Number 2 on the ADK High Peaks list, Algonquin Peak is a hike to remember.
As everyone who has ever been to, lived in or is aware of the beauty of upstate NY during Fall when the foliage paints a mosaic across the landscapes of the Adirondacks, Catskills, Hudson Valley, Finger Lakes and other beautiful regions of our great state, I was quite excited to get up to the summit of the number 2 peak in NY. What I didn’t quite expect, whether ignorantly or not, was the fact that I’d experience two seasons in one climb. It was October 13th and the temperature at the base of Algonquin was about 38-40 degrees F. Not too bad, but a little chilly. As we made our way up the trail from the base, the chilly temps felt great mixed with the warming up of the physical activity required on the hike. I did Algonquin with my parents and their dog, Mac.
Direction to the main Algonquin trailhead are relatively easy. Head through Keene, left on 73 when you hit the Y in the road near Dartbrook Rustic Goods at the end of town (from south going north). You’ll travel a little over 13 miles until you reach Adirondack Loj Road. Take that road down all the way to the main parking lots ($10 fee) for the hiker trailheads, where hikers can hit a handful of different peaks including Marcy, Wright, others. The Loj actually is very nice and is a bit of a warming hut for hikers. They do offer rentals on boot trax for the icy/snowy days, merchandise and food/drink. To my surprise, the whiteboard which includes details about the weather, sunrise/sunset, indicated an 8 degree F summit temp with 19-30 degree winds. IN all honesty, we were not dressed for the occasion.
The hike itself is about 8 miles round trip, with some really great terrain. The beginning mile and a half or so is relatively easy/moderate, with not a whole lot of incline. It starts to get pretty intense after hitting a waterfall area, which I’d say just off of guessing is about the two mile mark. The incline increases, trail becomes much rockier, includes several rock slide areas, and on this particular day, the beautiful fall foliage turned into a winter wonderland in a turn of the head. Before we knew it we were hiking through snow squalls and about 3 inches on the ground. Mac was fine, but after getting to the last stretch before the summit, he had to hold off and my Dad and I finished off the hike through what felt like blizzard like, tundra conditions. It must have been 10-20 below with windchill factored in. Unfortunately the top on this day was so wintry, there was zero view as it was completely cloudy/snowy. We stayed at the summit for about all of 30 seconds before trekking down through the snow and ice.
Hikers can hit Wright and knock out two 46ers in one day if they time it correctly. Unfortunately for us it was already a little on the dark side by the time we reached the trailhead for Wright and we didn’t want to test the weather/timing considering the conditions. I’ll be sure to try and knock this out next Spring.
Our trip was another success in the High Peaks region. It felt good to knock off number 2 highest peak in NY in some tough conditions. And luckily, we were able to catch some great photos at the cloud-breaking points, where hikers witnessed two seasons in one. Great day in the Adirondacks and another successful, enjoyable hike in the High Peaks.
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