Cascade and Porter Mountain via Cascade Trailhead
My trail-mate and their trusty 4 legged companion Lola (a chubby strong mutt) entered the parking areas along route 73 roughly around 9am to see them almost already filled, despite weather reports anticipating high heat and humidity (bugs!). Cascade is widely considered the easiest and most popular high peaks and is riddled with remnants of hikers looking for that perfect Instagram. Words of wisdom when it comes to hiking mountains, no matter how easy some say it is, it is still labeled a mountain, where life and limb are at risk around every bend and switchback.
A quick anecdote to acclimate you to Lola, who has passed my rigorous hiking parter exam. On the way down we stumbled upon a group of hikers with a husky of their own, and once I gained contact with their leader, she muttered to her group "she looks strong." Due to my descending ear capacity I thought she said "boy he's strong" obviously talking about me, I mean who else could she be? Lola may be small, but she is fierce and not to be messed with, a true trail dog in and out.
At the top high winds were an absolute delight. The numerous groups of people and families with young children scattered behind large boulders while Lola drooled over my beef jerky as we sat on the ledge enjoying the scenery. The winds were so strong and consistent that you could noticeably feel less oxygen every time you breathed in. One hiker even brought up there small Dotson who rolled over through the famous Cascade mountain puddle that is continuously filled throughout the summer season.
The Cascade trail primarily consists of a rocky dried up stream, challenging your ankles, knees, and hips. The trail is fairly easy and consistent up until the last tenth of the mile where the bald peak becomes visible and the real fun begins. 3/4 of the way up you'll encounter the Porter Mountain trail fork.
On the way back from Cascade we turned to finish off the second Peak of the day. Unless you're going for all 46 high peaks most people will skip this since the view isn't worth the extra exercise. It's about another 45 mins to an hour round-trip off of Cascade. However for us it was quite the thrill, Lola wreathed and rolled through the muddied trail with a smile only a mother could love. She yanked her owner along narrowly avoiding several slipper disasters.
All in all a good but somewhat boring hike in my opinion, at least when you compare it to other high peaks I've done. Words of wisdom, just make sure you get there early and knock this out quickly, there are far better hikes along the path to becoming an ADK 46er.