Monday, January 16, 2012

A Warm-up to Winter

Larch Valley-Banff National Park
I’m back!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! After a 2 week vacation to the Canadian Rockies in September and subsequent foot injury (torn plantar fascia), I was pretty much grounded for the fall hiking season. Not that the foot is 100% there yet, but there is only so much stationary biking I can tolerate at the gym. And besides, it’s winter. Must go out and PLAY! I also publicly announced in the local Albany, NY newspaper (, that one of my New Year’s resolutions was to keep blogging about my hiking experiences. So here we go….

Off we go!
To get back into hiking, I wanted to start small and work my way back to a high peak. I thought Hopkins would be a great warm-up hike(a little over 6 miles round-trip) and a chance to see my winter hiking buddies again. Six of us (Tim, Skip, Barb, Dave, and Jim) made the journey. In mid-December, we hiked Hopkins via the Mossy Cascade Trail. The day was crisp and clear with maybe an inch of snow on the ground in Keene Valley. Well, we wouldn’t need snowshoes, although Skip decided to carry his just to get used to the heavier weight of a winter pack. A bit less than a mile from the trailhead, there is a faint trail to the base of the Mossy Cascade waterfall. I elected not to visit the waterfall today, but some did. The report back was lots of debris at the base of the waterfall, most likely due from Irene. I would have gone if my foot hadn’t already started to ache and my lungs felt like I was climbing Everest. The waterfall is very attractive and definitely worth a side trip, especially on a hot summer’s day. While waiting, I decided it was a good time to put on my micro-spikes.

Mossy Cascade Brook
Rest stop

The trail continues to follow the Mossy Cascade Brook. Lots of small cascades and pretty flumes. About halfway up there is an open ledge with interesting views and a great spot to stop and rest. After a short breather, we started up again. The first part of the trail from the trailhead is a bit steep, but then climbs at at a fairly moderate grade.  It’s only the last part that gets steeper again. In no time we were at the summit with spectacular views in almost all directions. (I think the guidebook says 22 high peaks can be seen from the summit.) The first time I hiked Hopkins it was socked in; now I know what I missed!
Looking over towards the Dixes

Sawteeth and the Great Range from Hopkins

More views from Hopkins
 It was warm and sunny at the top and we lingered longer than one normally can on a summit in winter. It was great to be back in the high peaks again!

Since it was still early when we got back down, we went for an early dinner and some beers to celebrate the holidays. Now I can't wait to get back on a high peak!


1 comment:

  1. Glad to see you back, Laurie! Recovering from an injury can require so much patience... but it always feels great to get back outside again!