7/5/12 – Mount Marcy
4:15 AM – There goes the screech of the alarm, blaring throughout the house. I have already beaten it to the task, I’m wide awake and enjoying a bowl of Raisin Bran with a banana. Functioning on just a few short hours of sleep, it doesn’t matter, I sit quietly in the dark enjoying my breakfast staring intently at my backpack. I send Amanda a text message, something to the hyper-energetic tune of ‘Wakey, wakey.’
5:30 AM – Pack the gear into the car and head to pickup Amanda. Plan is to be on the road by 6 AM and hopefully arriving in Lake Placid around 9 AM. Just before heading out of Rome we swing through Dunkin Donuts and enjoy a tasty beverage, but what made this beverage extra tasty is that they offer any coffee for a dollar. For exactly $2.15 with tax we received two large coffees. Feels good to enjoy things at prices from 1992.
9:15 AM – Right on schedule we breeze through Lake Placid and arrive at the ADK Loj south of Lake Placid. Greeted by an attendant at the parking lot we pay $20 to park the car for two days. We park the car, head into the Visitors Center to rent our bear canister for the night and to also pickup a map of the Eastern High Peaks. Standing behind the counter is a figure reminiscent of April Ludgate, not in the sense of how she looks but how she spoke. After she demos to us the proper usage of the bear canister and the 100 foot triangle, she asks for a debit card, making sure to let us know “that it won’t be charged unless we don’t return the canister, like you know, you don’t come out [of the woods].”
10:30 AM – Food is in the bear canister, properly attached to backside of my backpack, bathroom breaks taken, and the final trail we plan to take is decided on. We head to the trail sign-in station and begin our venture towards Marcy Dam.
11:30 AM – We reach the Marcy Dam, apparently the bridge was taken out this past year during Hurricane Irene. A footpath to navigate around the dam has been made along with a new wooden bridge. Adding no more than just a couple moments we make our way around the dam and continue our journey to the peak of Mount Marcy. To this point we have roughly traveled just over 2 miles and the difficulty of the trail has been fairly easy, with approximately 5.5 miles left to the summit the difficulty level increases with each mile.
1:00 PM – Indian Falls, this marks a little over 4 miles into the journey. Both Amanda and myself are clearly tired but we have the energy reserves to continue on. I would say this would be about the point where anyone who was not in at least moderate shape would reach their peak. Though the disadvantage we had was Amanda was roughly carrying 40lbs on her back while I was hauling somewhere between 70-80lbs. With each mile the trail gets increasing more difficult with obstacles and in steepness. Mentally the surrounding peaks taunt you as you know fully well that until you are looking down on them, you are not near the summit.
3:30 PM – Exhausted we crest the peak and arrive at the top of Mount Marcy, the highest peak in the State of New York clocking in at 5,344 feet. At the top we find 4 or 5 other groups and a mostly clear day. We speak with the steward who works at the top about the peak, surrounding peaks, and where we are headed for the evening. From there we spend about an hour enjoying the cool breeze, while the temperature was in the mid 80s, it felt to be in the mid 60s on the summit due to the wind.
4:30 PM – Our descent begins, but instead of retracing our steps down the northern side of the mountain we head down the less traveled path of the southern side towards Mount Skylight. We pass a French couple from Quebec who is making their final push and continue down this narrow trail towards Lake Tear of the Clouds. Obviously less frequented than the main trail up Marcy the hike grows more difficult even though we are on a descent. As we go continue farther away from Marcy we realize that there is absolutely no one around for miles, a different but calming feeling.
6:30 PM – After what seemed to be a never ending walk we located the Feldspar Lean-tos and setup our tent to prepare for the evening. The steward on top of Mount Marcy had informed us two other groups were staying the night here, but it was all quiet, nothing to be heard but the birds and the wind rustling through the trees. We ate our dinner which consisted of Chef Boyardee Spaghetti & Meatballs, Clif Bars, Pringles, and water to wash it all down. Not the healthiest of meals or the tastiest, but definitely easy to pack, transport, and consume. Before 7:30 we had sealed up our bear canister and placed it approximately 100 feet away inside several logs to hopefully keep it from being pushed too far away. We packed in for the night and hoped to stay bear free for the evening. Due to restrictions in the Eastern High Peaks there are no campfires allowed.
7/6/12 – Feldspar
6:00 AM – A poor night’s sleep is what we both accomplished over the previous 10 hours. Mine was mainly on account of one single rock that was under the tent. It seemed to find a way to lodge itself into my hip every time I became comfortable. Amanda was the first awake, she retrieved the canister from the camp site over, untouched, surprisingly after all the warnings we had been given. We had breakfast which consisted of Quaker Oatmeal, Starbucks Expresso drinks, and Protein Bars.
9:00 AM – Originally the plan at this point was to hike back down the Feldspar trail and climb the peak of Mount Skylight. Based on the amount of water we had remaining (we did not bring a purifier) and the energy we both had left we opted to skip Skylight and finish the 7.5 miles back to the car.
11:00 AM – Made it back to Marcy Dam where we opted to enjoy some peanut butter and jelly sandwiches that had been smushed into little balls of goodness.
12:00 PM – So much easier to travel out of the High Peaks than in, we arrived back at the car. After signing out and returning the bear canister we made our way into Lake Placid for lunch and to explore the Olympic center from the 1980 Winter Games. I can’t wait to come back to the Eastern High Peaks.