Marcy is Number One

Yep that's the summit. Gotta love that view of clouds.

Yep that’s the summit. Gotta love that view of clouds.

One of the best views in the ADKs and at 5,344′ is the highest in New York. I’ll have to take peeps word on the view since I enjoyed beautiful view of clouds. Oh joy. But it was worth it.

Marcy is one of the most popular hikes and known as a busy trail. Those like me who come to the trail to escape  – a highway is not my ideal hike. Using the opportunity for a mid-week hike since my Mom was staying in Lake Placid for work (aka a hotel room to crash), taking the less popular (and longer) route up via Phelps Trail – combined with a less than desirable summit day I was able to avoid the highway. Just the way I like it.

I once again started at the Garden Trailhead and a quick 3. 5 miles to John Brooks Lodge, then 1. 5 to Bushnell Falls and 1.9 miles to Slant Rock. Nothing too challenging, a few steep pitches, some crappy footing, mud and broken bog bridges. Even so, 6.9 miles still takes a few hours.  The big difference is there wasn’t any recent heavy rains and the water crossings were a breeze and easy rock hopping. Oh dry feet. Every hike is instantly made better with dry feet.

Poor broken bridge. Now a muddy, wet mess.

Poor broken bridge. Now a muddy, wet mess.

At 6.9 your climb actually starts. With John Brooks on your left the trail starts off with messy footing (the rain has taken its toll), mud, climbing mostly moderately with some steep grades and one last water crossing of John Brook at 7.4. Again some steep pitches until the jct. with the State Range Trail at 7.8 miles. Continuing up another steep climb to a jct. with the Hoevenberg Trail at 8.5miles. Amazing how ~1.5 mi. can take nearly as long as four earlier in the day. Oh elevation change and footing.

Here you get your first taste of bare rocks and first view of the summit with some nice teaser views. I’m glad I took a break to enjoy it since the clouds were most definitely moving in. After an easy decent you cross a high-altitude bog on a series of bridges. With all the water, the bridges sunk below the water mark. So much for those dry feet. But nothing compared to a full water crossing.

From here the trail climbs up to another rock shoulder at 8.7 mi. You can now really feel that you’ve really climbed some elevation. The temperature drops, the birds change and can feel the difference in the air. The final .4 miles is on an open rock summit – marked with cairns and yellow paint blazes to protect the arctic zone plants. Nothing too hard – it just keeps going and going and a nice burn in my legs. Sometimes I can’t tell if seeing the summit in the distance is motivation or not. So close yet so far away.

Good bye view.

Good bye view.

Once I reached the top I had a quick chat with the lovely summit steward about the ADKs. Took in the view of all the clouds and feeling annoyed about some idiot who stole the summit marker (really people this is why we can’t have nice things). Then climbed down a bit to enjoy a “mini” view, mostly obscured in clouds. But the solitude, wind and birds were exactly what I wanted.

The best part of my break was when I took my shoes and socks off. Then noticed there was white stuff everywhere. What was it you ask? Oh just my skin shedding. Yeah kinda gross. But the up side is I have far few calluses and cracks on my feet now. (Must get pedicure after hiking season)

I then began my decent down – which flew by. Still took 5 hours or so but not fighting daylight and hardly running into a soul I enjoyed the trail, escape and easy pace.

At Bushnell Falls I ran into a hiker who I met briefly earlier in the day. It was his 30th birthday and in celebration was doing the Great Range Traverse (nine peaks, including six 46ers) in one day. Yeah I don’t have that kind of speed. He was running empty on water and with my handy water filtration drops (working faster than his tablets) enjoyed a break. We finished the rest of the trail together. Chatting away about the usual ‘light’ topics – hiking, trails, ADKs, heady beer, education policy, abortion, gay rights, cycle of poverty. You know keeping it light:) While he was a republican, I kept up my usual contrary political convo up just for fun. Even gave him a Heady Topper beer koozie I had in my car. He, like all good men, loves hoppy, bitter beer and Heady Topper sure fits that bill.

It was a long day and similar to the Dix Range from the previous weekend I felt like I was dragging and my energy level wasn’t at 100% (even on the easy stuff). Since I was tackling a single mountain I didn’t need to take an aggressive pace which helped keep my enjoyment up. Turns out I’ve been battling a fun little infection. I guess burning the candle at both ends will do that.

Note to self: I cannot do everything. I may try and want to but sleep and downtime is good for the body. After a quick jaunt to the drs my antibiotics and cranberry juice are doing just the trick so I’ll be back on the trail in no time. My doctor busted out in laughter when in my defense why I wasn’t ‘over pushing’ it I refereed to a 11 hour/18.2 mile hike as “moderate” and a way of cutting back. The ADKs will always skew your perspective on what is challenging.

ICYMI: Vice President Theodore Roosevelt was at his hunting camp, Tahawus, on September 14, 1901, after summiting Marcy, when he was informed that President William McKinley, who had been shot a week earlier, had taken a serious turn for the worse. . . At some point along the route, Roosevelt learned that McKinley had died, and so Roosevelt took the train to Buffalo to get sworn in as President. The route from Long Lake to North Creek has been designated as the Roosevelt-Marcy Trail. Gotta love politics and history.

I unfortunately finally lost most of a toenail. I’ll spare you the pictures since both my mom and sister seem to be less than thrilled with those. Panther and Coughs and the epically wet and muddy conditions took their toll and I’ve had crack ever since. I’m guessing if I didn’t do six mountains since then it would of healed up – but nope.

Upon arriving at the hotel my mom served me a glass of wine (thanks mom) while avoiding looking at my toenail as I went to town with the nail-clippers. Since the entire right edge had come detached with a great addition of mud filling in underneath. Yeah, it looked extra special.

Friday was beautiful and probably the perfect weather conditions for hiking. Damn you ADK weather gods. Why couldn’t you give me some karma for the day before. But mom and I were able to enjoy a great breakfast, walk around Lake Placid and drove over to The Wild Center to check out the newly installed Wild Walk. Probably a little more kid friendly than my usual taste but I’m for anything that exposes peeps who aren’t “hiking types” to the outdoors and ADKs. Plus mom climbed up to the bird’s nest – completely out of her comfort zone with her fear of heights. Proud of you mom:) I guess getting pictures of your daughter is great motivation.

34 down only 12 to go.

Mt Marcy – completed 7/9/2015, total distance 18.2 miles, elevation 5,344, order of height 1, elevation change ~4,000, hike time 11 hours

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