Macomb, South Dix and East Dix
Today a friend and I hiked 3/5 of the Dix Range, on the first sunny day in a week. We set out from the Elk Lake trailhead at 6am, walking through the wet, muddy and rocky Hunter’s Pass trail for about an hour. Just beyond the wooden footbridge that crosses the brook, a rock cairn marks the start of the Macomb herd path at 2.3 miles from the trailhead. To pick up the path you actually have to turn right at the cairn and walk through the campsite area.
The first portion of the herd path was a piece of cake, but what makes Macomb particularly interesting is the rock slide you have to climb up a large section of the mountain. The rocks were loose and crumbly and we picked our routes carefully. Once we reached the top, the path steered us back into the woods for a bit and eventually we reached the summit, which we shared with a couple of other hikers.
The walk from the summit of Macomb down to the junction with the South Dix and Lillian Brook paths must have been uneventful, because I already don’t remember it. The junction is marked by a rock cairn; we turned right at the cairn and headed toward South Dix, which is in the process of being renamed Carson Peak after Russell Carson, a founding member of the Adirondack Mountain Club. After just a few minutes we were out of the trees and climbing up open rocks. I really liked this portion of the climb – something about it reminded me a little of hiking up Little Haystack and Haystack. The views around us were wide open and provided quite a visual backdrop. After climbing up the rocks the path veered back into the trees, and we reached the South Dix summit shortly thereafter.
From there we headed over to East Dix, also known as Grace. East Dix is in the process of being renamed to honor Grace Hudowalski, the first female 46er (#9) and a founding member of the 46er organization. Grace has a really amazing, 360 degree summit – the most beautiful of the three mountains we climbed today.
To return to the trailhead we had to reclimb South Dix; in the col between South Dix and Macomb was the rock cairn marking the start of the Lillian Brook herd path. We took this path down the mountain until it connected with the Slide Brook trail, which led back to the parking lot. It was wet and muddy, steep in parts near the top, and not my favorite Adirondack trail (neither was the Hunter’s Pass trail, for that matter).
We were back at the trailhead at 5:30 p.m.; not bad time, considering the very long summit breaks we took throughout the day. All of the herd paths are very straight forward and easy to follow on this 12 mile, 4 peak loop. And just a note that the black flies are out in full force right now, if any Adirondack hikers are wondering. Despite being slathered in deet all day, I have approximately 50 bites on my arms.
Great, sunny day in the Adirondacks, and looking forward to finishing up the rest of the Dixes later this summer.