Dix Mountain & Hough Peak

September 12, 2015

We started this trip with the plan to climb the entire Dix Range (yet again). We arrived at the Dix trailhead at 5:30am to a full parking lot. Again. We were not happy. So we drove back out to the spare parking area, two miles back down the rocky road. We decided to just park and walk the road to the trailhead. We were seriously determined to climb something in the Dix range! Since we had a two mile walk, we were able to figure out what we would actually climb, since the drive back out combined with the two mile road walk took almost an hour – an hour we thought we’d be spending on trail. So we decided on Dix and Hough.

We passed a number of people camping to the lean-tos and campsites, and we also saw a few other hikers. The trail was relatively flat for the first couple miles. After that, the trail turned into rock steps. But I actually don’t mind the rock steps like I used to! It really gets your legs warmed up. We reached the Dix via the Beckhorn trail around 9am. We took a quick break for some food and then started to head up. The trail really wasn’t too difficult over all. Again, a lot of rock steps. The most difficult part of this entire trip was the Beckhorn!! I kept saying “how will we know when we reach the Beckhorn? it’s not like there’s gonna be a sign….” to which Alex replied, “Oh, you’ll know when we get there.” And I did. The rock faces weren’t so bad, but once I would gain a little and look back, I would get so scared and say “let’s keep moving.” My fear of heights really didn’t like the Buckhorn. We reached one particularly scary spot, where I thought I was going to fall off the mountain. Because I’m only 5’4″, I have a hard time with really big steps. To get up this ledge I think i would have had to do a split. I tried but couldn’t get up. So Alex pulled me up. I pushed off and grabbed his hand and when he started to pull my arm to help me up, my feet slipped out from under me and I was laying on my stomach half off this giant ledge! My shirt somehow gripped the rock really well so I didn’t slip. I yelled to Alex to keep pulling and he got me up! It felt like forever, but it was only a few seconds on that particular rock face. There may have been a better spot where I could have climbed up this section easier, but I didn’t see it at the time. This was probably the most terrifying thing to happen to me so far in the high peaks.

When we finally reached the top of the Beckhorn, we could see the summit of Dix! What a great feeling knowing it was RIGHT THERE! It only took about 10 minutes to get to the summit. We reached the summit around 11:30. We could see some dark clouds looming ahead, but luckily they were way above the mountains. There was a great breeze on the top of Dix. There were some amazing views and only a few other people around, which was awesome. We even saw a women reach the Dix summit to finish her 46! So cool. We hung out for about half an hour and then decided to head onto Hough.

IMG_0084IMG_0086Admiring the Great RangeIMG_0098One of many summit markers we saw on top

IMG_0106IMG_0109Giant in the background!

IMG_0110IMG_0112Looking back at the Beckhorn from the trail right below Dix. So crazy.

We left Dix and got back to the Beckhorn in no time. We found the herd path to Hough and started going down. If I were on my own, I don’t think I would have been able to find the herd path! It kind of just looked like it went down the side of the mountain, but it was a pretty decent trail. You could definitely tell the difference between Dix’s maintained trail and the herd path – I think it’s almost like a different type of hiking altogether. There were a couple spots where the trail was difficult to follow, but we figured it out. It took us about an hour from the Dix summit to the Hough summit. The trail really wasn’t very difficult. The only section where it got rough was toward the top of Hough. The trail was pretty washed out, but we just took our time going up the more sketchy areas. We reached the top of Hough around 1.IMG_0121

The summit was pretty small, but it was so cool to look back at Dix and say “wow, we were on that an hour ago!” Another group reached the summit just moments after we did, so we ate something quickly, took a couple pictures and headed out. The trail going down from Hough wasn’t bad. The only area where it was really steep was near the top. There was one spot coming down where Alex kind of squeezed between two boulders/a crevasse, while I backed down this wall of stones that kind of looked like a brick wall from the bottom. I really wish I had taken a picture of it, because I still can’t believe I came down it!! It would have been impossible to climb back up that thing! But my feet fit on the little steps so I knew it wouldn’t be the most difficult task of the day after the Beckhorn!

We got back to the main trail (I believe this is where the Hough trail meets the Slide brook trail) in about two hours. From there it only took about an hour and a half back to the trailhead. I usually have a very difficult time on the way out because my knees ache so bad and I have horrible balance which slows me down. But it actually wasn’t too bad this time! We got to the trailhead at 4:30, and knew we still had two miles to walk on the road back to our car. Luckily for us, a man we had met and spoke to a number of times throughout the day was also at the trailhead and offered us a ride back to our car! His name was Karl, and we had seen him many times during our trip – he was very friendly and I hope we see him again on another mountain some day! It was so nice of him to offer us a ride back to our car from the trailhead and we were so thankful! Another successful day in the Adirondacks! 16/46

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