ADK High Peaks: Cascade & Porter

We ventured north again, this time to the Adirondacks and Lake Placid area with the goal of hiking some of the high peaks; these are peaks whose summit is over 4,000 feet.  We decided to start with Haystack Mountain, but later to our dismay found out that Mount Haystack is one of the 46 high peaks, not Haystack Mountain. Oops! During our hike a butterfly lead our path and seemed to be obsessed with Chris’s shorts.  (Chris’s Note:  I was a bit grumpy and mother nature sent this beauty to cheer me back up!) Eventually we reached the top, where the steep terrain gave way to breathtaking lush mountain views for miles.  We spent the night at the NYS Meadowbrook Campground.

After investigating the proper 46ers list, we decide to hike Cascade Mountain the next day. This peak is #36 on the high peak list, has an elevation of 4,098 feet; it is also one of the more popular and accessible. Minutes into the hike, we passed a sign about carrying a rock up to the peak. We didn’t really question this odd request and quickly gathered two rocks each of variable size. Rocks in hand, we started the journey up the mountain.

This was a particularly busy trail, especially so during the summer.  Many greetings were exchanged, some of which were in French!  The tree lined forest gave way to a bald rock face as we neared the top. Coming across a pile of rocks, we wonder “did we just carry these rocks up this huge mountain just to place them in a cairn?”

We decided to carry the rocks a little farther to the summit. The peak of Cascade Mountain offered 360 degree views and was even equipped with knowledgeable summit guides. The mother and daughter team offered advice about where to place our rocks. We learned that the rocks create a windbreak and allow the slow process of soil creation, this is important to restore the delicate vegetation that has been destroyed due to the high winds and human traffic.

We learned from the summit guide that the trail we hiked up also went to Porter Mountain and was less than a 2 mile round trip addition.  We decide that we might as well hike it. At 4,058 feet Porter Mountain, was #38 on the 46ers high peaks list. We trekked rapidly down the Cascade, passing a fallen hiker (she had help), we soon realize that we most likely missed the turn to the connecting summit trail. We turned around and hiked back up Cascade and then made a right turn onto the trail connecting Porter Mountain.  This summit was equally as beautiful but far less crowded.  We rested on the bald face with some young boys and their father for a bit before our scurry down to the car.


A great weekend with great hikes.  Two of the 4,000 foot peaks completed until we can call ourselves 46ers!

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