Saturday, I went and did Colvin (4057', #39) and Blake (3960', # 43). These are by far not the tallest peaks in the park, but they are relatively remote in that the shortest in and out hike is 14.5 miles with nearly 4000' of elevation gain/loss. So, they aren't easy by any means. I arrived about 615 to find the Ausable Club parking lot full. I had to go park again about 1/4 mile up hill from the lot.... that is 1/4 mile up a highway. Thankfully, I don't need to come back to this trailhead again as it really has been filling up early. I got hiking at 6:26, and made it to the gatehouse at 6:50. Lake road to the Gill Brook trail was not an issue, and the lower part of the Gill Brook Trail had a few washed out places, but overall the trail is pretty good until you get to the second Indian Head trail. My trail was the next one,and I was able to get that 5.5 miles done by 8:45.... that's a pretty damn good pace.... and a pace I was not going to hit again. The trail up Colvin started and ended steep, but overall was not that bad of a trail. When I summited, the clouds were still low, so I went to the top on my way out and got some great views of the great range.
Blake is one of those peaks you do because you have to. The trail down Colvin started off nice and I was wondering why everyone said it was steep... About 1/2 way down it happened. Not only was it steep, it was rather eroded. This trail really needs maintenance. I say that because there were 2, rather long (20-30 feet?), and the upper one was showing some rot on the uprights, and was missing 2 rungs.... plus the rungs were not even close to even. That was a fun challenge to go do, even more fun to go up. Once down though, the trail up Blake was not bad. I get to the top and of course, it's not marked other than by DEC signs giving directions. A little bit further down the trail, there was a nice big rock, with a little rock someone wrote Blake on in sharpie, sitting on top. There were zero views as it was treed in. I knew this though.
The hike out wasn't that bad. I just took it slow. My feet were starting to complain, and I found I had brought the ibuprofen bottle, but it was empty. I made it down past the worst of the trail and was able to pick up pace again. I took the lake road cutoff to get off of the trail a little quicker, and then did the road out. I got to the gatehouse at 4:17, and finished at 5. Total 15.23 miles.
It was a long day, but it was worth it for the views from Colvin. Now, I have only the 5 Dixes to do, hopefully next weekend.