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Old 09-14-2017, 10:22 AM   #1
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Oneonta, NY
Posts: 22
Esther & Whiteface on 9/11

Our usual crew of mountaintop marauders finally were able to put a day on the calendar for some high peak adventure. As career public safety personnel, it was extra special to enjoy our hike on 9/11. We have a three hour drive from home to the HP's, so we arrived at ASRC just before 9am. We struck up a nice conversation with the DEC gentlemen on site. He even allowed us a bathroom break in their building. We slung our packs and headed to the Marble Mountain trail. It was a nice warm up to the cool temps of the morning. The trail to the intersection with the Wilmington Res. trail was bone dry. We hit the intersection and headed toward Esther. The trail to the Esther intersection was also pretty dry. Hard to believe I've used the word "dry" twice already!! The cairn at the intersection to Esther is somewhat of a monument. We made the turn up the trail to Esther. Shortly after climbing the first knoll, the word "dry" left our vocabulary. She was true to form and beta...Mud. Most of the mud however, was pretty shallow. Just a continuous line to the top. There was one spot that was a little deep but we managed to find some hidden rocks and sticks with our poles. There were no boot sucking incidents to report. We met a nice couple from Toronto at the peak. We shared some conversation and photo service for one another. We snacked and headed back to the intersection. It was now 1230 so we decided to sit at the intersection and enjoy some lunch. Two pairs of hikers came through while we ate. By 1pm the crew was ready to move on toward Whiteface. I, however was not feeling it.

It would have been 1.5 hours to Whiteface, hang time at the top, and roughly 3 hours return to the vehicle; dinner, and 3 hour drive home. I volunteered to drive home since some had worked the evening before and one had to work at midnight. I chose to break off and head back while the rest of the group headed for Whiteface. We joked about calling for a ride from the summit. I made it back to the truck in about 1.5 hours. Probably would have been faster except for the several times I stopped to have some nice conversations with inbound hikers. Just as I unpacked and turned my phone on, the crew called for a retrieval from the summit. They figured a beer and snacks at the summit, followed by a relaxing dinner in LP were worth the penalty of a ride down. So up I went. We cleaned up, organized our gear and set off to LP for dinner and beverages. Left LP at 6pm, home by 9...perfect!!

All in all, it was a wonderful day of hiking and laughs. I will return to grab Whiteface another day. The weather was absolutely perfect. The wind probably never got above 5mph. Bugs were just flying around and thinking of the impending doom of winter. Leaves were starting to ramp up some color....should make for a spectacular peak season of color.

Hike safely my friends.

p.s. I tried to post this on HP forum, but it wouldn't allow it. It accepted my login, but wouldn't allow the post. any ideas why??? Thanks.
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