September 19, 2015
Alex and I left the capital region around our usual time of 3:40am, and got to the Loj around 6:20. There were already so many people at the Loj and we really didn’t expect that. Even just driving down the Loj road we saw a bunch of other cars. So we tried to get ready quickly to beat as many people to the trail as possible! We started at 6:40 after waiting in line to sign in at the trailhead.
Those first couple of miles on trail were crazy packed!! It seemed like we were either passing people or letting others pass us every few minutes. It’s great that so many people are enjoying the trails! But I also like to be out in the woods to enjoy the quietness and solitude – I guess it’s a catch 22 of sorts.
We reached Marcy Dam around 7:30 and took a quick break to take in the beautiful morning views and to have a quick snack. I hadn’t been to Marcy Dam since February 2012 when Alex and I climbed Tabletop, so it was awesome to be back – and in the late summer! It was a nice warm morning, with a little humidity, but the skies were clear making the views amazing. I honestly don’t remember it looking like that three years ago! We hung out for a few minutes and then turned to see a huge group of students approaching and took that as our cue to head out. We weren’t sure where they were headed, but wanted to beat them to the summit of Phelps if possible!
We got to the Phelps junction at 8 and took another little break before heading up the last mile of steepness to the summit. A lot of people walked past us while we took a break, but it didn’t seem like anyone else was headed to Phelps right off. I’ve heard so many people talk about this mile climb from the junction to Phelps’ summit. It seems that most people agree that the last mile takes forever. I actually didn’t think it was that bad! Yes, it was steep, but not as steep as other peaks! Phelps was definitely a nice changed from Dix the previous weekend – there weren’t nearly as many steep pitches toward the top. I expected the mile to take about an hour, because I’ve started to learn what a good pace is for myself and I know my limits. And it did take about an hour! I think it was around 9:05 – but I had to stop a couple of times because I got so excited thinking that we were *almost* there, and started basically running up the trail that I was losing my breath. Whoops.I actually got a little confused when we were almost there because there was a rock that seemed like it could have been the summit. But then we saw a little sign that said “trail” on it, so we kept going and then got to the actual summit a few minutes later. We found a cairn on top!
It was pretty breezy on top – we estimated 30mph winds on the summit. But the view was so cool because it was still so early in the morning and the sun was still on it’s way up. We explored a herd path down the backside of Phelps for a little while, but decided not to go too far. We’ll probably be back at some point to explore and see where it leads! We hung out for a while and had a nice lunch a little past the summit in the woods to stay out of the breeze. It was chilling! Admiring Marcy in the distance That view is breathtaking! The clouds looked so cool that day.
We started to head down around 10:40. We got in a groove and didn’t even stop for a break when we reached the Phelps junction. Sometimes coming down the trail is much harder for me than going up. But coming down Phelps really wasn’t bad at all and I actually enjoyed it. We saw so many trail runners and I thought that was so cool! I don’t think I could do it because I trip over my feet so much, but I think it would be fun to try!
We took another break at Marcy Dam on our way out. No one else was around so we figured that it was a perfect spot to have some more snacks before the last couple miles back to the car. It was such a nice day, even though it was pretty windy. We got back to the Loj around 1:20 and headed right to the Lake Placid Pub and Brewery for a post high peak beer! Another great day in the Adirondacks! 17/46