Sunday, February 24, 2008

A hike to remember up Prospect Mt, Adirondacks

Last July, during our Lake George vacation, I wanted to do something with my two sons that would be a bit of adventure, show us the natural side of the Adirondacks and something that we probably wouldn't do at home. "Lets, hike up Prospect Mountain" I suggested on Wednesday.

I planned on doing it on Friday as that was our last full day there. Needless to say, the boys were not exactly jumping at the chance, but since I had given them free reign all week, they probably figured, what harm can it do.

Prospect Mountain is located on the southern edge of Lake George and Lake George Village.
It stands at just over 2,000 ft high, which is definitely not the highest peak around.
But it does have a great summit, with a "100 Mile View".

We had actually driven up Prospect Mt a few years ago, but the adventure would be hiking to the top and not as much being at the top. Now, I knew there was a marked trail leading from the Village of Lake George, I didn't realize that my idea of a marked trail and New York States idea of a marked trail would be vastly different. Comfortable in our own ignorance,we packed some Gatorades and cherries, went to the parking area and started our ascent.
Well actually, first we had to climb the steel grated walkway that went up several flights of steps and then crossed over the Northway Route 81. The first sign of trouble for me was my being out of breath (slightly) once we crossed to the other side of the walkway.

I consider myself in good shape, or at least in pretty good shape, but since my only exercise is walking Daisy, a Beagle who spends ten minutes sniffing a patch of ground, I was quickly finding out that I was not in "Hiking" shape.
The "Trail" is more like a rock filled trench, that seems to go straight up through thick forest.

Josh and Chris take the early lead hiking up Prospect Mountain.

The day became very warm and I was becoming Dehydrated and didn't know it.
One amazing feature of technology, the boys had cell phone connection all the way up and Josh kept a running text message report to his girlfriend Nicole back in Maryland.

As we climbed, with about 30 minutes in to the hike, I started to feel like I had no strength left in my legs and was out of breath, so we needed to start taking breaks along the way. I started sucking down Gatorade and eating cherries, but I was really feeling bad.
The boys started asking me if I wanted to turn around and go back, but I insisted on continuing.

Years ago, my brother Greg, his wife Nancy and two daughters Kayla and Lindsey did this very hike, and I figured, if they did it, I could do it too.

Of course Greg wasn't 50 years old like me. But I kept pressing on.

The forest all around you is beautiful. I was thinking that this was something straight out of Last of the Mohicans and the boys were thinking that the forest was something out of Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter.

I needed to take more and more breaks of 10 minutes, using the time to rehydrate and look around. The boys weren't bothered by the climb at all, but of course they play a lot of sports and Christopher was in the best shape of his life.
Every break I took, they gave me advice, asked me if I wanted to turn around and patiently waited for me.

As I said earlier, what I thought a "Marked Trail" would be and what NYS thought made a Marked Trail were two different things. There was some confusion for us and at one point we came across two women, who eventually gave up and went back because it wasn't clear which way to go. We pressed on and despite making a wrong turn, were able to get back to a more proper trail farther up.

I was really lagging behind and feeling so weak and out of breath that it surprised even me.
But I don't like to quit and we all felt that we had to be getting to the top soon.

Thankfully during our hike up, you would occasionally get a wonderful, cool breeze that was a tonic to me, coming through the forest.

Finally it looked like we could see more daylight up ahead and I told the boys to scout further ahead of me and let me know if the top was near. Then I sat down on a log and tried to recuperate and get some more inner strength to go a bit further.

We had gone about an hour and fifteen minutes, now it was a test of will for me to get to the top.
I took one more break just before a steep incline through heavy brush.
I remember a young couple overtaking me and I jokingly told them, that my boys had left me to die but that the peak had to be close. But in those woods, you really couldn't tell.

This next bit was very steep and narrow, but I put every bit of energy into this last section and coming out of the trees, I am greeted by the two boys sitting on large rocks by the side of the access road. The top was visible about 50 yards further up. A tour bus went slowly by.

Josh and Chris thought we had made it to the top and were ready to go back.

"No Way" says I, first, we aren't at the top and second when we do get there, we are taking a nice long break.

The amazing thing was at this point, I was feeling revitalized and getting my energy back.

Was it the combination of gatorade and cherries, or the fact that we had basically made it up there or all of the above.

All I know is that I led the way to the summit.

And what a beautiful summit it is, with shady areas, lots of cool water to refill the canteens (or gatorade bottle), picnic tables and a rocky summit that you could stand on and feel like you climbed Everest. Despite the other tourists, getting off the tour buses behind you. lol

We Made It! And here is the view from the top.
This picture of the boys and I was taken by the couple who passed me sitting on the log. It was a beautiful day, there was a nice breeze and the water cooler water was like wine. :-)

Going back down about 40 minutes later was a killer on the knees, but we made it in half the time. I gave them high fives when we got back to the car. They thought I was still delusional. The boys had wanted to hitch a ride on a tour bus or ask someone to give us a ride, but not me. I had walked up Prospect Mountain and I was going to walk back.
Boy did the lake feel good when we got back. Although the boys opted for the pool instead.
No sense of adventure in them. lol

Oh and one more brother Greg and his family...they never made it to the top themselves. I was chasing ghosts.

No comments: