Dial and Nippletop
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Dial & Nippletop, March 2004

Well, this trip started out to be Street & Nye but warm spring weather and a bit of rain raised water levels quite a bit in a few days so we changed plans on the drive up. Dial was in mind as a "plan b" and we decided to play it by ear whether we would bag Nippletop as well. We left the St. Hubert's lot at about 7:45 am. The mountains were socked in from all of the evaporating snow but our hopes were high for some views from the top. I went with some regulars, Brian, Dan, and Roger. All of these guys are adventurous enough to keep joining me. Dan and I did our first "high peak" together, Mt. Marcy in September of 2001. I went with Roger and Dan on their second attempt at Mt. Washington. We were successful! Brian and I have been hiking quite a few times together over the last 2 years, we're both seeking the 46er status. Anyway, these guys are on this website here and there.
The long walk before the REALLY long walk   On their way up the Ausable Club road.
Gateway to the AMR   The famous AMR gate, interesting woodwork!
Eerie fog, eh? I wonder what's up there?   Brian, Roger, and Dan taking an early break.
So, we started out carrying the snowshoes, knowing full well we would be needing them at some point. It wasn't long after we left the Lake Road and started our ascent toward the Noonmark fire location that we decided to put them on. Roger held out longer than the rest of us. I needed some additional traction pretty early on and Brian and Dan are just Lemmings I guess : )
You've heard of gorillas in the mist ..... this is a Dan in the mist   Dan coming through the mist as the snow gets deeper.
As you can see, the mountains were in a thick mist, it really made for an interesting experience. It was pretty much the same all day, but I still had hopes that Nippletop would be high enough to offer some views.
My land ....... and yours   Leaving the AMR property and entering my land!
After entering State land, we encountered the 1999 Noonmark fire area, it was a rather interesting part of the hike. I can only imagine what views we would have had on a clear day because the mountainside was wide open up there.
Interesting place   Here's a great shot of the boys cruising through the Noonmark burn area.
After leaving the burn area, we descended into a short but steep col before climbing to Bear Den Mt.
That first step is a doozy   This is when wearing snowshoes got real interesting!
The climb to Bear Den was short and steep, the snow was very deep (most of this hike is on the north facing slopes), the mountain has a nice top wooded with spruce, and it looks like a nice place to camp. It wasn't long before we were headed into another col and then up again to Dial. I don't know about the rest of the crew but I was beginning to feel the effects of this hike already by this time. We ate lunch on top of Dial (I can't believe I didn't take any pictures). It was here we had to decide what to do next, turn around or go on to Nippletop and finish the loop. Not wanting to go up and down again the way we came, we decided on the longer but hopefully easier loop hike.
Well worth the effort   The author on top of old nipple.
As you can see, I made it to my second peak of the day and # 17 on my 46er list. Yes, that is a hint of blue in the background. God decided to smile on us and give us a brief view from the top toward the west. I snapped away when I could but the views were literally there for a few seconds at a time as the wind blew the mist by. The pictures I did manage to get didn't do the experience justice.
The Great Range as islands in a sea of clouds   The great range as islands in a sea of clouds.
Well, they we were, on top of the world once again, wet and tired and 6.6 miles from the car. I wouldn't have it any other way!

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