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November 30, 2012

There's always something to climb

(Continued)

Before long, they felt the effects of Hurricane Irene. Where there were once bridges in some places, there was now just a log. Other places required wading through deep and sometimes swift water just to continue. Lean-tos were damaged and blowdowns sometimes blocked the trail, but they finally arrived at Averyville, just a few miles south of Placid.

The beautiful summer weather soon changed into a cold, wet fall as their quest to finish the 46 High Peaks continued. Many of the mountains were summited in the rain. It was relentless, but their determination was never dampened.

It’s difficult, though, when you get up in the rain, hike all day in the rain and go to bed at night in the rain. When Nancy and Cheryl summited the five peaks of the Armstrong, Wolf Jaw and Gothics area, all they saw was rain, mist and fog. But looking on the bright side, it gives them a reason to go back.

One of the joys of climbing in the Adirondacks is the treeless summits. Unlike the Catskills, they usually offer magnificent views.

They soon discovered the real difference between the Catskills and the Adirondacks: People.

You hardly ever see another hiker when you climb the Catskill peaks, but in the north country, the lean-tos are full, the trails are congested and the summits are always crowded. In the Catskills, you often struggle to find your way to the tops of trail-less peaks. In the Adirondacks, though, you climb on herd paths that a blind man could easily follow.

On the weekend before Thanksgiving, Cheryl, Nancy and her little dog became 46ers. So after such an eventful year, what’s left?

That’s simple: The Appalachian Trail next year. That will be a 2,200-mile, six-month hike from Springer Mountain, Ga., to Mount Katahdin, Maine. They plan on leaving the last week of February.

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