February 28, 2014

Big Slide Mountain

By Stephon Boatwright In ADKs

Peak: Big Slide
Distance: ~11 Miles
Trail Map

They commonly say that Big Slide has the best views in all of the ADKs, but at the time I started the hike I didn’t give a damn.  Brian (aka Grizzly) and I set out that day to take on the third highest mountain the ADKs, Haystack.  When we arrived and passed a friendly Park Ranger who asked where we were headed he gave us a grim look and even grimmer news.  “You’re pretty late in the day for Haystack!” he exclaimed.  “Do you boys have headlamps?”  Headlamps?!  We had no intention of hiking in the dark.  Luckily, from “The Garden” parking lot in Keene Valley there were plenty of other hiking options.  We opted for Big Slide.  A good choice given the fact Brian had a respiratory infection…and was wearing jeans for some unknown reason.

After the first major ascent Brian’s respiratory infection (and stupid jeans) had caught up with him.  In between wheezing and panting strenuously he uttered the worst words he’s ever mumbled in the High Peaks, “I don’t think we can do this.”  Knowing we’d both be furious if the day ended there I begged him to make it to the top of the ridge and rest to think.  The ridge was breathtaking and Grizz soon forgot his woes.  It flattened out for a long bit anyway, so it let us take in the views and he could catch his breathe.
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The climb up was a bit perplexing, seeing how we just kept making one quad-busting ascent after another and just kept getting nowhere.  The trail we took was called the Three Brothers Trail, little did we know the “brothers” were mountains, two mini subsidiaries and the tallest being Big Slide.  The climb would go from flat to near vertical the entire time.

By the time we got to the top we were a bit exhausted, but had no time to think about it because of our first major encounter with Black Flies, little nat sized vampires that feast on the flesh of the living.  I ate my lunch running in large circles to make it harder to get bit.  Unfortunately the flies were faster and must of have had a taste for dark meat, I got bit about a hundred times.  We took an alternative root down for some new scenery, this time the John Brooks Trail, which probably would have been a lot easier a climb up had we known, but no mind.  I wouldn’t have traded those views for anything.
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