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Marcy for 46!!! 8-12-13

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  • Marcy for 46!!! 8-12-13

    A little background leading up to that hike, I had recently done ascents of Nippletop and Seymour for #’s 44 and 45 respectively. Neither of the two hikes were anything hard, although on Nippletop I was a bit sore from a trip the day before. My dad, who in the past year has lost 70 pounds, climbed his first 46er in Seymour meaning that he is one of less than 100 people to start on Seymour (if he finishes). Back when I was still in the teens for 46ers, my grandfather made me promise him that I would finish all my 46ers for him. He had started, and was at 16 before he stopped and ultimately was paralyzed in a skiing accident. He was a past Ausable Club president and absolutely loved the mountains. I am not a person who breaks promises, and shortly after he passed in 2009, I really started climbing a lot of 46ers. Entering this year, I realized that I only had three mountains left (with Marcy being one of them). I figured that ending on that one would be a nice finish to an amazing journey.

    I managed to wrangle together a motley crew consisting of the other three people in my family (who combined have climbed 3 different 46ers) and a friend who is at 36 right now. I had no idea how long this was going to take, because I am normally a fast hiker (I did Wright in less than 3 hours round trip) and they are not as fast… My mom kept on thinking that it was going to take her 5 hours to get up the mountain, which I highly disagreed with. But honestly, I didn’t know what to expect coming from them, I knew they could do it, but their speed was a different story.

    Monday came, and it started off looking cloudy and gross. As we turned onto Adirondack Loj Rd, I could see that Algonquin and Marcy were both in the clouds, a bad omen for the day perhaps? Of course not, this was my 46er finish; it would be clear at the top! Sometimes a little bit of forward positive thinking does the trick wonderfully! We quickly found a parking spot at the trailhead, and after a quick pit stop to use the bathroom, signed in at around 8:15. Just so my parents didn’t get lost (they were thinking we were at the Garden and kept asking me about where the trail splits and then comes back together… *facepalm*) I agreed to stop at every junction for them until Indian Falls. At that point I would take off and motor on to the top as they meandered along. As I thought, the pace started off a bit on the slow side… I was hoping to get through to Marcy Dam by 8:45, but in reality we arrived at closer to 9:00. Okay, so this was the kind of day it was going to be? I guess that is alright… Heading on up the all too familiar Van Hoevenburg trail, we (my sister, friend, and I) passed 5 groups of people before the Phelps trail junction. The trail was like it always is, very rocky with enough mud to keep you honest but dry. Waiting a while before my parents resurfaced, we then scooted on up to the herd path to Tabletop. At this point there is a bit of climbing involved, but nothing overly crazy or steep. It was just a nice, gradual to moderate climb through a pretty forest with some mud and streams. We started playing leap frog with a nice hiker wearing a Vermont t-shirt. Every time we would pass him or he would pass us, one of us would say “ribbit” and we would carry on. After passing another 5-10 groups, we made it up to Indian Falls.

    I had never been to Indian Falls before; somehow it had always eluded me when I went to climb Tabletop. Sometimes you really have to save great things for the end. At first glance when you cross the stream, it looks like nothing at all. But go down the side trail to the falls, and helllllooooo good views! It is a picturesque window looking out towards the MacIntyre range. I fell in love with the view, and I believe that it is one of my favorite views in the Adirondacks! We sat there for a good 20 or so minutes before my parents arrived. At that point we munched on some food, said “see you at the summit!” and headed on our merry ways.

    After Indian Falls, the going got a little bit rockier as we came quickly to the junction with the crossover trail to Lake Arnold. Turning left at that junction, we started rock hopping our way up the trail, passing by even more people. We stopped to take a quick break on a big rock halfway up, and were leapfrogged by ribbiting man and a trail runner. This was the first time that I had ever seen people literally running up the trail of the mountain, Marcy no less! We saw 3 of those people that day, and later on I learned that my dad almost made one of them trip by jokingly calling him an animal! My parents… They are something… The mud bore its ugly face again after a mile or so from the junction, and it followed us all the way up to the Hopkins trail junction. Just before the junction we encountered our first group heading down, they were a nice couple from the Ausable Club whose children I have hiked with before. They had 2 hours on us, so it made sense that they were headed down this early. We leapfrogged ribbit man and stopped at the Hopkins junction to catch a glimpse of our final destination and to water the bushes… Hehe… Off we went to find the Phelps trail junction.

    The trail from the junction starts off muddy and downhill, but soon it enters a nice little meadow and begins to climb back up to a really pretty outlook on the trail. A couple and their two cute dogs were relaxing there, and we said hi and took a break. Ribbit man passed us again for the umpteenth time, but we all knew that it wasn’t going to be the last time we will see him today. Leaving the pretty lookout, we made it up to the intersection with the Phelps trail where we ran into ribbit man and some very lost hikers wearing jeans and cotton everything. They said they were looking for Haystack, but we told them it was out of their way and Marcy was right next to them. They headed off for the top, and we followed behind. The sphagnum moss bog was absolutely beautiful, and provided the ideal backdrop for a day that had turned absolutely beautiful! The final summit scramble was on, and I couldn’t have been more ready!

    Getting the second wind that I typically get near the summit, we got up to the top pretty quickly. My official time on the summit was 11:30am , so 3.25 hours from our start. Not a good time at all, I was shooting for more like 2-2.5 hours but that is alright. I had made it to the top of my 46th high peak!!! My mom had packed a surprise for me in my bag, but I waited a little bit for my parents to appear 15 minutes later before getting into it. Because I am a little bit under age, and they didn’t want to carry up sparkling juice or champagne for me, I received lots and lots of miniature Lindt chocolates, one for each mountain I climbed! It was a sweet ending to a great journey! But I wasn’t officially a 46er yet, I had to get back down first! We stayed on the top of Marcy for about 30 minutes, enjoying the beautiful view from the top and talking to the throngs of other peoples there with us! Finally, we decided to head down off the mountain.

    The walk down was quite uneventful to say the least. We passed ribbit man once and then never saw him again. We took another great break at Indian Falls, I bushwhacked down to the base of the falls to get a few more pictures of the falls from the bottom. After a little bit longer we headed out for the Loj. We took only one more stop at the junction with the trail up Phelps Mountain to talk with a nice man coming off the mountain. Another very very confused backpacker came by, and after telling us all about his illegal camping the last two days above 3500’ headed up to Phelps, pack and all! Hopefully he is out of the woods by now and okay! We hit Marcy Dam pretty soon after that. From Marcy Dam, our last two miles went out in 23 minutes and 16 minutes respectively. Not quite Joe Cedar speed, but fast enough for a 17 year old. Finishing at the Loj just before 3:00, closer to 2:45, this put our trip time at around 6.5 hours, which was alright. The time of the hike didn’t matter, what mattered to me was that I had just officially finished my 46! The expression on my face was described as happier than I had ever looked before. But I had good reason to feel that way! The drive home, including a stop at Stewarts for ice cream, was all happiness and joy. I became the first ever 46er in my family, which is awesome! Needless to say that we partied that night, but no underage drinking was involved!

    I am currently deciding what to do for my second round. I may consider doing a solo 46, as I have 3 currently. I can’t do winter 46 because we don’t have a house then and I have school. I am open to any ideas of hikes or challenges to do at one point or another for my next round!

    (I apologize for the lack of pictures, I will try to figure something out, but no promises...)
    "Me thinks that the moment my legs begin to move, my thoughts begin to flow." -Henry David Thoreau

  • #2
    Congratulations on your success at such a young age. You sound very wise for your years. I hope this is the beginning of many more years of climbing and love for our great Adirondacks!
    Good luck on what comes next.


    • #3
      Congratulations and a very touching story. A pure motivation for undertaking an endeavor like the ADK 46. And very impressive times as well. It seems a little interesting that you saw a sort of variety of hikers (with what we'll say is a variety of experience) on your trip, like a reminder of past hiking days perhaps. But not too long ago! Impressive that you accomplished it at such a young age (especially compared to the ages of others still attempting the 46).

      And now I suppose you'll work on those New Hampshire 48er's?
      "Victory awaits him who has everything in order — luck, people call it. Defeat is certain for him who has neglected to take the necessary precautions in time; this is called bad luck." -Roald Amundsen

      ADK 46- 35/46


      • #4
        Congratulations Gregory! Very nice background detailing your motivation for climbing the High Peaks. I’m glad our paths crossed by chance in the Sewards last year and we got to share a little piece of each others 46er journeys! Your love of the mountains and appreciation of the outdoors is obvious. I’m glad we kept in touch after our initial meeting and hope we continue to do so. It wouldn’t surprise me if you become President of the 46ers someday!
        Limped thru the Northeast 115...


        • #5
          Nature we have always with us, an inexhaustible storehouse of that which moves the heart, appeals to the mind, and fires the imagination - health to the body, a stimulus to the intellect, and a joy to the soul. - John Burroughs


          • #6
            Thank you everyone!!! I have loved the mountains ever since I have come up here, and I will continue to love them forever!!!

            The NH4K mountains are most definitely next on my list! Because I am still young, I am going to try to shoot for the NE111 (or is it 115?) whenever I have the chance! Time is on my side, so I will try my best! Carpe diem!
            "Me thinks that the moment my legs begin to move, my thoughts begin to flow." -Henry David Thoreau


            • #7
              Great story and congrats on your 46er finish! As far as future ideas, there you've got as many lists as you want to tackle. You can also work on slides or bushwhacking or whatever strikes your fancy...

              You can also chose some volunteer activities revolving around the mountains. Whatever you chose, you've got a great sense, at an early age, of what the Adirondacks are all about.


              • #8
                Volunteering is most definitely in my future! I already help out tgoodwin on occasion with his trial work, and being an Eagle Scout means that service is always done cheerfully! Slides (if I could get someone to do it with me) would be awesome! I am also going to try some longer endurance hikes and speed hikes just for SNGs! We will see what happens!
                "Me thinks that the moment my legs begin to move, my thoughts begin to flow." -Henry David Thoreau


                • #9
                  Congratulations, young man! Well done!

                  You're young, fit, resilient and seem to have your eye on the clock so you might be interested in taking up competitive trail-running. Whatever you choose to do next, I wish you good luck!
                  Looking for Views!


                  • #10
                    Great report and a BIG CONGRATS on your finish.

                    Sounds like a great day with a great group for your day.


                    • #11
                      Nicely Done, Congratulations
                      "Climbing is about freedom. There's no prize money; there are no gold medals. The mountains are all about going there to do what you want to do. That's why I'll never tell anyone else how to climb. All I can say is, This is how I prefer to do it."
                      Ed Viesturs


                      • #12
                        Congratulations on your 46 Gregory, I hope my brother wasn't too weird on the hike ( It happens).


                        • #13
                          Nice report and congratulations on our finish.


                          • #14
                            Enjoyed reading your minute-by-minute report. Sounded "too true to be good" with your parents tagging along behind, ha. I am one of the hikers who are even slower than they are Congratulations on the 46!

                            "A full appreciation of mountains is not to be experienced by merely looking; that is why men climb." -Francis S. Smythe, British mountaineer


                            • #15
                              Congratulations! My 16 year old son and I plan to finish this Saturday. Hopefully we'll see you at the dinner next May - it'll be nice to see someone else his age. You can share your thoughts about having to wait for slow parents!