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After a warmup 4k'er hike in New Hampshire on Saturday (Waumbek) I
headed over to New York to help my friend Bob near the end of his
personal 46er quest.  A lobbyist in DC, he only gets to do one or two
hikes a summer, so I knew that his plan to do an eighteen to twenty
mile hike of Colvin, Blake, Nippletop, and Dial was an ambitious day.
The latter three would be his 40th, 41st, and 42nd peaks,
respectively.

For what Bob lacks in hiking legs, he sure makes up for in
determination.  We enjoyed great views from Colvin of Upper and Lower
Ausable lakes and the Great Range.  Nippletop, however, was the treat
of the day.  After an arduous and unrelentingly steep climb up from
Elk Pass, we were rewarded with stellar views of much of the High
Peaks including: Whiteface, Esther, Giant, Rocky Peak Ridge, the Dix
Range, Allen, Santanoni, Skylight, the Great Range, Algonquin, Wright,
Tabletop, Big Slide, and Sawteeth.  The views from Nippletop has to be
one of my favorites in all of the High Peaks.

The almost seven mile descent included a walk through the scar left by
the 1999 Noonmark Fire.  First, it's impressive how quickly the forest
starts to regenerate after such a devastating fire (the thin, organic
soil was entirely scorched), second, the area is very unlike the rest
of the Adirondacks.  The soil is lacks the rich blackness and is
covered with young birches and grasses.  There are open ledges with
spectacular and unusual views of the Dix and Great Ranges.

Thirteen hours after we started, we were back at our car.  It was a
nice stretch of the legs.  Big Slide awaits Bob later this week.  Next
summer, he plans on finishing with a hike of Skylight, Gray, and
Marcy.

--Matt K.

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