The weather is a bit odd and the conditions are in the least, very wet, but it was time to get out and play a little. I had my eye on the Sentinel Range and decided to go for the much easier option in Slide Mountain. I had been up on Slide many times and the last was not too long ago, but the weather was much nicer and the temperatures were at least 40-degrees warmer. However, I love winter and the cold doesn’t really bother me too much. Proper layering is key with that, check out my other blogs on layering.
I started out very early one day from the Jackrabbit Trail off Alstead Hill Road and hit the trail, almost running. I reached the brook that my usual route follows and jumped into the woods full-speed with intention. The ground was very slippery with a light coating of snow over the leaves; this caused me to slow down quite a bit to avoid possible mishaps. Slide Mountain is one of the easier bushwhacks in the Adirondack Park and the easiest in the Sentinel Range, with that comes the deer population and typically a few hunters to the region. Knowing this before I set off, I put on my red wool jacket and used my red pack to help stand out as much as I could. Then of course I sound like a herd of elephants moving through the woods when I’m bushwhacking so I wasn’t too concerned about hunters not knowing I was approaching.
I tried my hardest to stay in the brook as much as possible. But with the recent snow melt and runoff the water was higher than normal and many of the rocks were covered in a light coating of ice, and if there is ice on a rock to be found, I will find it!
I moved along the edge of the brook pretty well, but certain areas if you’re not in the brook, you have to deal with the tight trees along the edges. This was where I lost much of my time, not that time was of any concern. As I approached the col between Slide and Black Mountain, the forest was a bit friendlier; I decided on a whim to leave the brook earlier than I normally would. The open hardwoods welcomed me as I made my way north along the moderate slopes. This is where I got my first sign of man. I crossed over some fairly fresh tracks, hunters most likely. I concluded hunters based on the course of the tracks which were not heading up higher in elevation but more of a meandering through the open terrain. I passed through without seeing anyone, but as I surely know, they might have seen me and that’s OK.
It wasn’t long before I was at the summit cone where the terrain is slightly steeper but also a bit littered from dead fall; nothing that a bit of altered navigation couldn’t overcome though. I was quickly on the summit where I spent pretty much no time at all before I moved over to the only viewing platform I knew of. A small cliff that I found one summer was just slightly north of the true summit and only about 20 feet lower in elevation. Was it easy to find? So-so, bit I did. The descent was actually much harder than I had planned on, I actually needed to put on my Micro-spikes to avoid too much slipping and sliding – no pun intended. Now it was time for a hot coffee.
Are you interested in climbing Slide Mountain, another peak in the Sentinel Range or working on the Adirondack 100 Highest? Seek out a local guide service and I can get you there. For more reading about the Sentinel Range and the Adirondack 100 Highest Peaks, pick up a copy of The Other 54. Need a place to crash after a long hike, Wilmington has a number of options; they also have many outstanding restaurants to choose from.