We step out of the car and the snow crunches below our feet as Nolan and I begin to prepare for todays climb. I inhale deeply the brisk cold air, and stretch like a butterfly morphing from a cocoon. Getting up at 3am plus the 3 hour trip to get here, leaves you a little foggy in the head and stiff in the muscles. The cold air and the nervous excitement quickly re-energizes me though. Nolan and I move quickly to suit up and not risk losing core temperature before we even begin the ascent. There are 3 or 4 parties in the parking lot already, most of whom are almost ready to go. We check each other out and some nod and smile. Ice spikes are a given today, but we both agree after seeing trail conditions and reading ADK trail reports, that our snowshoes are likely not needed today. The winds are light and the sun is out, so it promises to be a beautiful day for this climb. We quickly pass a couple of groups in the first mile or two as we start the ascent.
As you trudge up and down mountain trails for hours and what seems like at times, endless miles of forested trails, you have a lot of time to think. Unlike mountains in the west where you often drive up to the trailhead at the base of the mountain, the Adirondack peaks generally are accessible after climbing over many smaller peaks and mountains and over many miles of rugged mountain terrain to get to the respective mountain. So, you have a lot of time, to challenge in your own mind; many of your beliefs and ideas. A lot of time to relive the past, and a lot of time to dream and plan for the future. Nolan's a great son, but he is a teenager. Although he seems eager and happy to share conversation related to the days events, apparatus, or perhaps history along this journey, the real mind-bending and philosophical conversation I might enjoy, is a no-no.
Most times there is no cell phone coverage, so we don't even try. Nolan will snap an occasional photo with his cell and send it to a friend if coverage is available, but otherwise he's like me, and forgets about the device for the day. Often it's so cold on these winter hikes, electronics don't work anyway.
Business calls, so enjoy the photos for now and I'll try to finish this post over the coming weekend.........................