Overshadowed by her big brother, Whiteface Mountain, she is often hiked by those on the way to Whiteface and its glorious view.
As I read about the trail descriptions I immediately wanted to love this hike. The poor sister being out-shined by her big brother. Unfortunately, she did not deliver.
Exploring the 46 Adirondacks High Peaks says it best, “That as a result of her psychology snubbing, Esther acts like a women scorned. Tales of her fury are legendary.” Yes. I agree.
The beginning of the trail is one of my favorites to date. A maple and oak forest with a very modest incline. Not a sole in sight gave me the solitude I was seeking. Not to mention the chirping of squirrels and birds made for an orchestra of wildlife. The peeks at fall foliage was pretty amazing as well.
That quickly ended at around 1.4 miles when it begins a steady, and steep climb that just continues, and continues, and continues…. And around 2.2 you hit Marble Mountain (which I ventured to the summit on my way down but not my ascent). You also can’t miss the section with evidence of the 1950 hurricane.
There is a slight break with some stretch of bare rock and mostly level which quickly comes to another steep stretch luckily with a very occasional more level incline. The old toboggan shelter at 3.3 miles is a welcome break. Just after (at 3.5 miles) the trail to Esther bears right.
The first 150 feet are steeper than anything you’ve seen so far but then continues to pretty moderate incline. Just 0.3 miles in you hit Lookout Mountain. Poor Lookout. Its elevation is 4085 ft but not an official 46er since its drop and rise doesn’t meet the criteria to be designated a separate peak. It’s a great break point, and some excellent views, albeit a small summit.
The unmaintained trail means for a claustrophobic width, with prickly spruce trees brushing you along the way, and some pretty muddy/wet spots, but overall not hard to follow. Then a small summit which is basically a view of the Great Range and Whiteface Mtn. through the trees .
After a quick break with the summit to myself I began the climb down. I saw more than one person bite it – so I kept my pace slow and steady with firm footing. Meant for a longer day than I planned but not falling down is always my preference.
I took one break to visit the summit of Marble Mountain which is “positioned like a guardian at the gateway to Eshter.” The best view I got from the day even if the elevation is pretty low (2753 ft).
At the end of the day, I should of listened to my Uncle and read the trail descriptions more closely. Here’s what he emailed when I mentioned I might squeeze an unplanned hike in. “Esther was the first trail less I did and it was a real pain in the ass!” Yes. I agree. Though still loved the hike, trail and above all else the quiet of the Adirondack wilderness.
“Least known of all Adirondack high peaks is difficult to get along with, she can still be attractive” — Exploring the 46 Adirondacks High Peaks
Completed 9/28/2013, 4.7 Miles to summit (9.4 miles total), Elevation 4240, order of height 28. Hike Time: 6.5 hours