After some quick internet searching, I found an inn that was pet-friendly AND had a great deal going on (buy two nights and get the second night half off and pets were free)! We got to the Rooster Comb Inn and made the Wolf Jaw room our home for the weekend.
The first night was a little stressful, only because Bernie was barking at people who arrived at midnight, so I didn't sleep the best. Regardless, we woke up at 5:40am and got ready for our long-ish day ahead!
Mike registering us, we didn't need our headlamps once we got going
The other nice thing about the inn we were staying at was that it was only 5 minutes away from the trailhead where we were starting our hike! We got to the Garden parking lot a little bit before 7am and there were already some cars there, though not too many. We got our stuff together and after registering, we got on our way.
Our plan for the day was to take the Brothers to Big Slide and then add on more by going to Yard (a non-high peak) and looping back via Johns Brook Lodge.
Bernie is all ready to go!
If you start the hike by going over the Brothers, you do start to ascend pretty quickly. It is a nice walk in the woods for a bit before you get the first views of the mountains.
Sunrise in the mountains
Mike and Bernie making their way up
We could hear some other people behind us as we were hiking and I figured that they would catch up to us and pass us relatively soon. After stopping briefly at an overlook, this part of the hike had so many amazing views, we kept going on the trail. Or at least what we thought was the trail.
It doesn't get much better than this
Mike and Bernie appreciating the sunrise and views
We kept going and I had this feeling that we weren't going the right way. The trail seemed really sketchy and the people behind us never caught up to us. Eventually the "trail" ended and we turned around. We had missed a turn going up some rocks to the left, so we were now back on track.
Bernie's tongue makes me laugh
Eventually a group of three people caught up to us, we chatted for a bit about the views and some other hikes, and then we let them go ahead of us. We caught back up to them again, but after checking out the views some more they got ahead of us.
I love the mountains!
We kept making our way over the three Brothers, the first two have great views and the third is in the woods. It started to get cold in the exposed areas, so I put on my down jacket.
Pretty amazing photo that Mike took
While on the third Brother it started to get icy so we put on our microspikes. We ended up taking them off for a little while and then we put them back on when we saw that it was really icy again!
The start of the ice
You want me to walk on this?!
We eventually got to an intersection with a sign that said, ".3 miles - Big Slide". I was happy that we were almost there! Before we headed up, these two guys asked if we had been camping (there were some people camping with a dog on one of the Brothers). When we said no, he said that he thought we had been in front of them and I mentioned that we went the wrong way at one point! They went down toward Johns Brook Lodge and we went up for the final push to Big Slide.
I don't want to go up these stairs!
These stairs were tough to navigate, at least for me
Even though this was only .3 miles, it was probably the toughest section of the day! Poor Bernie slid down a section of the mountain since it was so icy, but luckily he was able to stop himself in time! We had to get creative getting ourselves and him up the rock slide, it was a bit stressful at times but we managed.
The views were worth all of the struggle though and we were really rewarded at an overlook and at the summit.
After making our way up the final scramble, we were at the summit! The three people we had already talked to were still sitting up at the top and we chatted with them some more. One of them mentioned that it was 11:11am, so we took a little over three hours to get to the summit. We all ate some snacks and took in the views. Our only complaint was that it was so sunny you couldn't really appreciate the mountain range as much!
Our 5th High Peak!
Bernie loves the mountains!
My guys appreciating the view
Another couple made it to the summit while we were still appreciating the views and taking a break. We chatted with them for awhile about the peaks and their packs (we still need some, our Ironman backpacks were alright but not the best for hiking) before we continued on our way.
We started to head down toward Yard, which isn't a high peak because there isn't enough prominence (elevation change) between it and Big Slide.
Regardless, we wanted to do a loop hike instead of an out and back (good thing since going down Big Slide would have been extremely dangerous with Bernie!) so on we went. Yard and Big Slide are less than 1.5 miles apart so we got to another sign relatively quickly.
We didn't know if that was the summit or not and while we were debating what to do, another couple came from the trail we would be heading down. The four of us wandered around some of the bushwhacked trails at the top and Mike and I finally decided we had probably walked on the summit at some point (there weren't any views up there anyway).
The last good views of the day
We parted ways with the other couple (who we later found out were staying at the same inn as us!) and we headed down Yard toward Johns Brook Lodge. The rest of the hike was primarily in the woods, so we didn't get nice views like the beginning of the hike. We had about 6 miles to go to get back to the car!
I wonder how much water this gets in the wet seasons?
Follow the yellow arrow!
We didn't see anyone else for the rest of our hike (except the same couple we saw on Yard at the register at the end of our hikes), and we just enjoyed our time in the woods.
Some water crossings didn't have a bridge
Some did have bridges
We stopped at Johns Brook Lodge to take some pictures and then we continued on our way. We only had 3.5ish miles to go!
Like Mike said, nice to see where you're going, where you've come from and where you could go!
After Johns Brook Lodge the rest of the hike was really easy (Mike even said that we could pretty much run on this trail). We picked up the pace and before we knew it, we only had .5 miles to go.
Bern has a grump face!
Someone is tired!
The perfect spot for a family photo!
We ended our hike with the sunset, about 12 miles and 9.5 hours after we started.
Being a responsible hiker and checking us out
Our little family had a great hike and we already can't wait until we are back in the Adirondacks!