Dial and Nippletop: Sun at last!

Nippletop Summit

Nippletop Summit

I’ve had a rough run of it the past couple of hikes with cloudy, over-cast hikes. Unless, you can be flexible and hike mid-week depending how the weather is shaping up that is just how it goes. But the last weekend in August brought exactly what I needed – a beautiful day for a perfect hike.

I tackled Dial and Nippletop and another long, flat walk down Lake Road off Ausable Club. This is my last hike off Lake Road and boy I’m not going to miss that extra mileage. I ascended up via Henry Goddard Leach Trail which was a lot easier than I thought it was going to be. Don’t get me wrong there are a few steep sections that just keep a steady climb up and your calves certainly feel it. But the footing is smooth and easy. No searching for foot holds up scrambles or having to walk over loose rocks. And a couple of nice break points for views. And while the fire on the shoulder of Noonmark Mountain is a shame it gave a nice contrast with some new growth forest and a clear view before the col to Bear Den Mountain (I kept calling it Beer Dean. I guess I know what was on my mind).

Dial Summit

Dial Summit

Bang for your buck Dial Mountain is a great climb. Solid view and easy climb – with an ascent of  3,000+ can be steep in places (and your lungs and calves will feel it) however the trail is in excellent condition. Doesn’t touch Nippletop but a great teaser for what was to come.  After a nice break on the summit, chatting it up with an old time 46er time to head on to Nippletop.

Dial to Nippletop.. Once you hit the ridgeline it is pretty flat and pretty.

Dial to Nippletop.. Once you hit the ridgeline it is  flat and pretty.

The col between the two wasn’t the worst I’ve seen – but still pretty steep and not my favorite part of the hike. And has some good steady elevation increases, but much like Dial, most of it is steady and only one scramble. I’ve also come to love the ridge-line more and more. Gives a respite from the elevation increase but I also really love the trail in those parts, at times deep forest, others alpine zone, and nothing but the sound of the wind and the smell of the trail. Yes. It is perfection.

Nippletop is lucky number 13 in height and this peak offers perhaps one of the best views of any of the high peaks. I guess that is why the Marshall Brothers rated it #3. My only wish is that the summit was bigger. But luckily I had it all to myself outside of the first few minutes. Even got a chance to lay down and hang my feet off the edge (no, my mom did not appreciate that description). I think this is another 46er I’ll have to visit again.

Nippletop Summit

Nippletop Summit

I descended via Elk Pass. It was steep. Very Steep. And went on and on. I love my hiking pole more and more it really saves the pressure on the knees and hip. Also glad that there had been no rain for a week. Some of that steep descent would not have been fun in wet slipper conditions. When I made it to the  Gill Brook Junction (with Colvin and Blake) I booked it down since I’ve been there before and was ready for a nice cold brew but didn’t take a single pic.

I’m officially one year in and with these last two mountains I’m now at number 17. Yes that feels pretty good. That was my goal for the end of this year- so I guess I’ll have to research more hikes now since there are still a couple of open weekends in September to get another hike or two in.

Dial and Nippletop: completed 08/30/2014, total distance 15 miles, hike time: 10.5 hours,  total ascent 4,000 feet.

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