Chasing the 46ers
Recently, we had a mid-week holiday and I couldn’t pass on the opportunity to try a visit the Adirondacks. It’s a beautiful, mountainous area in northern New York State, popular for skiing and hiking. If you hike all 46 of the “high peaks”, you get to join the 46ers club. My one problem was that I was completely unprepared, so the closest thing to hiking clothes that I possessed was my running clothes. According to the guides, running clothes designate you as “that guy” – the kind of guy that’s going to sprain an ankle, dehydrate and need an airlift. Despite this, I had to go now because “winter is coming”. As an added bonus, there was a brewpub nearby that I’d wanted to visit.
On the chosen day, it rained all morning, but I drove up there anyway and, as luck would have it, the sun came out an hour before my start. The estimates for hiking Cascade Mountain ranged from 1 to 3 hours and I had already started the day pretty late so I was now racing against the sun, which nearly every descending hiker reminded me of whilst looking askance at my fluorescent, thin shirt and ankle-threatening shoes. To complete my “that guy” outfit, I carried only a camera and a 500-ml bottle of water.
I made the summit in 70 mins and spent some time scrambling around the whole peak, which is all bare rock. The view was worth the effort for at least 2 minutes before the grey skies and winds returned to blot out the sky. Still racing the sun, I headed down, and on the way I confirmed that I was indeed the last man on the mountain. The next stop was the Lake Placid Brewery for a burger and a well-deserved pint. I dare say that if each of the 46 peaks had a brewpub nearby, I’d happily chase the 46ers.