Porter and Cascade: #4 & #5

Date of Hike: 12/24/13

Cascade / Porter Trail: 5.9 miles (2,250 feet elevation gained)

Trip Report:
- Christmas Eve I woke up early to do a quick hike before heading back to RI to spend time with my family over the Holidays.  As I was driving from Lake Placid to the Cascade / Porter Trailhead it was still dark out but for the first time since arriving I could see clear skies!  Unfortunately, there was a cloud blanketing the summits of Cascade and Porter.
- Cascade and Porter are the two easiest peaks on the Forty-Sixer list.  The trail is gradual and views from Cascade are excellent on a clear day.
- The temperature hovered around the low teens for the entire hike.  The Artic blast of cold air froze everything that had turned to slush over the previous three days.  The hiking was much easier because of this, and the dusting of snow from the night before made it feel a little more like winter out there.  However, the warm snap did do a number to the snow levels and the trails were more in mid fall conditions with some snow and ice blanketing the trail.
- When I reached the junction that heads up to Cascade's peak I decided to head over to Porter first just in case the views opened up so on the way back I'd have visibility from Cascade.  That didn't end up happening so I was in the clouds on both summits.
- The highlights of the hike was a couple of ice stretches heading into the Cascade / Porter col and the very windy exposed approach to Cascade's summit. 
- I decided to jog down the mountain were I finally ran into other hikers.  A guy was out with his German Shepard and I saw two other hikers a few minutes from the trailhead.  They were all going to luck out as it looked like the cloud cover was about to clear.
- Back at the car I changed into warm clothes, watched as the spots along Route 73 filled up with cars as people went out to hike and had a brief conversation with another hiker about the trail conditions.
- I started my drive back to RI at 9:30 a.m. and as luck would have it the Great Range and the Giant Wilderness were in the clear and looked awesome as I drove through Keene Valley.  I remember when I finished my regular Forty-Sixer list that there was this great view of Giant Mountain from the Ausable Club, so I made a short detour off Route 73 up the road to the club to see Giant and take a picture before heading home to Lil' Rhody!
- It was a whacky first couple of days winter hiking.  I was zero for five for views, but the adventurous conditions made it an experience that was well worth it!

 A half moon falling over the Adirondacks
 Ascending the Cascade Trail
 A small snowy flat section below Cascade Mountain
 View of Lake Placid Valley
 Mud Pound and South Meadow Farm
 Cascade / Porter Trail Junction
 Approaching Porter's summit
 Porter Mountain, #4
 I spy a frosty trail sign!
 Porter Rock
 Ice flows!
 Heading up to Cascade's summit
 Cascade Mountain summit
 Cairn on the exposed ridge of Cascade Mountain
Summit of Cascade Mountain, #5
 Cascade Trail
 The icy Cascade Trail
 Cold but sunny morning down low, on the Cascade Trail
 Beginning of the Cascade Trail

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