I am writing 10 posts about my 10 favorite hikes, here is more information.
Trail: Mount Marcy
Ranking: number 2
Where: Adirondack Mountains, NY
When: July 2004
Who: My friend Dave and I
July 2004. I was 26 years old and had finally bought a cell phone. I was still waiting tables on the side. I had been a teacher for 2 years – or 4 if you count 2 years of daycare teaching, subbing and tutoring. So far my “grown up” vacations had consisted of 2 cruises and 2 drives across country. Up until this point the longest hike I had been on was probably exploring the trails in Ithaca, NY. “Ithaca is Gorges.”
Yes I owned that tee at one time. I think I need it in a hoodie.
Around this time I had discovered thru hiking, and I had fallen in love with reading trail journals. I had not quite discovered blogs though. I also liked the idea of going to the highest point of each state, although after reading about it I decided Denali and Rainier and probably 7 others were out. But I continued to research it, and thought – I could do New York’s highest peak!
So with little experience and no real exercise regime at the time – I headed up north. My plan was to not only hike the hike, but take pictures of EVERYTHING to give others an idea of the experience.
This hike would become my first overnight backpacking hike, and strangely my last. I always intended to do more overnight hikes, but could never find anyone to go with me. Or their skill level was way more than mine.
Back to my Mt. Marcy hike – my friend Dave was excited about tackling this mountain too, so we decided to give it a go together. We took off from his house in Binghamton, NY. My hometown. The first night we camped right outside our cars at the trailhead. In the morning, Dave and I hiked 2 miles on flat land with our sleeping bags, sleeping pads, tent, little stove thingy and meals in pouches – just add hot water. We set up camp at a little woodsy pond, and we took off – 7 miles uphill to the summit. Compared to regular hiking standards, we had a very late start.
Up, up, up we went. We hiked in what seemed to be an old creek bed. We passed volunteers doing trail maintenance. We stopped to take pictures – most of which I cannot find. I never did make a scrapbook about the WHOLE experience, even though I took pictures of everything from pinecones to the outdoor toilet.
|Ooops, I forgot to warn you - more photos of other photos!|
Evenutally we started to pass people coming down the trail, they probably got up at 4am so they could see the sunrise from the summit. I was getting cranky and when these strangers cheered us on l only rolled my eyes. I think I lost 14 pounds just during the hike – my shorts started to fall down every 9 seconds. Later I was disappointed to find out from Dave that I supposedly complained the entire hike. I don't remember being it that bad!
We left the forest and our hike became a rocky one. We kept thinking – there is the summit! But then when we got there we could see no, the summit was still a while off. I think this happened 3 times. I love rock scrambling but I was getting tired, and my knees were starting to turn to Jello.
|Dave and I at the tippy top of New York|
Finally we arrived at the real summit! I was hoping there would be a lemonade stand on top but no, just a handsome, rugged ranger with calves the size of watermelons. He probably ran to the top of this mountain 5 times a week. He took our picture and warned us a storm was coming.
I didn’t think being on the highest point in the state was a good idea during a thunderstorm, so I booked it down the mountain. By the time we reached tree level, we were soaked. I had to wonder what did the ranger dude do in the storm? Did he have a secret cabin up there on the mountain?
Going down on slippery rocks was a hot mess, and I really wished I had invested in hiking poles. It was that hike that I discovered going down can be worse than going up.
We arrived back at camp in time to watch the sun go down over hazy skies. It was chilly there at night. We had forgot to bring cards but it didn’t matter, I was out by 9pm (and up at 5:15am much to my friend’s annoyance).
We hiked out very early. I was so sore I could barely bend at the knees. At the trailhead we said goodbye, I was going to meet my dad at a cottage on the St. Lawrence River and he was headed back home to Binghamton so he could wouldn't miss work.
Looking back it's surprising I made this hike number 2. But I am proud of my 18 mile hike. I learned a lot about what to take, what to NOT take and how to attach it to a backpack. I don't remember complaining that much, but was told I looked miserable the whole time (and complained non-stop). I thought I had actually controlled my whining! And trust me, Dave went on many more hikes with me after 2004. I saw him last summer, for the first time since 2011 - when we hiked at Joshua Tree. And he asked where our next big adventure would be. So I couldn't have been that bad!
I used to dream of backpacking the John Muir Trail in CA. Now I wish I could hike in to the cabins at LeConte Ledge in the Smokies (although I hear they are full for 2016 anyway). Couldn't I ride a horse in? A camel? There must be someway they get all that food to the kitchen up there!
Where would you backpack to, if given the chance?