By Diane Chase, author of the guidebook Adirondack Family Time Tri-Lakes and High Peaks Your four-Season Guide to Over 300 Activities (with GPS Coordinates)
I can always tell when my children haven't been outside enough. They start picking on each other, are unable to relax and are easily annoyed. The same applies to me. We are on our way out of town and the bickering starts in the backseats. Accusations, poking and blame are all floating to the front of the car. I actually hear my husband say he'll pull the car over if those kids don't straighten out. Good grief. We have become our parents. We have made it as far as Keene Valley. Another three miles and we can walk out our frustrations to Roaring Brook Falls.
Giant Mountain is number 12 on the Adirondack High Peak 46er list, at a lofty elevation of 4,626'. As part of the Giant Mountain Wilderness Area our goal to just reach the base of Roaring Brook Falls, one of many side trips available.
The Giant Mountain /Roaring Brook parking lot is full of day-trippers, rock climbers and overnight hikers. We pile out of the car like the trail is water and we have been lost in the desert. We all breathe a collective sigh of relief. In our quest to conquer, my husband and I divide the troops. My son and I start walking the trail while the rest of the family gives us a head start.
The base of Roaring Brook Falls is a mere 0.3 miles from the Giant Mountain parking area. We write our names in the registry and note that, though people may not be rock climbing, there are quite a few people signed in for day trips. My son navigates the way through leaf litter, at first dragging his feet as he complains about why we are here. I can see his attitude change the longer he walks on the trail.
The pathway comes to a Y where the trail on the left is a steady half-mile uphill climb to the top of the falls.We choose the path on the right and continue to follow Roaring Brook. The sounds of the highway are masked by the sounds of the water rushing by us.
There is one other family ahead of us. One of the children lies down to make an angel substituting leaves for lack of snow. My son laughs and grabs some leaves and throws them at my head. There are no trail markers, just a well-used path and a yellow campsite sign to show us the way. We walk at a steady clip until reaching the falls.
We arrive at the base and pause to rest, listening to the tranquil sounds of the water rushing by. During the winter ice-climbers will attempt to journey to the top. Our heads are clear and our minds calm. We return to the car at a more casual pace, listening to the leaves fall to the ground. They sound like rain.
The Giant Mountain-Roaring Brook Falls parking area is about 3.5 miles south of Keene Valley on Route 73.
photos and content © Diane Chase, Adirondack Family Time guidebooks. Diane Chase is the author of the Adirondack Family Time guidebook series and co-owner of the the young adult wilderness adventure program, Adirondack Outdoor Expeditions.