Fun Fact: Adirondack State Park is the largest state park in the US! It’s bigger than Yellowstone, Everglades, Glacier and Grand Canyon National Park combined.
We got to the Adirondack Loj late Friday night, Jakob made some great pasta with olives (thanks Natalie!) and we called it a night. We had been planning to spend 3 days hiking/trail running but when we woke up to the rangers were advising for very poor trail conditions and recommended everyone wear hiking boots and gaiters, none of which either of us had, we needed to adjust a bit. Apparently the trails were very muddy (knee deep at points), streams overflowing and ice pack at high elevations. I only brought my trail running sneakers (don’t ask me why I didn’t bring my hiking boots, but I didn’t) and Jakob’s hiking shoes had tons of holes (which is fair after 4 years of hard use). Anyway, we decided it was an acceptable justification for both of us to buy new hiking shoes. Jakob knew he just wanted to replace his Salomon XA Pros (Amazon) and I wanted to try them out so we drove down to the nearest outdoor gear shop that carried them, The Mountaineer. We went back to the Adirondack Loj to park for the next few days, packed and took off expecting to spend 2 nights in the back country. Upon heading out, the trails were reallllly bad but it was great to be in the mountains again. Leika was really amped as well – she was acting like a complete puppy but wouldn’t let us out of her sight. We intended to go Lake Colden to camp the first night, which was only 6 miles away. On the way out you pass by Avalanche Lake, which is stunning and has along one side a granite wall where you can rock climb. We had to pick Leika up in several spots because you had to climb some boulders or ladders, but for the most part, she was creative in finding her own way up. We were impressed by her! At the end of Avalanche lake, about half a mile from Lake Colden, the trail was submerged two feet underwater and we decided to turn back. We backtracked a few miles and set up camp at a lean-to. The next day the conditions were even worse but we were exited to get some more miles in. As we started, my foot sunk into mud almost up to the knee and mud filled my shoes. Jakob had slipped the day before into a knee deep puddle as well, so with both of our feet soaked, we decided to do one peak and head back to the car. We decided to do Phelps, which was one of the lower of the High Peaks at 4,160 feet. It was a steep climb with plenty of packed ice but a lot of fun. Leika is quite the jumper and was able to make it up no problem. The view from the summit was beautiful and reminded me of when I used to hike with my family in the range and gave Jakob a whole new respect for the state of New York. We made it back to the car and while it would have been great to explore the Adirondacks more, it was nice to dry our feet and start planning our next stop.