Sunday, June 24, 2012

Adirondacks Day 5 (B) - Sun 6/24/12

Part 11, Rocky Falls... Again

Rock Garden trail
The first part of the Long Trail down is steep, but it is much better than coming up, so we make good time. The ground is damp and slick in places, so the desire to move briskly needs to be balanced with the need to be careful of footing. Downhills tend to be tougher on my knees than uphill, and I notice (not for the first time on this trip) that I have not felt a single twinge of any sort in my knees while we have been here. That is unexpectedly good, and a nice counterpoint to the persistently aching heel, which is not so good.

11:33am - Partway down the mountain we get to the junction of the Rock Garden and Long Trails. We head west on the Rock Garden Trail. This trail roughly parallels the route up, but further west, and joins the main trail a ways further out toward Rocky Falls than the Long trail. If nothing else, it will give us a fraction of a mile on a different trail from the one we just came up on.

Chute at Rocky Falls with cairn
After a few minutes on the Rock Garden trail, we come to a junction with a trail heading west. We take the western trail, but we pass a few things that don't look familiar. We have come this way three days before, and something isn't right. I ask for a stop to check the GPS and map, and am convinced that we are on the ski trail to the top of Nye Mountain. Just as I am arriving at this conclusion, an older couple comes down the trail from the west and confirms that to be the case. On the down side, I seem to have a habit of ending up on ski trails on this trip. On the plus side, when I stop to look at a map and GPS, I am pretty good at figuring out where I am. We double back and get on the right trail amidst jokes that Leo and I should have packed skis.

11:46am - We reach the junction of the Rock Garden and main trail and head southwest toward the Falls. Now the trail looks familiar again. We plow ahead at a decent pace, as this trail is easy, being fairly level and cut periodically with feeder runs and runoff culverts, put in place and lined with rocks to keep the trail from washing out.

Me on Rocky Falls
12:40pm - Rocky Falls again. We come out the same place we did last time, and make our way up the stream bed. At one point I slip off the side of a rock while crossing the stream and dunk my left leg in the water up to the knee. Lovely. Step, squish, step, squish, step, squish, step, squish...

We stay at the Falls for a solid half hour, eating sandwiches, taking off shoes and socks, and spending time wading around in the cold (but not frigid) water, and climbing around on the rocks. People have brought extra clothes and swim shoes, but the cold water prevents anyone from going in more than wading. Some of the few out of the 219 pictures that I take that actually have me in them are taken here by Phil. I put my socks and wet shoe on a sunny rock and hope that I can dry some of the squish out of them before it is time to head back. Wet stuff is great for creating blisters.

Mount Jo and Rocky Falls - 6.7 miles total
While we are here, a number of other hikers come by, take pictures, and move on. By the time we are ready to go, my socks and shoe are nowhere near dry, but they no longer squish when I walk, for which I am grateful. The return hike is boring, as the trail is not very interesting, and this is the fourth time along it (twice out and now twice back). It is also anticlimactic, as I know this is the last piece of hiking that will be done on this trip.

2:15pm - Back at camp.

The track at right shows us leaving the campsite, heading counterclockwise around to a quick stop at the store, then more counterclockwise to the main trail to Mount Jo. The Long Trail leaves the lake shore heading north and then curves west and north/northeast onto the summit of the mountain. The Rock Garden trail and our detour onto the Nye Mountain trail is the curve further west, and then the obvious out-and-back to Rocky Falls.

Next... The End of the Line

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