Highpoint: Mt. Marcy
State
: New York
Height: 5344 ft.
Highpoint
#: 6
Date: 6/22/2002
Trails: Van Hoevenberg Trail
Distance: About 14.8 miles roundtrip.
Vertical Gain: 3200
Time Taken: 10.25 hrs.
Weather: AM: Rain. Low 50s, PM Sunny, Low 70’s
Group: JO & BC.

Comments: The forecast called for some scattered thunderstorms in the morning, followed by some light rain in the afternoon. Oh well, maybe it won't be so bad, we thought. We drove out Friday night, a 5 hour trip, and stayed at a Bed and Breakfast in nearby Lake Placid. We turned in at 11:40 and tried to get as much sleep as possible before getting up at 5:00 am. We awoke to heavy rain in the middle of the night, and we both assumed it was nearly 5, but when we checked the clock it turned out to be not even 1:30.  We awoke refreshed and cruised over to the park, paying $8 to park in the lot. We didn't know where the trail started, so we picked a random direction and started walking, we reached the "Loj" and inside we found a campground map that showed where the trail started, we walked in exactly the wrong direction. We walked back to the car and passed it to find the trailhead. And so the trek began. The trail started off generally flat, and we kept a steady pace. After 2.4 miles, we reached Marcy Dam, and saw a lot of tents set up in the area. We continued on, following a brook up the mountain. The trail was pretty consistent the whole way. The forest was thick on both sides, and the trail went pretty straight, with barely any switchbacks. There were only a few steep sections towards the end of the hike. It started raining after a couple miles and pretty much didn't relent after that until we were a good portion of the way back down the mountain. Needless to say, the views were really bad. This is the first highpoint where we couldn't tell whether or not we had reached the top once we were there. The clouds and fog were so dense, we couldn't see past about 100 feet. Fortunately, we found the survey marker a few feet below the summit.  Also, we discovered a plaque on the way back on the side of the summit rock face, dedicated to the discovery of Marcy. We only stayed on the summit for about 20 minutes since it was wet and a little windy. We weren't exactly prepared for this kind of weather. JO was wearing a t-shirt and an ultra-light windbreaker and shorts, and BC had similar clothing. We both put on the relatively dry clothing we had in our packs after reaching the cover of the trees again. Right after leaving the summit, the rain came to a stop, and the clouds parted a little. We were finally able to get some nice pictures of the surrounding mountains. The views that we did see were really beautiful. The hike back down took longer than going up. We were very tired, and especially, very sore. JO’s knees were acting up and decided to start screaming at him every time he bent a leg. BC's hip was taking a lot of stress too.  We only went through one or two liters of water the whole trip. Of course, we were utterly soaked for half of it, but we still wonder if we should have drunk more.  The hike back was seemingly never ending. Every step was a struggle to minimize the shock to our knees and hips. For the last 4 miles, we were utterly delirious, and didn't really talk, as the rain picked up even more as we went. The rain started to form puddles, and in some cases large pools, which made our hike a logistical nightmare. Our hiking shoes were soaked through and made squishy noises. Finally... we reached Marcy Dam again; man, will this hike ever end? When it finally did, at 4:15pm, we were sitting in the car with our dry clothes on. How did we get there?  It was now time to drive home, another 5 hour trip. This proved difficult. In nice comfortable clothing, and with the heat blasting, JO’s body was convinced that it was time for some much needed sleep. After a few head nods JO decided to let BC take a shot at it. He did much better, and we were able to keep conversation going to keep ourselves awake. About an hour and a half through our journey, it was time for food; we stopped at Wendy's, and gorged ourselves.  We went through a few sodas apiece, and lasted until we finally arrived home.  It was 10:45, goodnight.

 

 

 

Marcy Dam, 2.4 miles from the trailhead.  We were hoping the weather would clear up at this point.  It didn’t.

 

 

BC on the edge of Indian Falls, at about the 5 mile mark from the trailhead.  It had stopped raining momentarily.

 

 

BC and JO just below the summit.  There were only a few other hearty souls on the mountain this day, one of them taking this picture.  Okay, 7.4 more miles to go!

 

 

BC about to wade across one of the many wash-outs on the trail this day.  We learned today that no matter how “waterproof” boots claim to be, they were never made for days like these.

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