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Old 12-21-2019, 03:18 PM   #1
Eddie Fournier
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Porter traverse from Marcy airfield 12/20

The approach to Porter Mt. on the Ridge Trail from the East is not very popular compared to coming up on the Cascade trail. It is much longer, steeper, and has significantly more elevation gain. However, it does provide nice viewpoints from Blueberry Mt.

I had planned an out and back to Porter. When I got to the ample parking at Marcy field, there were no other cars and only 2-3'' of snow. Still, I put on my snowshoes, knowing the snow would deepen quickly, which it did.

After 1/2 I realized I was off-track. And that would be the theme of the day, since I was breaking trail the whole way and the snow covered any tracks that might have existed. It was tiresome, both physically, but also mentally as I peered through my frosted glasses to try to find which two spruce trees had a path between them and often guessing incorrectly.

But I finally got to the summit Blueberry Mt in 2.25 hours, which was pretty much according to plan.


A bit past the summit of Blueberry Mt is this view of Porter (left) and Cascade (right).



The next mile to the Porter ridge was tough. The snow was now over 12'' deep, but much more than that in some places (2-3'). There was no ice nor any cliffs to climb, so it was not a technical hike by any means, but finding an d making the path was taking its toll. I was hardly moving, but I told myself that once I got on the ridge, things would become easier.

However, the ridge is essentially wooded. The snow was deeper and the trail markers became almost non-existent. I realized a change of plans would be required. I could either turn around and keep Porter for another day or do the traverse and come down the Cascade trail and bum a ride from other hikers or call a cab.

I chose the latter option. Knowing I did not have to go back through my half-assedly broken trail, I gained renewed motivation and got to the summit of Porter.

Porter and Whiteface:


The Great Range:


As soon as I left the summit, the trail became a well-established highway. Snowshoes were not even required. There were several patches of ice however.

I met 5-6 hikers that were coming up, but none coming down. When I got to the trailhead, I turned on my phone and spent the next 20 minutes trying to find a taxi company. All the phone numbers I found were either disconnected or were for a company that did not service the area. No hikers had come back to parking area (and there were only 3 cars there). So for the 1st time in my life, I resorted to hitchhiking. Thankfully, a nice resident of Keene Valley stopped and brought me directly to my car, while we exchanged hiking-related stories. What a nice way to end this outing!

Last edited by Eddie Fournier; 12-22-2019 at 06:34 PM..
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Old 12-21-2019, 05:44 PM   #2
Woodly
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That's an adventure you won't soon forget. Nice photos.
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Old 12-21-2019, 06:00 PM   #3
TCD
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That's always a good trip. I have done it in both directions several times, including at night in the winter. Trail is "pretty good" (but needs work) as far as Blueberry. And of course it's a highway from Porter down to Route 73 in Cascade Pass. The in between section is an unmaintained mess. Good job getting through!
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Old 12-22-2019, 08:52 AM   #4
JoeCedar
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I tell people that this hike is like climbing Mt Marcy in half the distance. The section above Blueberry is not maintained and is very rough in sections.


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Old 12-22-2019, 01:14 PM   #5
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This is also an amusing data point in the "overuse and trail conditions" discussion. The "heavily used" trail is in great shape and is very good travel; the far less used trail from Blueberry to Porter is a mess.
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Old 12-22-2019, 06:34 PM   #6
Eddie Fournier
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Yes, from what I could tell the Cascade trail seemed to be in great shape, I could've run most of it if I wasn't so spent.
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