base of the slide was a welcome sight. I decided to eat lunch while waiting for the remainder of the group.

The walk back to the lean-to was uneventful. Curt and I were the last to leave the lean-to. He was walking slow due to blisters on the back of his heel, and I was in no hurry with the weight of my pack beginning to wear on my unconditioned knees. The longest 1.9 miles in the Adirondacks is the section of trail from the lean-to to the junction with the trail to St. Hubert’s. I swear this section of trail was measured incorrectly. The 2.3 miles from this trail junction to the trailhead, though uneventful, was filled with good conversation… and seemed substantially shorter than the previous section. Found out that my firm does a good deal of work for Curt… small world. Signed-out at around 5:00, and picked up my traditional coffee milk shake at the Noonmark Diner for the long ride home. Damn straw had a couple of holes in it (at the bendy part), so I had to drink it like I was playing a flute. :mad: Made it fun while trying to steer and shift.

WalksWithBlackflies
05-13-2004, 03:28 PM
Oh yeah... no cramps on this hike :)

lumberzac
05-13-2004, 03:32 PM
Rico,
What did the other peaks in the range look like condition wise? I may be heading up there in a few weeks.

WalksWithBlackflies
05-14-2004, 07:47 AM
No snow on any of the peaks. Don't know about the cols since I couldn't see them. Didn't see any areas of widespread blowdown. I took a video of the panorama... PM me with your e-mail and I send it.