Submitted by RobbMLewis on Mon, 07/13/2020 - 06:54

Sunday, I had an ambitious day planned.  Dial, Nippletop Colvin, and Blake (with a repeat of Colvin and Bear Den which is not a 46er on the way to Dial).  I got to the AMR parking lot about 630, and was on the trail shortly after.  When I got to the trail register, about 1/2 a mile of road hiking in, I realized I left my poles in the car.  That mistake made some of the downhill a bit slower than I usually do... but it wasn't impossible by any means.  About 1.6 miles in I reached the trail turnoff from the road and started up the shoulder of Noonmark.  The climb was a bit steeper than I expected, but it wasn't horrible by any means.  The trail for the most part was good until I got to higher elevations.  Around 2500 feet, the trails became rivers.  Ok, not really rivers, but there was constant water running down it that you looked for rocks to hop.  At points, the water in the trail was nearly ankle deep.... definitely a wet trail.

Once I got to the top of Bear den, it really was a rather good hike to the top of Nippletop.  The clouds started clearing as I hit Bear Den, and the views of the Great Range, Giant, and the Dixes were breathtaking.  When I peaked Dial, we had the wind.  The peak forecast for Giant and Dix both said it was going to be a steady 10-20 MPH winds.... that means no bugs, but also difficult to stand if it decides to gust.  Now, I have to say, the child in my has been laughing at the name Nippletop.  I can understand why it was named that though.  On the approach you get a view of it, and yes, it is a perfectly cone shaped peak that does look like the tip of a nipple.

I got up to Nippletop about noon.  That was my cutoff time for continuing on to Colvin and Blake, an additional 5 miles.  I did go down towards them.  This made me appreciate that I went up the way I did.  the trail from Elk Pass to Nippletop is full of scrambles and steep trail.  Nothing out of the usual for the Adirondacks, but not having to go up that was a bonus for me.  When I got to Elk Pass, the lake was overflowing.  There is a bridge that goes across parts, and well, the bridge was a little short and you had to hope you landed on the rock and not knee deep in water.  Another bridge was leaning.  When I got to the lake, what looks like the edge of which is a beaver dam, part of it was being topped over and the trail itself was easily knee deep in water for further than you can easily jump over.  Thankfully, you could go around with some effort.  After that, the rest of the hike back was pretty good.  The Gill Brook trail up to the Indian Head trail was spectacular, and the views of the Gill Brook and its many small falls, just that trail itself is worth doing, even if it's a 3.3 mile road hike to get to the trail.

17 down, 29 to go.


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