We've had a special trip on our calendar for a long time, and we were afraid Tracy's illness was going to keep us from it, but over the last week he made steady improvement, and now seems to be almost completely recovered. So on Friday, we drove to the Adirondacks to meet up with our very close friends for a memorial hike. Tracy's backpacking partner passed away a year and a half ago from cancer. Before he died, we told Bob we'd like to take some of his ashes to the high peaks in the Adirondacks where he and Tracy hiked every September. Even before Tracy's illness we had agreed that hiking to the top of Giant Mountain (our original plan) was probably overly ambitious for at least some of us. None of us, truthfully, had been on a trail for several years, and for four of us it had been a very long time. All of us hiked together when the kids were young, and during that time, we climbed several of the 46 High Peaks.
Saturday we hiked Mt. Jo, one of the shorter trails with a bit less incline, and not one of the 46. Nonetheless, the trail was more strenuous than any of us remembered. All of us had hiked it many years ago when our kids were quite young. But we did great.
Here we are at the summit of Mt. Jo--me and Tracy, Cathy, Rachel, and Sarah---Bob's wife and two daughters.
It was a cloudy, overcast day, but the clouds had lifted from the summit by the time we arrived. We had a lovely view of Heart Lake. The trailhead leaves not far from the lake.
We were, not surprisingly, not alone at the summit, but were able to hike into a clearing and have some quiet time to remember Bob and all the wonderful times we had with him on these mountains. We all agreed, it was just as we hoped it would be, and we knew Bob would be pleased. We spent two nights near Whiteface Mountain, and enjoyed our time together there as well.
On Sunday after a wonderful breakfast at our favorite diner in Lake Placid, Tracy and I headed off for the Wild Center. For many years, while Tracy and Bob hiked, Cathy and I had a girls' weekend in the Lake Placid area. When the Wild Center opened up, we spent a wonderful morning there, and then returned with the guys several years later. Since that last visit, they've built and opened the Wild Walk, an elevated walkway among the treetops of the forest which Tracy was anxious to see.
It does give you a very different perspective, and we thoroughly enjoyed our time there. The Wild Center also houses a wonderful interpretive center. Since we had previously spent a lot of time there, we walked through more quickly this time.
We drove home through Old Forge where we had a late lunch and visited the Old Forge Hardware---one of Tracy's favorite establishments. I have a photo from there for the Summer Scavenger Hunt (as well as one from the Wild Center), but I'll save those for the SPSH link up at Mary-Lou's on Friday.