Sawteeth Mountain
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Sawteeth Mountain, April 2006 (First Solo)

Well, number 19 on my list was also my first solo hike. I have wanted to do a solo for a while. This trip would prove to be a challenge physically. The route I chose was 12 miles long and I decided to ascend Sawteeth via the "scenic route" and descend via the Gothics trail with a side trip to Rainbow Falls (mandatory). The scenic route runs you along the Lower Ausable Lake for a while and then you start climbing straight up. There are some great lookouts of the Lake and the adjacent mountains along the way. After cruising the 3 miles on the Lake Road, the trail was good initially with the exception of the large boulders along the lake shore that make for slow going. The ascent was brutal in spots and there were plenty of blow-downs to contend with. In addition, I hit snow somewhere above 3000' and I was glad I brought the shoes and poles. Unfortunately, it wasn't good "winter" snow which makes many Adirondack trails easier to traverse. It was old snow and there were plenty of icy spots as well as rotting base and spruce traps. So, physically challenging were the operative words for this hike.

Gateway to the great Range   The recently renovated AMR gate welcomes you to the Great Range.
Brook trout heaven   One of the many cascades and crystal clear pools along the Ausable River.
Wish you were here  From one of the lookouts along the scenic route, Ausable Lake looms below.
Time to put on the snowshoes   Shortly after turning away from the Lake view, it got steeper and snowy.
This should be interesting with snowshoes   You should have seen me climbing this ladder with my snowshoes on. I'm glad it was there though.
No cougars on this trip ...... please   In a col between the teeth, the snow is very deep. Let's hope the cougars are sleeping
It just keeps getting better   More fun with ladders, again still glad that they're there.
# 19 summited in the clouds   On the summit of Sawteeth, in the clouds and alone!
The mighty Gothics   Before descending Sawteeth, Gothics came into view with the exception of the peak in the clouds.
Rainbow Falls   You can't pass by Rainbow Falls without taking the short side trip to capture the image.
Local trail guide   A very friendly White-tailed deer bids me adieu on the way out.

My first solo hike was a wonderful experience. I found myself pushing harder than I would if I hiked with others. I also enjoyed some very personal reflections (quiet time) that I may not have had the opportunity to do with a group. One thing to remember, make sure you listen to a good tune just before you get out of the car, because it will be playing in your head all day! Luckily for me, the last song I heard was "Celebrate" by Rare Earth. How fitting when you are in awe of the wilderness before you and around you. I did celebrate another day of living!

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