We arrived at the Ausable club trail head at 7am. It was just Derek, and I on this excursion. It was December 16, 2006 and we began our trudge up the Lake road. There is often complaints about this road, as it seems to go on and on and just seems like a monotonous trudge. I will say it is nice at the end of a hike to travel back down it as it really requires no thinking of where to plant your feet, unlike the trails where you have to step over rocks and roots. So basically you just put it in overdrive and motor down to the gate. If you are lucky you will see deer. The deer in here know they are safe and very relaxed.
We arrived at the trail to Elk Pass at 8:16 am. Shortly after this junction we met up with an injured hiker that had a dislocated knee. She was in good spirits and was being helped by 3 other hikers in her party, they did not need our help so we continued on, that was around 11:00 am. There are sections of this trail that are steep, icy, a lot of rocks and roots. Just below the ridge trail junction you start to come out of the trees and are afforded some beautiful views. We got to the ridge trail junction at 11:55 am where we met up with a friendly Canadian solo hiker, it was afterwards that I would learn that this was the famous PinPin from the forums.
We arrived at the summit of Nippletop at 12:18 pm, we again had very little views as it was over cast and snow squalls. It wasn't a total loss as the sun was begging to come out, and we did enjoy a few breaks in the clouds that provided limited views of the Lower Great Range. While we were enjoying the views we were joined by Cedarvale, Randomscooter, who both helped taking our pictures and provided some feedback on the trip over to Dial.
Shortly after our visit we were off to summit Dial Mountain, what a wonder ridge walk it was over. It was all gradual rolling terrain, a nice jaunt. We arrived at Dial Summit at 2pm on nobody else around. It was very relaxing to enjoy the peace and quite. We didn't stay long, and were soon on our way over to Noonmark shoulder. This is where the trail goes and skirts Noonmark Mountain, and then drops down into the valley. We arrived back at the Lake road at 5pm, at 515pm we were signing out at the gate where we ran into the injured hiker and her party.
Another fabulous day out with my son.