From high to low. Last year we did Mount Marcy as the first of our 46 – this year we tried Cascade and Porter as our second and third in the Adirondack High Peaks Region. It was a long and physically exhausting weekend for us, camping, chopping wood, white water rafting, and lots of hiking before hand…so when Sunday came and it was time to hit the trail, my body was tired. I knew I could work through it and I thought hey, it’s the starter hike for the high peaks and I’ve done Marcy…it’ll be a walk in the park! Ha, there are no easy high peaks! So we began on the rocky road and felt the elevation gain almost immediately.
This is one of the most popular trails in the ADKs. I saw a lot of people who looked unprepared and did not know what they were getting themselves into. It’s a very steep hike. Always wear good shoes and bring water. The summit of Cascade is 2.4 miles. There is a connector trail to Porter which is .7 miles. Then you have to return on the connector trail, and hike back down, so your total hiking mileage will be 6.2 miles. The trail isn’t marked often, but the path is very direct and obvious. For a large portion of the hike you will walk up through the woods. Eventually you will make it to a smooth rock face to climb up, and behind you your first views.
Not too long after that you will find junction and choose whether to head to Cascade or Porter. The view is more open and glorious on Cascade which means a number of things. It is more popular, so a bit crowded at times, and it is much windier. We decided to do Porter first because it would be more comfortable to have lunch out of the wind.
The trail to Porter was much quieter and I like that. I got the feeling not everybody was doing both mountains. The trail was pretty ordinary, trek through the woods, until we hit a split rock. Climb up top for some great views, or continue on because the summit is quite near. A handful of people were having lunch on the summit, beautiful views abounding.
After gobbling up our own lunch, we were reading to continue on. The junction can be easy to miss if you are looking down to watch your footing. We were chatting with a woman on the top of Porter who had a great pace, we looked for her on the summit of Cascade later and it took her a lot longer than we would have expected to get there. She missed the junction and started heading back down the mountain! Make sure you have some sort of landmark to remind yourself to look up! The planks were my landmark, they were at the beginning of the Porter connector. So on to new territory, we took the short and final push up to Cascade Mountain.
The views are truly astounding. We chatted with the steward who was up there, he pointed out some of the peaks to us. We soaked in that pristine Adirondack vision, and headed back down the way we came now with three high peaks to our names!
The hike renewed our interest in the gorgeous region, and with a long drive back home we dreamed which mountain would be next to tackle!