• Michael Balthazor

Dix Range

Time to knock out the Dix Range. At 15 miles and a gain of 5335’, this needed to be an overnight trip.

I met Trevor in Utica after work on Friday, and we met Mike and Will off exit 25 at the Stewarts. The four of us arrived at the Dix mountain trailhead at 8 PM snagging the last two spots in the parking lot at the end of elk road.

By the time we signed the registry the sun was going down. The trek felt quick, we arrived at the Slide Brook lean-to around 9:30 PM only to find the entire place packed. No joke...we couldn’t find a single flat spot within 1000' of the lean-to. We did manage to find a small spot just big enough for the tent and hammocks.

We started the morning bright and early at 7 am (fine, we slept in). I pumped water while Trevor boiled water for breakfast.

We started up the Slide Brook trail and before long we were at the base of the slide. The slide was technical and at times a little sketchy with all of the loose rock. (Note to fellow hikers, be careful of those below you). There was a lot of zig-zagging across the slide, so we eventually decided to death march up.



From the top of the slide you can see Elk Lake spread out below framed by the trees of the peak from side to side. Then to the far right, you see the rest of the range that we will have to conquer.



We took a couple of goofy pictures at the top of Macomb and by 9 AM we were off to South Dix. It was a quick descent and took us about 45 min. We didn’t stay long, dropped our packs, and were off to Grace Peak.



Macomb MTN



Some of you may want to call it East Dix, but as I have hiked and learned more about Grace, I have come to respect Grace and her accomplishments with the 46er club.



By the time we made it back to South Dix the elevation was starting to get to me. We hit the summit of Hough Peak by 12:30 PM. Although the trek to Hough gave me the dazed and confused look, we felt awesome that four of the five peaks were done by lunchtime!



The ridgeline trail to Dix gets steep and sketchy.



Finally, by 1:30 PM we were at the top of Dix. It was a BEAUTIFUL, drop-dead gorgeous day. We couldn’t have asked for anything better. The clouds were scattered across the sky just out of reach.



We spent way too long on top of Dix, but for good reason. It has an extremely picturesque view in all directions. To the east, you can see the Vermont Green Mountains, the Adirondack Northway winding through the valley, and to the southeast, you see the entire Dix range we just conquered.




As our food and water began to dwindle, we started the descent down the Beckhorn. This was a long and fast descent. Our feet and knees started feeling it here, I was ready to get off this rock.

At this point in the hike, the pictures stopped, and we all wanted to get out.


We passed a couple of ornithologists (the bird guys) and asked what the bid was that was following us along the entire trail. By entire trail, I literally mean from Elk road. He told us it was the White-throated Sparrow. See link à (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sL_YJC1SjHE)


We stopped all Lillian Brook for water and a fresh pair of socks. When we got back to camp, we decided to pack up and just get home. It was a long day, but with plenty of light left, we made the trek to Elk road. Arrived to the car by 6:30 PM, exhausted but accomplished.


Michael: 14/46 Trevor: 10/46

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