First Hike of the Summer: St. Regis Mountain

At the crack of dawn, just as the birds started their Saturday with the usual morning chirping, a friend and I set out on a journey to visit the beautiful North Country.

Just kidding.

Last night, I was struck with a wave of nostalgia, as Scott and I relived our childhoods and made a fort in my living room. We used my pull out couch &  chair, a fitted sheet, and a blanket, as well as a shelf, and a table and tv for support. In truth, it was possibly the best fort of all time. I wish I had taken photos. We stayed up all night like children watching movies from within.

We planned on leaving by 7, to begin the north bound journey, but putting two “not-morning” people together and telling them to leave early is a terrible idea. We finally started moving around 7, and left shortly after 8. Luckily, my familiarity with the Adirondack Roads returned quickly, and I was able to speed through the winding, tree lined roads with ease. I cut estimated 3 hour 33 minute trip down to under 3 hours. I was impressed.

We took Rt. 28 until Blue Mountain Lake, and therefore missed my favorite Pig Rock, Alien Space Ship and Jesus Saves distance markers along Rt. 30. However, we were able to enjoy the rise in elevation and discussed the beautiful scenery, from the approaching mountains on the horizon to the trees and the rocks and the forest animals.

Just kidding, again.

Scott fell asleep in Old Forge. I woke him up in Tupper Lake to show him where I had seen a bald eagle in the past, and he fell back asleep until we arrived at Paul Smith’s College.

How embarrassing is this photo? Hopefully he doesn't see it.

How embarrassing is this photo? Hopefully he doesn’t see it.

This was my first hike of the season. I consider myself a hiker, or at least claim to enjoy hiking, however did not do it nearly enough when I attended college in the Adirondacks, at the foothills of so many of the 46 High Peaks. So now, I am forced to drive hours to the trail head.

At Paul Smith’s College, we used the bathroom quick (hey, I like toilets) and I ran into the dining hall for coffee, but was disappointed to find there was only decaf. The placebo effect did not work. I needed real caffeine.

It had been a while since I hiked this mountain last, so I wasn’t too sure of everything. I remembered it being a quick, pretty simple hike. but 3/4 of the way up, I began calling myself an asthmatic pug. Its discouraging because my legs and muscles love to move, but the burn in my lungs is not pleasant to say the least. The trail was full of hikers, despite being late morning, and they cheerfully said hello as we passed them and made our way to the top. Lately I have been struggling with swollen fingers, and naturally the energy put into this walk brought it out. I looked like I belonged on House of Mouse. They were sausages, and I couldn’t bend them. But it was easy to ignore, and they went away moments after we drove out of the parking lot when finished. Just my luck.

I took a photo. Scott took a photo. Coincidentally, they almost made a perfect panoramic.

I took a photo. Scott took a photo. Coincidentally, they almost made a perfect panoramic.

But the summit was beautiful, of course. Although there was some snow towards the top of the trail, the summit was dry and warm. It was a perfect day for this hike. We relaxed for a bit, soaking in the sun and the fresh air. We watched the clouds’ shadows dance along the bare rock, and made friends with a grey bird who flirted with the idea of saying hello.

The goal was to visit Lake Placid after the hike, however we were quickly distracted by the Asian Buffet in Saranac Lake while on the way. Scott filled his belly with 4 glasses of water, and some food. I filled my belly with lots of food, green bubble tea, and ice cream. It was all highly satisfying.

sleep map

As shown above, the route marked in blue is where he was awake, while the route in orange is where he was asleep. He fell asleep in Old Forge on the way up, waking up momentarily in Tupper Lake and then at our destination. On the ride back, he didn’t fall asleep until Raquette Lake, and woke up in Boonville. It was very much ok with me, I gave him full permission to sleep while I drove. I just thought it was very entertaining to see him all curled up in my passenger’s seat.  

Summit Facts:
Elevation: 2,874-foo
Time Incline: 1hr40mins
Time Decline: 1hr20mins
Millage: 3.98
I hope to climb Mt. Marcy this summer. Marcy is, of course, the highest peak in New York State, so I think I have to prepare a bit more. I have been working on my stamina in the gym, and today is definitely motivating me to keep at it. Perhaps I will add another peak before Marcy, as a second warm up. Which one should that be?


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