Well, given the schedule and my total lack of leave, I don't see how I'm going to get back to the Adirondacks this autumn (winter comes early up there!), so, as the next best thing, I want to share this diabolically difficult trail with you guys. 22 miles! 18,000 feet of elevation change! Rock scrambling in full packs. Water scarcity! Treacherous descents! What could be better? Additionally, we'll be on the devil's turf as Halloween draws nigh. C'mon, you know you want to be there!
Since I've already done this as a single day speed test, we're going to do this as a two night backpacking trip, with just a mile or two Friday night, most of the mileage in the day on Saturday, and finishing up on Sunday. Splits about like 2-14-4. Obviously, this will bring down the difficulty (thus the MO rating), but you should not underestimate this trail. It is for fit backpackers who have got their weight down (thus the MO rating). You really don't want to carry a heavy load over this ground. Trust me. Or ask Jen and Shelby.
Here's how this works. It's a long drive up to the Catskills, so we'll leave DC early on a Friday morning, complete the drive, set up the shuttle, and then celebrate some at the fabled Gypsy Wolf. Yes, I, a Texan, am going to take us to a Mexican restaurant in Woodstock, New York. Then, we'll head to the beginning of the hike, walk in a few very easy miles, then camp at the shelter on the Overlook Trail. Next morning, we'll be up for a long and difficult day of climbing and descending. Hardly a horizontal mile on the trail. Saturday night, we'll camp either at the Devil's Acre Shelter on Hunter Mountain, or at Diamond Notch falls--a beautiful spot. I'll probably also reserve a camp site at the Devils Tombstone campground, in case anyone needs to bail.
Sunday, we'll complete the trail in the morning, celebrate locally, then begin the long drive home.
This trail has been called the "toughest in the lower 48." While I think that's a bit much, significant bragging rights come with completing it. And it's not easy to get, as it does involve a car shuttle, a long drive, and all that. Hard to say when we'll do it again. So grab your spots now.
I'll limit the size of the group to 10, but the group size depends on the vehicle situation. Please obtain the best available map, here.
Hopefully, this will be the first in a long series of trips exploring new destinations for us!