Marcy, Haystack, Basin, Saddleback, Yard, Big Slide
I can’t believe it’s Thursday night and I’m just now sitting down to write a TR about hikes from last Thursday and Friday. I’ll keep this short – not because I can’t remember back that far (accident with some chemicals in college), but because I’m tired and want to go to bed (where I can dream of my pretty, pretty lists).
I took last W-F off from work and headed up to the Adirondacks to get some fresh air and clear my head and find some peace in the world via silence and maybe some physical pain. And mountains. I love those.
Drove up from NNJ on Wednesday, parked at Garden, and hiked in about 3.4 or so miles to the Wm. G. Howard lean-to, arriving around 5:30PM. I knew I was in the right place when I saw this:
I mean this:
I packed about three days of food, as I was not sure when I’d be coming out of the closet I mean woods. There were already two bedrolls in the lean-to when I arrived, so I shoved them into a corner and claimed the rest of the lean-to for myself by peeing out a big rectangle around my territory. At about 9PM, I saw some headlamps coming down the trail – I figured they were either my bunkies or that Yellow-Yellow et al. had finally figured out the flashlight thing. I put on my camo greasepaint, pulled out my flat black KA-BAR and lay in wait for them while smoking a cigarette where the fire pit used to be.
They turned out not to be bears, so I had to talk English for a while, which was a bummer because I’d been practicing my Canadian all week long. The two who came up the trail were none other than Wally and Annette, whom I’d never met before and who are also not members of this forum, so they don’t have cool handles like the rest of us. They were pretty cool people, though, and we stayed up for a while and told bear and hiking stories (I stayed silent for the bear part because I don’t yet have any of those and I don’t like to tell fibs to strangers – ok, that’s a lie).
Thursday morning I hit the trail around 7AM and was on the summit of Marcy by 10:30. I had the summit all to myself, so I took a few pictures and vids. I didn’t think to strip down naked and run around the summit with a rubber glove on my head yelling “I’m a squid! I’m a squid!” until I was about halfway back down the mountain, but I did call my sister Katie to say hi. I was somewhat disappointed that I didn’t meet a summit steward =( as I really wanted to ask how to get to Roostercomb and Hegehog.
On the way up Marcy, I took care of some much needed trail maintenance by removing all of the spiderwebs with my face. No, there’s no need to thank me, that’s just what I do. I see it as my contribution to the hiking community.
I went back down the way I came up Marcy and headed up the trail to Haystack (via Little Haystack), stopping briefly to put some moleskin on a hotspot on one of my feet. Again, I had the summit to myself, and again, I stayed clothed. I also descended this mountain via the way I ascended, prompting me to think that everyone who’s ever said they did a “Great Range Traverse” wasn’t really traversing at all, but rather doing a series of out&backs.
Yes, my goal for that day was a full “traverse” and, no, I did not complete it – opting instead simply for a tough hike and some friendly conversation along the way (as well as the general relaxing feeling of having nowhere to go and all day to get there). Betwen Haystack and Basin, I stopped at the Haystack Brook to refill my water receptacles. Aside from the Johns Brook, that was really the only water worth pumping I saw all day – and if I hadn’t bumped into this guy named Dan from Brooklyn-via-DC, I probably would have passed right by it: the brook was barely ankle deep and maybe a foot or two across at the most. I hear we’ve been having a dry summer.
I chatted with Dan for a bit and headed up Basin with him. This was his first time in the ‘dacks and he was hiking with a full pack. I thought he did admirably well on his ascent of Basin. At the summit, we met a guy named Dennis, who was staying at JBL, and whom I had passed that morning on the veranda of said L on my way to Marcy. I chatted with Dennis for a bit at the summit of Basin and headed off to Saddleback.
There’s one section of Saddleback just before the summit that entails some hands-and-feet climbing that really scared the crap out of me. It was well marked and I didn’t see another way up the rocks, but I felt like I was in some twisted game of Twister, trying to figure out where to put my hands and feet. I was sorely tempted to go back and tell Dan not to attempt it with his big pack.
After Saddleback, I headed down the trail between that and Gothics, passing Ore Bed LT on the way, and then to my LT. I was sore and tired; it was a good day. I must have sweated out all the caffeine in my system, because I had a very strange headache for the last couple of miles that was only cured by a cup of coffee at the LT. Addiction can be rough sometimes.
I talked into the night with Wally and Annette – Wally’s been hiking in the ‘dacks for well over 20 years and we traded lots of stories. He told me that our talk made him feel like old times – that something’s different about the LTs without the fire pits; people don’t seem to be as friendly or ready to converse – and that made me feel all warm and fuzzy on the inside.
I slept in on Friday morning and made my way up Yard and Big Slide, starting around 10:30AM – still sore from the day before. On the way up Yard, I met a nice threesome of long distance runners, so I of course felt pressured to display my woods cred and stay ahead of them. I arrived at the summit of Big Slide about half an hour before they did (we all snuck off the trail to tag the true summit of Yard), so everyone here in the forum can be proud of me for showing their n00bie *sses how real hikers do it. Hard, fast and uphill in the woods. At the summit, I pointed out several of the visible peaks that I recognized and made up the rest. They were very impressed and I told them all about the wealth of knowledge on this forum. =) I also said it was ok for them to just lurk and not actually post – I hope that’s cool with everyone here. We all walked down Big Slide together; I turned off at my LT to pack up my big pack and head out, and they went straight for Garden.
On the way out, I met a cute forest ranger named Grace and we chatted for a bit. Thankfully, she was too slow with the bow saw to actually bring the large branch she was cutting down on my head, and I even managed to slip her my number while she wasn’t looking (I’m also a ninja, btw). I dropped all the names of forest rangers that Wally had mentioned to me in our previous conversations, so that I could be sure that Grace would be duly impressed with my impressive woods cred. She hasn’t called yet, but I figure she’s just being coy – which I find to be wicked sexy. Had we but world enough and time, I’d continue this TR and regale you with my adventures on the hike back to the PA, but I don’t want to scare anyone away from hiking in the Adirondacks.
So, to end on an up-note: I’m still single and all you ladies reading this can tell your girlfriends that I’m rich too.
Grid: 84/420 (?/35 for September)