World-Class Hiking Experience at Adirondack High Peaks

Adirondack Park located in Upstate New York offers one of the finest hiking experience in North America. For those who leave in nearby big ...

Adirondack Park located in Upstate New York offers one of the finest hiking experience in North America. For those who leave in nearby big cities - Boston, Montreal, New York, Ottawa, Albany and Toronto - it's literally a backyard. Yet the Adirondack Mountains is the real challenge with steep and strenuous summits, active bears and fairy unpredictable weather.

Adirondack Mountains are not as tall as the mountains in Western North America (such as Sierra Nevada and Rockies), however the prominence (the elevation difference between the toe and the top of a mountain) for some of its most famous peaks is fascinating. 
For instance, the fifth highest peak in the Adirondacks - Whiteface Mountain - is only 4,867 ft / 1,483 m tall, but it has the greatest vertical drop in the East leaving the White Mountains in New Hampshire and the rest of Appalachian mountain ranges behind.
Adirondack High Peaks is the compound name of the 46 summits in Adirondack Mountains over 4,000 ft / 1,219 m tall. They are mostly located south of Lake Placid, NY where two Olympic Games took place - in 1932 and 1980.
For our 2-day backpacking overnight trip we picked the Keene Valley section. We didn't have any particular route in mind, although I wanted to summit at least one of the high peaks and enjoy the view from the top.
There are quite a few parking lots along NY Route 73 in Keene Valley, but they all get packed on summer weekends, so plan accordingly. The lot we chose was adjacent to the private club, and in order to get to the trailhead, you would have to walk through the club's property.
You must sign a visitor's book at the gate. The park ranger with a gun was rather short-spoken, and when we asked where we could camp overnight, he only said, "All I can tell you is you have to leave the private property". He meant the club's property. We then accidentally saw a sticky note left by fellow hikers saying that bears are active and aggressive along the Gill Brook. Thanks goodness, it was the opposite side of the lake from where we were heading to. 
For those who want to explore the Adirondack High Peaks on a backpacking hike, I recommend you use a specialized book to plan your trip. The one we used is called "High Peaks Trails" by the Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK). You should also have a good map. I liked the one we used from National Geographic (#742). 
The trails are well marked with frequent tree signs, so you really need to work hard to get lost in the woods.
The trails that run in parallel with the Ausable River offer some interesting and scenic features such as Beaver Meadow Falls, Cathedral Rocks and Rainbow Falls.
Rainbow Falls is a mind-blowing and jaw-dropping place, especially with the afternoon light that breaks through the canyon and disperses by water drops.
All trails to high peaks start from the Ausable River valley or Lower Ausable Lake. 
We eventually picked the trail that takes to Sawteeth, Pyramid and Gothics peaks - supposedly the most beautiful peaks in all the Adirondack High Peak region.
Once you enter the state land, you're allowed to camp anywhere as long as your campsite is at least 150 ft / 45 m away from a road, a trail, or any body of water. 
But I'll tell you - there aren't many options as our trail had a constant incline.
Another challenge is to find a campsite close to running water. But we finally managed to spot a perfect and relatively flat place between Sawteeth and Pyramid mountains.
The Sawteeth's summit was only 10-15 minutes away. 
But the view of the sunset over Adirondack High Peaks was absolutely staggering! This is what Pyramid and Gothics look like.
I fell in love with the Adirondack Mountains! Maybe I'm exaggerating a little bit, but they almost look like Yosemite to me.
Ever wondered who sneaks at night near your tent? Let's figure this out by smoothing the trail path.
The next morning was way less promising than the previous day in terms of offering good mountain views. It was humid and cloudy. But you know what - I always enjoy a misty forest. 
All food and toiletries that bears can smell were stored in a bear resistant canister a few hundred feet away from the tent. Luckily, no one tried to break it.
We took the same trail to descent from Sawteeth Mountain as we talked to the man who saw a mother bear with two cubs on another trail which we were planning to take on our way down. That trail is called the Scenic Trail which probably warrants its name, but it was too dangerous to hike it. Lower Ausable Lake from the bridge.
Looks like a fjord in Quebec.
The club's boat house.
Food in the nature cannot be compared with food at home. It's always more delicious. Here it is - buckwheat with tuna!
By the way, open fires are prohibited in Adirondack High Peak area, so pack a stove with you.

Adirondacks - I will come back! ;)

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