Big Slide - High Peak #7
For high peak number 7, I had decided I wanted to do Big Slide! I liked the hike because I knew it would offer some stellar views and also liked the change of pace of doing a much shorter high peak hike than we had done of lately.
We reached the trail head of Big Slide at 7:50 am on Sunday November 29th. This was our first time hiking out of the "Garden" trailhead. For those of you who haven't hiked out of this trailhead yet - there is a $10 parking fee so make sure to keep that in mind.
We signed in to the trailhead book at 8 am and began on our hike up Big Slide via the Brothers. The hike starts on dirt terrain in the forest, you here a creek off to your left hand side and will pass a split where you **used to be able to hike over to Little Porter (this trail has been closed!). You gain a lot of elevation on this hike right off the bat. Not a technical but a consistent, steep climb up this section of trail.
After about a mile of hiking you'll reach your first rock formation. Some rock scrambling and you'll make it up this formation to a rock slab and begin to see some of this hike's epic views. Just wonderful views of the lower great range!
From this slab you then go back in the trees and back out on slabs and back in the trees.... (you get the gist), but this was my favorite part of this hike. The variety in the trail, the insanely gorgeous views all throughout just made for a beautiful hike.
After about a 1.5 miles in, we reached the first brother peak. This peak is a wide open rock formation that offers 360 degree views of the ADKs, we stopped here for some photos and a quick snack and continued on our journey!
From here, we could see the second brother right in front of us - so close but yet so far! You go down in a cole and then back up the peak of the brother. It's about a .5 mile apart but you lose and gain a good chunk of elevation in this time.
The second brother offers even more stunning views than the first. It is just incredible. Honestly, if you don't care about hiking the high peaks, I'd recommend hiking out to this peak - you get all the same effect of a high peak hike with incredible views!
We quickly continued on our trail to the third brother and this was a bit of a longer stretch. From the second to the third brother you're less out on slabs and more in the woods. This section of trail began to feel very wintery with snow and ice - we stopped on this section of trail to put our spikes on!
To the third brother was about another .6 miles but this brother doesn't offer any views - it's funny, we actually passed right over it without noticing where it was! After we realized we had already passed this brother, we stopped for a quick snack for out final stretch up to the summit of Big Slide.
This section of trail was very different than the last several miles - hiking over a frozen creek bed which was really neat (you could even see water running underneath the ice!) and through a very wooded section. I really enjoyed this portion of the trail. This lasts for quite a while and then you come up on some lookouts, some slabs and some ladder climbs!
The ladders were very icy, so spikes were definitely a must this time of year. But we climbed up the ladders and I look in front of me and see a tuft of fur in the ladder..... we watched as a little weasel looking critter jumped out and ran into the woods. So cute!
When you finish climbing the ladders you'll get to a flat section of trail with a beautiful look out - which if we didn't have a map I would've actually believed to have been the summit - but we continued on our slab climb up to the summit.
This section is a lot of slab climbing (which I love) and when you reach the summit it's a gorgeous open area with beautiful views over the lower great range. We relaxed here for a while, had lunch, a beer and soaked in the views.
Once all the other hikers left, we were alone on the summit and all of a sudden ANOTHER weasel looking creature popped out from under a rock. [We found this out to be a pine marten!]
This time we were super quiet and he ran around the summit smelling all the spots where people had been seated, I'm assuming looking for food droppings! He then chased a chipmunk and KILLED IT! It's crazy because we always say that we don't see wildlife on the trails but wow that was quite an experience.
Back down we came on the hike and our first break we stopped back on the second brother and had a snack, and just enjoyed the views. We were in no rush on this beautiful Sunday.
About 8 miles, over 3100 ft of elevation, 7 hours (6 moving) and peak #7 on our high peak journey and we were done. Officially marking my favorite hike I've EVER done.