This was my second visit to Gothics but the first visit for my friend Gary. The weathermen predicted Sunny but actually it was mostly cloudy and hazy. I heard that the haze came from wildfires in Canada. The weather was in the low to mid 70's and was very comfortable. There were no bugs out.
Gary and I met at the parking lot for the AMR at 6 AM and trudged 4 miles up the dirt road to get to the start of the Weld trail, which we reached at 7:55 AM, taking time to look at Lower Ausable Lake and the Indian Head rock formation. The lower reaches of the Weld trail were in very good condition and a joy to hike on. We had a view of Rainbow Falls from the trail as we went.
At 10:16 AM we reached the col between Sawteeth and Pyramid Peak which I decided should be called the Bud Collier Col. Then we started up the steep, grueling ascent to Pyramid Peak, full of boulders and rocks to climb over. By 11:45 we reached the windy summit of Pyramid Peak, and for a brief time we were the only ones there. I had lunch and enjoyed the views. Up close there are strikingly magnificent views of the slides on Gothics and on Basin Mountain. There were two climbers going up the slides on Gothics. The distant views were great but dimmed a bit due to haze. Marcy stood out but you could see many other high peaks as well as Lower Ausable Lake and a series of lakes beyond it. There were some dark clouds high over Mt Marcy. There was a group of hikers on the unnamed rocky peak between Gothics and Saddleback and we could hear them when they sang a few songs. Some other hikers came up and spoke with us, then we left, going down steeply off Pyramid and then back up steeply to Gothics. Coming up Gothics I saw some cloudberries but I was too busy trying to climb up to stop and take pictures of them.
We arrived at the lower west lookout of Gothics at 1:06 PM where there was a welcome strong wind to cool us off. We walked along the summit to get to the main and highest lookout at the high point of the mountain. Along the way I saw some flowering sheep laurel. At the summit there were a number of hikers including some doing a traverse of the peaks from the Garden and one who said Gothics was his first high peak. We rested below the summit out of the wind; there are plenty of ledges here for everyone. I took a picture of some sandwort. There were good views of Marcy, Basin, Big Slide, Cascade, Porter and other mountains. From the ledges on the south there were good views of Noonmark, Giant, Round, Dix, Nippletop, and other mountains. I say good instead of great because there was a haze that blurred and darkened the long distance views.
At 1:45 we started down off Gothics towards the col between Gothics and Armstrong. We met a couple of young ladies coming up who said we would get to go up a series of ladders, which we did. Going downhill I strained a ligament or muscle in my left knee which slowed me down a lot the rest of the day because my left knee was not happy when it had to bend significantly, which was constantly. We went down the Beaver Meadow trail which involves a lot of scrambling and is overall a very rough and poorly constructed trail. It seemed to go down and down interminably. Eventually at 6:30 PM we reached scenic Beaver Meadow Falls where we rested, cooled off by the spray of the waters. I saw two rocks here resembling a hippo in the water below the falls.
We took our time going back out. We talked to another hiker who is a fitness trainer by profession, and we talked to a 72 year old man who lives or was staying at a house in the Adirondack Mountain Reserve. We were back at our cars at 8:38 PM while it was still light. Another epic journey successfully completed!