Big Slide via The Brothers

Start Time at the Garden: 7:50 AM

Weather: cloudy, but not raining. Some fog around.

Elevation: 4240 ft (Ascent from the Garden is 2800 ft)

Nice hike (ADK #15) through pretty woods at the beginning, although the uphill starts IMMEDIATELY. Some steep spots, but within 45 minutes, we were sitting on a nice outcropping, having a small snack and enjoying the view. We then started heading out for the “other brothers”, thinking that we had conquered the First Brother already. If that were true, then we would have to say that there were more than THREE brothers. Maybe throw in a sister or nephew too. There were probably five or six good ledges and/or open summits where we could see great views. Soon it became a running joke that we really didn’t know what “Brother” we were on. At this point, some of the clouds have lifted. We would go back and forth between clouds and sun all day.

On the third or fourth of these ledges, we stopped to take some pictures and eat some more snacks. Shannon and Tim posed at the end of the cliff. Tim even climbed down the rocks to give the IMPRESSION that he was rock-climbing. Then we headed into the Enchanted Forest, the valley between the last brother and Big Slide Mountain. Wet, muddy, mossy and creepy. Down, down, down…. Not the direction we needed to be going at the time. Then, up, up, up – still all mud, ferns and humidity.

We reached the intersection with the Slide Mt. Brook Trail (ADK #13) that leads to the summit (right turn – 0.29 miles) and to the Phelps Trail (left turn – 2.06 miles). We headed for the summit. There were some ladders to climb and some very steep and slippery spots where I (Valerie) needed both Dad and Tim’s help to keep from sliding right down the open rock face. Then, we hit some even steeper parts. We believed that we were on the trail because there were lots of footprints in the mud here. There were some struggles in this part also, as the rock was wet and muddy, and footing was tough. Shannon helped me figure out where I could place my feet and my poles through some of the tough spots.

Finally, we started to crest the summit and were met by a troop of smiling boy scouts. They were very friendly – every one of them telling us how close we were to the top and how great the view was, etc. They weren’t even sweating!!! The summit was really nice and the views were incredible. In total, it was only 4.0 miles from the Garden, but it had felt like a longer walk. We got to the summit about 12:20PM. We had lunch, swatted a few small bugs (not black flies or anything we recognized, but they were biting, and appeared to be really attracted to Shannon’s yellow sweatshirt). We left the summit before 1:00PM to start the walk down. It appeared that rain was imminent (surprise!).

During the walk down from the summit, we realized that part of the trail we had walked UP was blocked off with branches on the way DOWN. We took the “other” trail and it felt as if it might have made the walk up a little easier, so we would suggest that when you are on that last 0.3 miles to the summit, watch for a branch to the left that appears to go to a small lookout, but actually appears to be the better trail. The bad trail has not been brushed in from the bottom (or it was, but someone moved them out of the way).

Moved fairly quickly down the Slide Mt. Brook Trail all the way to the Phelps Trail. No views, so we didn’t stop for snacks or resting on this part.   It was 2.4 miles from the summit to the Phelps trail – including six or seven crossings of the Slide Mt. Brook. Our hiking poles were invaluable here, for helping us stay steady as we crossed on the rocks.

The Phelps Trail (ADK #1) is one that we have all walked before, usually with full packs, so we moved relatively quickly. Met up with the Boy Scout troop again – they were looking a little more tired than the last time we saw them. They were headed back towards John’s Brook Lodge. They must have done The Brothers in the opposite direction that we did. Several other groups passed us headed in to the lodge or farther.

We arrived back at the car at 4:45 PM. We got “cleaned up” and still had plenty of time for shopping at the Mountaineer.

Mileage for the day: about 9.5 miles

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Tim, Valerie, Shannon and Jim take the obligatory "pre-hike" photo as we set out for the day..
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First views along the trail.  Are we in the Adirondacks or the Smoky Mountains?
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Again, early views from the First Brother
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Looking down John's Brook Valley
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Jim inspects the view
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Valerie and Shannon are psyched for the walk
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Another view up the valley, clouds must have moved a little...
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Shannon reloads for more pictures
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This picture doesn't really do the trail justice, because there is no frame of reference.  This open rock is part of the trail, and we had just finished walking up this.
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Our second rest stop.  Everyone had fun on the rocky outcrop except for Valerie, who did not get close to the edge if she could help it.
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Shannon on the edge
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Tim poses for the same picture
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Tim thinks he's funny with this "I'm a rock-climber" routine.
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A view from one of the outcroppings of rocks along the Brothers.
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Another view down John's Brook Valley.  Sky is starting to turn blue!
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Tim reads the map... Do we have any idea which "Brother" we are on?  I think not....
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Jim and Shannon on what we *think* is the Third Brother
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More Jim and Shannon
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Looking back at what we assume was "Second Brother" from the summit of what we assume was "Third Brother"
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Views from the Third Brother
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Only 0.3 miles to go to the summit of Big Slide.
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Once we turned towards the summit, it got very steep very quickly.  At one point, we had the opportunity to use these ladders to get up a particularly steep section of trail.  You can see Shannon at the top.  She was our leader.
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Views from the summit of Big Slide.
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Shannon on the summit.
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More views from the summit.
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You know you've found the summit when....
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Valerie on the summit!
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Valerie and Tim on the summit. 
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Tim and Jim on the summit.
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Shannon, Tim and Jim on the summit.
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After the visit to the summit, we followed the Big Slide Brook Trail down the mountain to the Phelps Trail, then followed that back to the Garden, where the car was parked.