Sunday, August 28, 2011

Dix times 5

Another fabulous day in the Adirondacks and a pretty ambitious one too. Today's target is the Dix range. Once you are on the ridge, well, why not do all of them. More efficient that way, although it does make for a tiring day. We got one of the few spots left at the Elk Lake trail head. Crazy it was almost full and only 6:30 in the morning.
One of my favorite parts of this hike is climbing the Macomb slide. However, we were totally shocked by the scene. The Macomb slide had been typically comprised of some rock rubble interspersed with rock slabs. As soon as we started climbing the slide we noticed something was different. There were three huge gullies at least 15  feet deep down the slide. It would have been impossible to actually cross the slide towards the bottom. Instead, the route was marked to follow the edge by the trees until after the washouts. I have a before and after photo of the slide. Huge boulders that existed before are gone. The consistency of the slide is totally different - more dirt and rubble than before. Nature is constantly changing the complexion and character of the Adirondacks. Sometimes in subtle ways, sometimes in earth moving, spectacular ways. See the before and after photos below.


The rest of the slide hike was fun (okay, maybe a big calf burner). We met a pleasant group of hikers on top of Macomb and crossed their paths a few more times during the day. After a rest and some food we headed off to South Dix and East Dix. South Dix is a great little scramble of the rocks. I love the ridge walk between S. Dix and E. Dix. Smooth path, fragrant smell of balsam in the air. Right before we started the climb up S. Dix, we ran into Claudia leading a hike for the Albany Chapter of ADK. I heard her before I saw her. She had spotted my hiking partner, and bellowed out a joyous "Hey Tim!" The group had come up the East Dix slide and were on there way to South Dix and Macomb. We chatted for a few minutes and then bid our farewells and sashayed up to East Dix.

Climbing South Dix

Ridge walk from S Dix to E Dix
East Dix summit
Dix summit from Hough
A lingering stop and then time to move on. We still had a few more peaks left for today! Almost back to the top of South Dix, and then we cut off and aimed for Pough and Hough. (I really think they should have been called Huff and Puff, because that's what you do when climbing.) This time I readily recognized the summit of Hough (unlike last time...). We picked up a hiker on Hough who wanted to continue on to Dix after she heard that's where we were headed. So the three of us sweated, huffed, and puffed our way over to Dix. After 4 peaks, the legs are getting tired, and the ridge line up to Dix looks long and imposing.
View from Dix
But the effort is so worth it! Dix has impressive
Elk Lake from Dix
views in all directions. The mountain sandwort was in full bloom carpeting areas of the summit with it's pretty white flowers. We lingered on the summit, basking in the sunshine and drinking in the vistas. This is what hiking is all about for me!

Carpet of flowers

Largest shelf fungus I've ever seen!

One of the few flat spots going down Dix

But reality always seems to encroach on summit fantasies. Time to leave. Down we went, then up and over the Beckhorn, and dropped quickly down the mountain. My legs were hurting and my pace slowed down, but in due time we were back at the parking lot. A very tired, but very happy hiker. Great day!

Next: Wading our way to Allen


  1. Wow. Great trip report. You make it sound easy!

  2. Hi Laurie - nice report! I noticed that the date was August 28, 2011 - so the description of the washouts on the slide, and the pictures, were just prior to Hurricane Irene?

  3. Hi Gene - We hiked this July 17, so it was around a month prior to Irene. Curious what it looks like now!