Colden Mountain
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Colden Mountain, September 2004

Well, after seeing Colden's very recognizable summit ridge and awesome slides from so many other peaks, it was good to finally get to hike this mountain. Brendan and I made this trip our 3rd annual last chance before school starts overnight adventure. The weather was awesome, especially on summit day. At one point I remember him saying, " I can't see one single cloud in the sky". Needles to say, the views from the top were phenomenal ! 
Gotta fuel up first    No Adirondack adventure can start without a good breakfast.
We came in from the Adirondack Loj and stayed at Avalanche Camp. We chose the last lean-to before the Avalanche Pass junction. Our original plan was to do a loop so we could experience Avalanche Pass. We decided against it after we reached the summit because we wanted to make sure we got back to camp in time to cook, clean and stash the food in our bear proof container. The word is that they (the bears) are very active in this area. Turns out the mice are much more active than the bears!
Early foliage change    Along the trail to Marcy Dam, fall is announcing it's soon arrival.
We stopped briefly at Marcy Dam on the way in, then continued on to Avalanche Camp. There was gear for 2 already in camp so we thought we might have some company that night when we returned from our trek to the peak. Turns out it was another father/son team and they also were climbing Colden that day. They did the loop with Avalanche Pass being the first leg. Their description of the ascents' steepness was one of the deciding factors in our return trip plans. We will most definitely get to experience the pass before too long as we still need to get Iroquois. We may do a hike to Colden Lake just for fun as well.
This is some high quality H2O    Taking a well needed break at Lake Arnold before the real climbing starts.
If you've never climbed Colden from Lake Arnold, it's really a nice hike and not all that steep considering you eventually get to over 4700 feet. There is a "false" summit prior to the actual summit that is actually more bare and roomy. There are great views from here as well. If you are not bagging peaks, this would be a great destination.
WOW .... been there, done that    From the false summit, the Mountain Goat admires the mighty Algonquin Peak.
When we finally reached the summit, we were not disappointed. The view is 360 degrees and on a cloudless day it just takes your breath away. We stayed for a while, naming other peaks that we've climbed  and those that await us. We were blown away by the steep slides on the west side. We could see the Avalanche Pass walkway at the bottom and it looked like it was miles away. Being sandwiched between Mt. Marcy and Algonquin Peak, Colden has one of the better views in the 'dacks and you really appreciate the majesty and ruggedness of these mountain ranges.
The Mighty Mt Marcy    The mighty Mt Marcy from Colden's true summit.
From the west side of the summit ridge, the McIntyre range seems close enough to touch. I couldn't resist and so I snapped away and came up with this panoramic view as Brendan sat on a precariously perched boulder. It's a good thing his mother wasn't there or I might never have gotten this shot.
Could you move a little closer to the edge?
Well, we eventually had to head back down to camp. We had freeze dried food waiting for us after all ! The trip down was made without an official fall, I think that's two hikes in a row. I did manage to nail my shin bone on a protruding branch, that will get your attention. The trail was very muddy in spots and some of the mud was deceiving. It looked semi-hard and not too deep but almost ate our boots a few times. After another brief stop at Lake Arnold we continued on down to camp.
Very cool    There were quite a few very large and colorful dragonflies at Lake Arnold.
When we reached camp, our neighbors had decided that they were going to head out since it was early enough so we had the place to ourselves. We refilled our water supply and made dinner and set up for the night. I wish they had decided to stay, I think Brendan would've liked the company of another young hiker.
Hey, wake up, it's still light out    Here's the Mountain Goat "testing" the sleeping arrangements.
The night was as clear as can be and the waning full moon lit up the area nicely as darkness fell. We slipped into the dreamland that only a night spent in the great outdoors can bring. Of course I slept with one eye open so as to catch a bear in the act with the camera. He never showed! A persistent and mischievous mouse did visit with us however and he provided some entertainment for awhile. He eventually realized that he wasn't going to find anything to eat and moved on I guess. The morning came quietly and the sun was once again dominating the skies.
Award winning photo    The morning suns rays being filtered by the trees as they reach for Marcy Brook.
After a wonderful oatmeal and coffee breakfast, we cleaned up, packed up, refilled our water and headed out. We stopped briefly at Marcy Dam again and enjoyed a nice breeze coming off the water as we sat on the concrete dam.
2 weary travelers    An inbound hiker was nice enough to take this shot of us, man that pack looks heavy !

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