Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Dix Range (Excluding Dix)

Saturday I bagged four more high peaks in about 10 hours. The weather was perfect, zero percent chance of precipitation with temperatures in the upper sixties in the elevation. The ability to wear a long sleeve shirt certainly saved my arms from cuts and scrapes on the unmarked but decently clear herd paths.

It's difficult to find people to go hiking with, especially with my obligations to work some weekends and the other busyness that goes along with summertime. Fortunately I have a friend that has completed his 46 and wants to go a second time around, so he's familiar with the trails and is willing to torture himself again. This was definitely a hike for the more experienced. Physically I could handle it but I'm pretty stupid with a map and compass.

We began walking around 7:30 am heading down the trail at Elk Lake. It is pretty flat to begin with heading in to Macomb. The real hiking doesn't really begin until you reach the slide going up the mountain. I have never climbed a slide before and it was quite the experience, loose gravel and dirt, bare rock, and large rocks that seemingly appear stable until you step on them and they begin to roll down to the bottom of the mountain. The view from the slide is breathtaking, just don't look down. Once we made it up the slide, the rest of the hike was long but not so grueling, at least we got the worst over with early on.

In front of the slide on Macomb

From the summit of Macomb you could see Marcy, Basin, Allen, and other high peaks. We continued on down Macomb and up South Dix. There really was no view from the actually summit of South Dix but it was a very short walk to a bare rock where you could see views of Vermont. After resting and having a snack we started down South Dix to go over to East Dix. From the false summit we could see where we really needed to go...

View from Macomb

There is a lot of open space and bare rock on East Dix, with some really nice views especially since it was a clear day. We could see Macomb, South Dix, Dix (which we saved for another day) and Hough (pronounced Huff). We reunited with some hikers we had passed on the way and discussed the Lillian Brook trail that we were going to find to come back down Hough. In order to get to Hough we had to go back up to South Dix to catch the herd path over.

On South Dix in front of Macomb

On East Dix in front of the rest of the Dix Range

From the second trip up South Dix we had to go over a smaller mountain called Puff. Hough was our final summit where we met someone conquering all five peaks in the Dix Range that day... more power to him! My Sherpa knew of two trails for certain that would get us back to the car, one of which would require climbing South Dix for the third time that day. He had heard of a third trail crossing Lillian Brook that would more of a direct route, he just wasn't sure exactly where it was. Given these options we decided to take the gamble and look for the Lillain Brook trail. Going back the way we came, we figured at the cairn was where we could bear right and hope that it was the right way. Fortunately we encountered a group that confirmed that suspicion and we continued on being thankful we that we avoided a third trip up South Dix.

View from Hough

The Lillian Brook trail eventually connected to the first trail we had taken in and we arrived at the car a mere ten hours after we left that morning. My friend estimated it was about 15 miles but was not sure since we had taken that Lillian Brook trail back.

Only one blister, three new bruises and the usual sore right knee. Only 33 more high peaks to go!


loonyhiker said...

Wow! This description was great! I just wish I lived closer to you. Being retired, I would be able to hike with you whenever you wanted to go! Thanks for letting me live vicariously through your adventures.

A Keeper's Jackpot said...

If you ever visit Diane we should go!

robert said...

You pictures and commentary are wonderful. I just started climbing the HPs. Going for some more this spring and summer. Thank you!