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Monday, August 31, 2015

Dix Range(Macomb, South Dix, Grace, Hough)-Adirondacks-Day 1

Went on an overnight trip to the Adirondack High Peaks with a couple of old friends this weekend.  We wanted to hike the entire Dix Range in the southeastern High Peaks and our game plan was to nab four(Macomb, South Dix, Grace, Hough) the first day and then summit Dix on day two.  We arrived at the Elk Lake Road parking area at about 7am Friday morning and were lucky enough to get a spot by the trail head.  After getting all geared up and ready to go we were ready to hit the trail, all in great spirits.
 By 8am we were on our way on the Dix Trail.
 The Dix trail starts at the south end of Elk Lake and then runs along its east side, crossing Little Sally Brook, Big Sally Brook, and Slide Brook on our way to the Lillian Brook Lean To.
 After dropping some of our heavier gear at the Lean To we returned .3 miles back to a rock cairn, which marked the herd path to Macomb Mountain.
 The herd path closely follows Lillian Brook much of the way, even crossing it more than once.
 The path gets increasingly steeper towards the col.  Although unmarked, it is pretty easy to follow.
We soon arrived at Macomb's 4405 summit, with broad views to the south, west and north.  Elk Lake is the most prominent feature in the middle of this panorama.
The summit of Macomb.
After soaking in the vista from the summit, we descended back down to the col between Macomb and South Dix before beginning the ascent up the rocky trail.
I apologize for the sweat on the lens, but this was a very fun and gorgeous rock scramble up the side of South Dix.
Continuing up South Dix.
The completely open climb afforded a great view back at Macomb Mountain, which we had just come off of.
The actual summit of 4068 foot South Dix(soon to renamed Carson Peak) is wooded, with the only marking we could find wbeing the letters SD carved into a tree.
 Continuing past South Dix, we followed the herd path northeast to East Dix(Grace Peak).

Grace Peak's 4026 foot summit provides incredible open vistas to the north, east and south.  
Looking south from Grace.   Although only ranked 42nd out of the 46 high peaks in height, the views rank much higher on the list.
A sliver of Schroon Lake can be seen to the nearby south and east.
After enjoying our lunch at the summit area, we retraced our steps back towards South Dix's summit, where a rock cairn marks a herd path towards Hough Peak.
Almost immediately after starting this path, you are rewarded with a view of Hough(to the right and partially behind the tree) and Dix.

The path descends steadily down to a col, where a camping spot with fire ring can be found.  From there the path is steep and rugged up Hough's east side.
Just before Hough's summit, there is a rocky ledge which provides fantastic views.  Here's a view of Grace Peak and its slides.
A panorama from Hough's south ledges. 
About .2 of a mile past the ledges is the actual summit of 4409 foot Hough Peak.
A great view of nearby Dix Mountain from Hough.
A panoramic view from South Dix all the way over to Dix.
 We retraced our steps back down to the col between Hough and South Dix, where another herd path heads steeply back down to the Lillian Brook path.  This path is a little harder to locate but it is basically a rock cairn several yards behind the fire pit at the camping spot. From there it is a pretty steep descent(36% grade).  We arrived back at the Lillian Brook Lean To at dinner time and had the place to ourselves.  There was another couple of groups camped near the brook and further back in the woods.  We ate some dinner, set up camp and were all ready for a good night's sleep.

Completed about 13 miles RT for the day.  We all slept like a rock.

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