The Plan:Hike from the ADK Loj to Marcy Dam to 4 Corners to Gray to Skylight to Marcy to Table Top and then to Phelps. Then hike back to the ADK Loj to drive down RT 73 to hike Cascade and Porter.
This past Saturday Kolby and I set out to get a feel for day 6 of our event. We woke up at 5:30AM to clear blue skies and chilled air. Blurry-eyed from a short night’s rest we drove over to the ADK Loj, pulling into our trailhead at around 6:30AM. There we made a quick breakfast and discussed our excitement for the hike ahead. To us there is nothing more exciting than a well-established challenge with a foreseeable juicy hamburger reward that night.
By 7:20AM we had cleaned up and strapped on our lightweight packs. We started out at a steady jog, making it to Marcy Dam in 20 minutes. There we stretched, grabbed a snack and signed in. Our plan was to hike up to 4-Corners, where we would climb Gray, Skylight and then Marcy. Still full of energy we decided to continue running until the trail started drastically increasing in elevation. On the way up we met some fellow hikers, and were excited to learn that some of them had heard of our cause.
Perhaps we were a little too excited, because we made our first mistake of the day and of the summer. We ended up summiting Marcy first, which added an extra 2 miles to our day. Deciding ‘not to sweat the small stuff’ we worked on making up the lost time by cutting out time spent on the summits and by increasing our pace. On top of Marcy, Kolby asked:
“Is it just me or has Marcy shrunk?”After standing on the “roof” of New York, we ran down Marcy’s backside and over and up to Skylight. There we met two individuals, who were just starting their 46er journey. After a quick chat, we turned on our heels and headed down Skylight and over to Gray. Gray’s herd path had us scrambling over branches and under fallen trees to a summit where we met two young men who shared our passion for hiking. Following several photos, we once again ducked under trees and jumped over branches back to the base of Gray. From there we trail ran down towards the junction for Indian Pass. After a few miles, Kolby and I ran into two fellow hikers who gave us great insight to various great Adirondack hikers whom were known for their long and strenuous hikes. After the short pause we picked the pace back up to a run, feeling new strength from the past few strenuous months of training. Trees and boulders whipped past us and, at some point, so did our junction. Soon we realized our mistake, but it was too late. We decided the fastest way to Tabletop and Phelps was to continue the rest of the way back to Marcy Dam. We did a few calculations and concluded that we had officially added another 8 miles to our day. We shook our heads, kicked ourselves for not being as observant as we needed to be and hiked back up towards Phelps and Table Top. We scrambled up Table Top’s herd path and grabbed a snack and a picture at the summit. Running out of time, we hiked down and back to the trail for Phelps. We soon came to the realization that hiking Cascade and Porter was no longer an option. Due to both of our mistakes we had added on an extra 10 miles, bringing our day’s total mileage to 28 miles. That total was more than if we had done the day correctly with Cascade and Porter. This sadly meant that after the five mountains our mileage quota for the week was filled, and that we had to forgo summiting Cascade and Porter in order to stick to our schedule and to prevent burnouts at a later date.
A little frustrated but determined to get the best workout in, we decided to turn the last three miles of our hike into a tempo run. Stretching our legs we bounded over roots and zig-zagged around rocks to a full all out energy burn. By the time we ended our hike, we had come to an agreement to not harp on mistakes made, but rather to learn from them and press forward.