Polar Explorer Eric Larsen
Day 5 & 6:New YorkATHON
Eric Larsen
27 October 2019 | New York
Its been an intense couple of days as we made our way through the Giant Wilderness. The terrain was both fun and surprisingly (for me) challenging. Now I know why the Marketing Director for Osprey Packs, Vince, told me prior to our departure that, â??I have a soft spot in my heart for upstate NY, especially the Adirondacks.â?

In Colorado the trails may lead to 14,000 foot giants but the route to most is, for the most part, steady and well groomed. Here, the mountains may not be as towering but the climb to just three or four thousand feet (1/3 the elevation of most Colorado trail heads - not the summit) is a full on full body scramble. Iâ??m not going to lie, I gravely underestimated the terrain. It is also lush. Colorado feels like a desert in comparison.

To get to the top of Giant Mountain took nearly two hours. In our path, were huge blocks of wet granite. It was physically and mentally engaging work pulling, pushing and prying our way up. At one point, several fallen trees detoured us off the main trail and we spent 30 minutes zig zagging back and forth before finding the trail with the help of the Garmin 66i.

The reward was an incredible view and an even more precarious down climb on the other side of the mountain. None of what we were traversing was that technical but one slight misstep could easily lead to a very serious injury.

To relieve the stress on Gusâ??s feet, I took all the group gear he was carrying and his clothes. Even with the lighter load we still snailed along in the uneven terrain. Finally, darkness came and we decided to stop at one of the lean-toâ??s to camp. Not expecting to find anyone there, we were surprised meet two guys with easily the most comfortable backcountry set up I had ever seen. They had been there since 3 pm (it was now 7) and had split as dried what seemed like 3 cords of wood. We had a nice conversation about winter camping and gear. They were climbing Dix in the morning and regaled is with tales of their failed winter summit attempt.

We were up and on the trail by 7 am on Saturday and literally crawling up the side of the mountain by 8. Luckily, we veered off before the summit and headed down to Hunterâ??s pass. From there it was a breezy six miles to Elk Lake and then further down the road, our Trek 520 bikes.

We quickly changed out of our hiking gear, packed our bikes, then rolled effortlessly down the road. After the choppy abrupt pace of hiking using the mechanical advantage of gears and wheels made it feel like we were flying as we rode, quite literally, into the sunset.

Please remember, giving back is also a primary goal of this adventure. Please help raise $5,000 to support NYC ICO adventures. Donations will go directly to their programming and can be made through the online fundraising page: https://www.classy.org/campaign/new-yorkathon-supporting-nyc-inspiring-connections-outdoors/c252861

Image: Gus in one of our many river crossing.
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