My Dad, Future 46er

Last year, I started my journey toward becoming an Adirondack 46er, with the goal of hiking all 46 high peaks in the Adirondack Park. Every weekend, I drove up north to my parents’ home with a new adventure waiting.

During that effort, my father supported me through each peak. With all that was involved, he was there to drive me when needed, watch my dog when he couldn’t tag along, share a growler of post-hike beer, and make sure my pack was well-supplied with emergency gear. He even double- and triple-checked that I kept it in my pack, despite the annoying extra weight it added. And, as he was there for me every step of the way in accomplishing that goal, little did I know that while I had always looked up to him in life, he was now looking up to me.

After I had finished my journey, it was now my dad’s turn. When he expressed interest in starting the high peaks and asked me about where to begin, I couldn’t wait to share everything with him. After completing Cascade and Porter Mountains, we talked about what we could conquer next, together.

We decided on Big Slide Mountain for Father’s Day weekend. Hiking that via the Three Brothers Trail is a views for days-type of hike, and I really wanted to wow him. Despite his protesting the early morning alarm, we coffee’d up and hit the trail at 6 a.m. sharp.

Once there, we took our time, enjoying the cool morning and quiet trail before the crowds would hit in a few hours. Usually, I am trying to hike fast when I am alone or with friends, but this time was different. It was enjoyable to just take our time and spend it together.

Because my dad is not a daily hiker, this mountain was a big task to conquer. However, regardless of his exhaustion at times, he still managed to crack jokes and make every stranger we came in contact with laugh and smile. It wouldn’t be a day spent with my dad if he didn’t push the humor boundary a few times.

On this already-beautiful day, we lucked out and were fortunate enough to have the summit to ourselves for a few moments. There, as we enjoyed the breathtaking views over some swigs of Fireball and snacks, we sat relishing in our accomplishment but still wishing there were a McDonald’s at the top.

At the end of the day, I saw the same passion and excitement for the high peaks in my dad that I have in myself. A spark was lit, and since, he has conquered more on his own. Now, the two of us have plans to climb many more together this summer, starting with this coming Father’s Day weekend. I can’t wait to join him on his own journey of becoming a 46er, and to continue our new Father’s Day tradition of hiking together in the best place in the world.

My Dad, 46er