Cascade Mountain & Porter Mountain
Cascade: 1st Peak Hiked, Order #36, Elevation 4098'
Porter: 2nd Peak Hiked, Order #38, Elevation 4059'
Duration: 10 Hours
Distance: 6.5 Miles
September 17, 2002
I hiked Cascade and Porter on a whim while looking for a longer hike than the two hour treks that I’d grown accustomed to. I began hiking alone from Giant’s Washbowl to Roaring Brook trail off of 9N back in about 1997 or so. At that point, I was quite apprehensive about hiking alone in the dense woodlands. At the same time, I’m part Native American and also feel at home in the woods. It’s an interesting paradox to live with. My next hike alone was Pitchoff Mountain, just a day or so prior to this hike. Pitchoff was a truly amazing vantage point to view the mountains. I chose Cascade since I know the area and it isn’t in very deep. It was a beautiful way to start the forty six, though I didn’t know that’s what I was doing at the time. Unfortunately, I didn’t begin to journalize my
hikes until a year later.
I began my day at about 8:00. The day was hazy and dark. The clouds were very low at about 3000’ and I could not see Cascade, but opted to hike regardless of the weather. I remember the trail as being quite steep, muddy and rocky. Of coarse, several subsequent hikes also fit that description and many have been much harder.
I got to one of the first rock face clearings and found the visibility to be about ten feet. The view would have been marvelous, but all I saw was clouds and mist blowing quickly past. I did take a break to eat before the remaining trek to the peak was somewhere ahead about ½ mile.
Cascade was a mountain of false summits: something I didn’t realize ahead of time. I emerged from the dense path onto an up-sloping false summit of rocks that had to be climbed in order to reach the true summit. In the gloom, Cascade was dismal and uninviting. There were a few others who braved the day as well. I reached the summit in about an hour and forty-five minutes to find a stiff wind of about forty m.p.h. and a completely obscured view, which was wet and chilling. I looked over the edge and knew the drop that awaited, but was unseen.
I stayed long enough on the summit to explore a bit and find Colvin’s Survey bolt and several rock cairns. Eventually, I gave up hope that the day would clear enough to do any panoramic photography and worked my way back to the turnoff to Porter Mountain. This was not in my original plan, but I figured...what the heck, it was right around the
The hike into the col was a rather dismal walk of twenty minutes in the overcast day. It quickly descended and then climbed Porter. In my naivety, I expected another grand summit of bare rock. This was not so on Porter. There was a large rock, but not much of a view in comparison to that which I know could have been on Cascade. The path simply continued over to St. Huberts and The Garden.
I opted to return down the mountain. I greatly enjoyed the hike, but was disappointed in the views so I decided to make it an early day and head back. At the first rock face overlook, I noticed it was clearing slightly and started talking to a gentleman and his girlfriend. He was a professional photographer who, I later found out, had done some of the photographs that hit the news during the 9/11 attack. He was trying to move from the city and into a more rural area. This and other conversations were held as we climbed back up to the summit of Cascade where the clouds were just beginning to thin. The sun came out and stayed for the next three hours that we spent eating, talking and just enjoying the
The summit of Cascade was a 360 degree view encompassing the McIntyre Range, Giant, Whiteface and a plethora of others. To date, it is one of the most memorable summits I’ve climbed. There was just so much space to explore and so many different views to soak in. My most dramatic pictures of Algonquin were snapped on Cascade, which was largely due to the lighting created by the low clouds that had been such a nuisance earlier.
We started our descent sometime near 4:00 p.m. We kept a pleasant pace and the miles went by quickly with conversation. My new acquaintances still had about five hours to drive home when we reached the trailhead on Route 73 at about 6:00 p.m. I had unknowingly begun my quest to become a forty-sixer. Later that evening, I began to plan my next hike…a hike whose summit I had photographed from