Saddleback via the Garden

Three-day weekend obviously means we will be taking a trip, the question is where? The Adirondacks of course to get some more high peaks in was on the top of my list. I have never been to the LOJ parking lot or anywhere besides the Garden. After debating between the McIntyre range or Saddleback and Basin, I decided on Saddleback because I was concerned about the LOJ being busy since it was the 4th of July weekend.

Friday around one we get the car packed up and head up to Keene. On the way north it rained and stormed the whole way, this maybe an interesting hike tomorrow. When arriving in Keene the storm had passed. We stop by the Mountaineer to see if they have a lid for my Hydro flask, which got busted in Utah. I love my hydro flask and don’t know if I can make a hiking trip without it. Lucky for me they had a lid. Now to my favorite restaurant for a drink and snack before the trailhead. The ADK café has some amazing food and it a must stop for every trip to Keene, it is actually it Keene Valley but well worth the drive. Sometimes the service takes a bit but more time to hang out and have a beer or fab cocktail. At the ADK Café we order a beer, poutine, and pickles. Sometimes my food choices are a bit out of the ordinary but always sound amazing to me.

After a sleepless night with the whole family crammed in the back of the FJ 5:00 am seemed like a reasonable time to wake up. I get dressed and wait around for Garrett to wake up then we are on the trail. We make it to the Ore Brook lean-to before the current occupants are even awake. After dropping our large pack and switching to my running vest I am ready to tackle the summit. But first…coffee and a power muffin.  We eat breakfast by the river and soak in the beauty of the Adirondacks. I can’t think of a better place to have my morning coffee! 

Although the temperature is unseasonably cold the trails are not the muck and water we hiked in last year at this time.  I am beyond thankful for this and surprised due to the storm last night. Since the trails are a bit more hiker friendly we are able to reach the summit before lunch.  At the summit I regretted the decision to wear shorts because I never really warmed up and the wind. The game plan was to continue over Saddleback to Basin but due to the wind and my husband having some knee problems we head back down to the lean-to.


We arrive at the lean-to with plenty of time to spare before night. Maybe we could have slept in but I don’t think that was possible in the back of the FJ. Good think I packed in some beers for us. Note to self; always pack a deck of cards for those times you don’t hike all day. We have dinner of good to go curry, which is very delicious at the same riverside location as breakfast. A park ranger stops by to ensure we have a bear canister. I ask about her thoughts about the trails starting at the LOJ, she said it is always busy around holidays so I can sleep assured I made the correct decision.  At the lean-to we drift off to sleep with the setting sun.

This forest speaks to my heart more than anywhere else I have found. I love the sound of the trail, the smell of the trail, the fresh air that somehow seems like no other place on earth. Every morning I wake up in the wilderness is going to be a great day!

We hike out from the lean-to in time to hit up breakfast at the Noon Mark Diner. I would recommend going to the ADK café over the diner but some traffic detoured us this morning. We pick up a pie to go and head back to Ithaca. Along the way I get service and learn that Kristy got engaged on Friday, so it is home for a quick shower then off to dinner to celebrate!