It was due to be a spectacular day in the weather dept. so I was getting pretty excited about this trip, not to mention heading to my favorite mountains. Mark, Dale and I met at the Shaw’s parking lot on the Shelburne Road at 6 am and headed right out to the Keene Valley trailhead with a quick stop at the Stewart’s in Port Henry. Arrived around 7:45 am with plenty of parking awaiting us at the St. Hubert’s lot. Signed in around 8:10 am at the ranger’s station and made our way up the Lake Road until we hit the Leach trail junction. Then up, over, down, up, over, down, up, over, down we made our way to the three peaks.

Eventually we all ended up putting our snowshoes on at some point along the trail due to post holing. A bit of wind to start and the sky became bluer as the day drew on as well as the sun becoming brighter. Took short breaks here and there with a lunch break around 1:15 pm at the junction of Elk Pass and Nippletop after having tagged our third and final summit of the day. Then the very steep descent on Elk Pass, around a couple of camp sites, two ponds, then headed towards Lake Road. We opted to proceed down the Gill Brook trail to avoid the three mile road walk making it a two miler.

The views on this loop are just incredible – Giant, Rock Peak Ridge, the Great Range, Whiteface, Colvin, the Ausable Lakes, etc. etc. etc. Mark had teased Dale and I at the Shaw’s lot by producing a cooler with a few beers for our post-hike celebration which we were very happy to actually see and consume once we hit the car at 4:45 pm.

We then headed into Keene Valley where our timing was pretty perfect to get a table for three at The Ausable Inn which was very busy; while waiting for our food, we parked ourselves in front of the fireplace in the main dining room. In total, we met about 12 – 15 people on the trail all day and leap frogged with three college buddies many times who were as happy to be in the mountains as we were! 4,000′ elevation gain, Dale tagging his 20th and 21st Adks., hiking with two of my favorite people and Ubu and burgers to end the day – Priceless!!!!

Participants: Dale Schmit, Mark McLane, Robynn Albert (leader). Photos: Robynn.