New blog and first post. Why not start with the mountain that hikers love to hate? Allen is my 28th peak and it was a helluva hike. Heidi and I started out from Oneonta at around 4 am. I overslept and was a few minutes late but she didn’t care. We made pretty good time, stopping for gas in Duanesburg and having a quick snack. It was around 5:20 am on a Saturday and the gas station was packed. Where was everyone going? Not to the trail head past the MacIntyre blast furnace, no doubt.
Anyway, we parked at around 7:15 packed up our stuff, signed in at the trail register and headed out, just as the sun was beginning to come out. It was pretty good timing. This area always gives me a weird feeling – like it’s haunted by the ghosts of the past. It was this calm, somber vibe like nowhere else I’ve been in the Adirondacks. My hiking partner thinks I’m crazy, but it’s just a feeling I get when I’m in this area.
Anyway, we moved quickly, crossing the first suspension bridge and working around Lake Jimmy, passing the old fire tower keeper shack that seriously does not look like a fire tower keeper cabin, and pushed onward. We were on a mission to knock out the early miles quickly in an attempt to summit and head back before the sun went down. We were racing against time.
Lots of leaves covered the trail, but it was easy to follow. There was only one section after the mystery trail register that was tricky to follow, but only because of all the leaves. We made it to the base of Allen, right near Allen Brook and took a break at the base of the first waterfall. Had a few snacks, took some pics and then started up. We didn’t see any ice until about 1/4 of a mile up, but it wasn’t too bad. There were a few spots were it was tricky, but we made it. For some reason we decided to slog through without spikes, which, in hindsight, was a legit idea. There was too much debris to get caught in those suckers and I hate stopping to clean them out, especially when we’re making good time.
We passed two other hikers at the point where the trail cuts across a large open face of rock and starts into the woods (trees are flagged). They were helpful, but one of them was clearly not enjoying the hike. We really booked it at this point and made it to the summit at about 1 pm. My boots were soaked and I was losing feeling in my toes, but what the hell – #28 was bagged. For Heidi it was # 43.
Knowing that daylight was scarce, we took the requisite selfies in front of the Allen sign and headed back down, making pretty good time. Darkness overtook us right after Lake Jimmy and I had to use my flashlight. We made it back to the trail register at 6 pm. We hung out in the parking lot to change, recharge and take that final bathroom break before the three hour drive home.
All in all it was a great hike. I can see why many don’t appreciate Allen, but there was so much to see, so many water crossings and so many random things – like the view of the sun reflecting off the Mt Adams fire tower or that weird second trail register. The hike up the brook and through the red hued slime wasn’t all that bad. I slipped and fell once but it was my own stupid fault. Walk and take pics? Nah, stupid idea. I still have the bruise. But otherwise it was great. I hope when all is said and done with the Boreas project that the trail head isn’t moved any closer. I think the best part of this hike is the distance you have to traverse to get there. Sure, the summit is pretty meh but sometimes it needs to be about the journey. This journey provided me with an even deeper respect for this region of the Adirondacks. One I have been slowly developing, that began with a solo hike up Mt. Adams.
Trip report from the unreliable app:
Cloudy, approximately 41 degrees
3337′ vertical gain
10.5 hrs (or thereabouts, this app really sucks for tracking)