Final Peaks

This past weekend we took our annual fall trip to the Adirondaks. The camp sites are usually so quiet this time of year, and we are almost always the only people in tents.

We do another trip in November to Alleghany where we know we will be the only ones in tents, but this one in October surprisingly often gives us solid weather.

We have not gone anywhere for all of the shut down. We took the stay at home serious. We were told that the traveling, and visiting small towns with breweries and coffee shops and diners, and all that was not the smartest to help contain the spread of Covid and could really impact small rural health centers if it happened. So while we wanted to climb all summer we waited until pretty much no one else was there and we would not be a part of the problem we wanted to stop!

We drove up on Friday – Sheila using her our wifi hot spot to teach her class from the truck. Remote teaching really went remote.

Friday night we got to camp, we knew rain was coming Saturday afternoon so we brought the big tent, and 2 10×10 pop up tents – Ahh the benefits of car camping, you can bring all the things. Driving in is always my favorite – Seeing the fall foliage pop, your first view of the mountains, and this time camping at Fish Kill Creek right on the waters edge -It was ideal

We built a nice hot fire, and settles in for the night to climb the next day.

The most important, and somewhat sad part of this weekend though was that this would be Picassos last trip to the mountains with us. His old body just can’t handle the abuse that the ADK mountains put on you. The big jumps up and down rocks, the climbing over and through a bushwhack, the long extended sometimes up to 8 hours or more days. It’s just too much for him.

We picked one final mountain and then 3 flat nature hikes. We knew on the first climb that he was struggling, to summit with him one last time was something we both wanted, and even though he was slow and tired, he never stopped wagging his tail.

Getting to the summit was so good. We had beautiful fall colors, the summit to ourselves, and a dog that has loved doing this with us for over 12 years. He had a grin on his face and his nose working overtime taking in all the scents. We each grabbed a photo with him at an overlook along the way and one of just him for us.

After heading down we went to a pond trail near our campsite for some easy miles. They were easy, but Picasso was worn out. He was moving at about 30-32 minutes per miles by the time we finished the 3.4 mile hike. It was a stunning hike though, full of color and cool trails. Perfect before heading back to camp to wait out the incoming storm.

When we camp – It rains. It has been a long running joke, but literally -It always happens. Storms, tornado, flooding, it comes – True to form it happened again. The weather went from nice 50s to insane wind – To 40s – to wind and driving rain – It rained so hard for a few hours. The campsite flooded out, then the temps dropped into the 30s and the wind was whipping.

Once is stopped we rebuilt the fire – put on the warm dry gear, had some beers and sat and talked about our day, all the tips Picasso has been on with us – The fact that he has his own camp chair, and what we wanted to do the next day.

We knew this would likely be his last hike with us up in the ADK we would keep it flat, then we would head to Raquette River Brewing a place that he loves because he is welcome, and they love him. He gets his own water bowl, delivered and filled by the owner.

We hiked a bit over 6 miles to some beautiful sunrise. We stumbled upon a beautiful fisher hunting a hare, lucky for the hare- We got stopped by a swamped out bridge – We walked too far in one direction – but eventually made the last trip for Picasso a successful one

These are not the end of the adventures for Picasso, just his last trip with us to the mountains. He will still hike, and swim, and camp, and travel with us, but I think he knows it as much as we do – The big mountains are just too much for his old bones.

We had a perfect final trip – Sunrises, cold weather, warm weather, a storm, mountains, flats, a brewery, pretty much all of our old trips mixed into one for him.

I call that a success.

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