The 46er Series: The Beginning, Cascade and Porter
I started my journey on becoming a 46er as a seventeen year old, post-high school graduate, in a relationship, and holding onto anxieties about college, and somewhat afraid of heights. Now, three years later, I am twenty years old, with one semester left of college, single, and not afraid of heights at all. The idea of climbing a mountain used to inspire asthma and shaky knees; now, my heart races with excitement. So, I thought it would be fun to look back on the 46ers I have climbed, 24 peaks to be exact, and to look forward to the 22 that I have left to battle before I can call myself a 46er.
The first 46er I climbed was Cascade, the 36th tallest peak in the High Peaks Range in the Adirondacks. It is the most accessible and most frequently climbed of the High Peaks. I was introduced to the 46 by my then boyfriend (and now hiking partner). So we started off, nice and early, on a bright sunny morning. The trail was just a bit soggy from the morning dew. As a novice hiker, I had no idea what to expect. Cliffs. Ridges. Rock climbing. My head was going crazy and I started to get nervous. But, as we continued on the trail, I started to feel better. I could do this. The trail was mostly wooded as we made our way up a mostly dry creek bed. The trail brought us up 2,000+ feet in about 2 miles, an easy hike for seasoned Adirondack hikers. But, even though it was an easy total of 4.3 miles, the view at the top of the bald summit was amazing, as if we had hiked miles and vertical feet more than we actually had. We had panoramic views of the Great Range, Whiteface, Hurrican Mountain, Lake Champlain, and Vermont’s Green Mountains.
After a quick bite to eat, we backtracked down the trail. A short bit down the trail, we hooked a left toward Porter Mountain, the 38th tallest peak. The summit is wooded, with a large bald rock at its tallest point. Two 46er peaks down, I was feeling like a pro. Looking back, those two are the easiest peaks I have climbed thus far. I love them for their ease, yet incredible majesty, and for providing me with the perfect introduction to the Adirondack High Peaks.