August 1, 2009
Mt Marcy: Adirondack 46 4K series
Paul (the other D) and I had checked the weather forecast, which has made the high peaks difficult to ascend with this summers weather patterns. It was a go for Saturday August 1st as it looked reasonably good for the Adirondack High Peaks. Paul and I met in Shelburne and travelled together to reach the Adirondack Loj at Heart Lake. We took the Van Hoevenberg trail. This was my first time in this area, so it was totally unfamiliar territory. This was a busy trail, where Paul got to practice his French with the many French Canadians we met along the way.
This was a long gradual climb (7+ miles up, almost 15 miles round trip). The first 2+ miles to Marcy Dam is rather quick. It did become obvious that water and mud were going to be the theme for this day. Fortunately, the ADK has put down a lot of wood planks and bridges, and filled in sections with small logs and branches. I would not recommend low trail runners in the Adirondacks. I did quite a bit of hiking in water logged shoes. Boots are in order for future ADK hikes.
The view from the dam was nice. After passing the dam, the trail up to Indian Falls was generally a moderate climb. The 4-way junction (3.6 mi) where the VH turns right is where the trail gets noticeably more steep and rocky. In this section there are more rocks and tree roots - and it continued to be wet and muddy.
From Indian Falls it was relatively easy to get to the 1.2 miles to go to the summit sign, except for dodging the mud bogs. After the 0.6 miles to go sign is where you cross the bog on planks - at this time the bog was full of water so the planks submerged with each step. Then, it gets steep on the rocks. The final push to the top was on as it was time for lunch, great views, and a dry sock change.
We returned the same way. We took the very short detour to Indian Falls, which was well worth the effort. This is truly an excellent view!
The slope and terrain are not that difficult to descend on, but it is the length of the trail which is the challenge. Paul and I were down in less than 8 hours and enjoyed a meal at a local restaurant before returning home.