Back home on Marcy – 09/22/2005

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      [Ed: Imported from Americas Roof ‘Summit Trip Reports’ forum]
      [By: Mark S on September 23 2005 at 8:56 PM]

      I first climbed Mount Marcy in July 1993 just a few months after “discovering” hiking in the Adirondack Mountains. For three years, the Adirondacks were my stomping grounds and I spent most summer weekends (and many in winter) exploring and tramping these hills and becoming a 46R along the way. My first climb of Marcy was unmemorable as I spent the day in the rain and clouds and had no views from the summit. I reclimbed the mountain in winter in January 1996 and had an absolutely spectacular experience with crystal clear skies and perfect winter climbing conditions. For the last 10 years, my memories of Marcy have been of that perfect day. In the meantime, I’ve spent a lot of time hiking in New England’s mountains, the Catsklls and the outskirts of Adirondacks. Then in 2001, I got into State Highpointing. Where does the time go? I got thinking about it last week and couldn’t believe it had been nearly 10 years since I last stepped onto the roof of my home state.

      On September 22, the first day of fall, I set out to change that. The weather forecast for the day was perfect so I had no worries about a replay of my first soggy Marcy climb. I left the Albany area around 9 PM on September 21, arriving at the Adirondack Loj Trailhead shortly after 11 PM. I went to sleep in the back of my truck and was ready to start hiking at first light. I had a restful night and starting hiking the standard route to Marcy around 6:30 AM. I couldn’t believe how well I remembered virtually every turn in the first two miles to Marcy Dam … I’d hiked that section of trail so many times that it is permanently emblazoned in my memory. I wasn’t too concerned about time and set out to have a leisurely day on the mountain. It was in the back of my mind, however, that I’d done the round trip in 6 hours (fairly quick) in my first trip up Marcy. That, of course, was 12 years and a broken back ago so I was thinking eight hours was more realistic. As I continued along the Van Hovenberg and reached Indian Falls, I realized I was hauling.

      I was somewhat surprised that there was little fall foliage as I climbed higher. There were some splashes of color but no leaves had yet fallen onto the trail. I began to get glimpses of Marcy through the trees and was very pleased to see Marcy as I’d never seen her before – green and glorious. It was really the kind of day where it was very easy to remember every single reason why I fell in love with mountains in the first place.

      I summited at 9:30 AM, three hours after leaving the Loj and spent a windy half an hour on top, picking out many of the mountains I’d climbed during my 46R days. Algonquin, Wright, Iroquois, Haystack, Skylight, Gothics and the rest all stood out majestically with nary a cloud to interrupt the view. It really was a great day and I headed down the same way I came, greeting many other Marcy climbers and making trailside small talk as they headed up.

      I exited the woods at exactly 1 PM, giving me a roundtrip time of 6:30, which included a half an hour at the top … so I basically did the hike in the same time as when I was 24. The biggest difference, however, is that when I went home 12 years ago, it was to an empty apartment. This go round, my wife and two kids were waiting when I got home a little after 3 PM. My soon-to-be three year old daughter is already asking when Daddy will take her to the mountains. I tell her she can go when she’s a “little bigger” and have already picked out our first mountain … a kid mountain in the Adirondacks known as Mount Jo. I can hardly wait.

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