|The natural bridge - note size of humans for scale!|
I booked a campsite for two nights at Meadowbrook Campground, a half-hour drive away from the trailhead at the Adirondack Loj, since it fit the budget much better than the exorbitantly-priced (in my opinion) Loj. We hit the road on Saturday morning with hopes that the forecast for chance thunderstorms would prove to be a lie, and headed out West to see what the weekend would bring.
|Waterfall in Noisy Cave|
We got to check out a few caves, although we didn't have time to embark on the more in-depth adventure tour which gets a little more wet and wild. Noisy Cave was a winner in our books - an underground cascade of foaming white water, roaring over glossy smooth black boulders. Unfortunately, the crowds were getting to us and we made our way fairly quickly through the park, taking in the various sights such as Lost Pool Cave, Garnet Cave, The Potholes, The Oyster Shell and a not-so-tranquil Tranquility Point as efficiently as we could without becoming too entrenched in human traffic jams.
|Us being cute in matching "Doctor Hoo" outfits|
We were up well before 5 am, with the intention of hitting the trail before 6. Packs ready and boots laced up tight, we jumped into the car, turned the key in the ignition, and...had our hearts skip a beat as the engine sputtered and failed to start. Apparently, our battery was dead. We surveyed the campground with sinking hearts as the utter still of pre-dawn lay fixedly over every soundly-sleeping camper, as we were apparently the only ones trying to get any sort of early start that morning.
|Lady's Slipper Orchid|
Nothing comes easy though, and we got slightly (embarrassingly) lost trying to navigate back to our site (it's strange how different things seem on foot when you're used to seeing them from a car), but we eventually made it, managed to maneuver the cars within cable-length distance of each other despite some inconveniently-placed trees, and the jumpstart actually worked. Thankful that we had woken up ahead of schedule and were still in good time, we made the drive over to the Adirondack Loj, paid up the day parking fee and began our expedition.
|View at Marcy Dam|
Marcy Dam was a good spot for a quick sit and relax, with the mirror-calm waters reflecting the imposing mountains surrounding the lake - Mount Colden, Avalanche, Wright Peak, and Algonquin, I believe. The view was pretty, but it was still too close to ground level - we didn't want to dawdle too much as we knew the path was only uphill from there on, and we resumed our onwards journey after a brief rest.
It was a heart-lifting moment to emerge onto the rocky outcrop from which the falls cascaded, and to see the peaks of the Adirondacks stretching out before us. We took a moment to enjoy the panoramic view and managed to get our shoes wet while splashing over the fall's headwaters, but we returned to the trail proper with renewed vigor.
|Taking a break|
|View from the top|
We admired the rolling, hazy greenery that seemed to stretch into forever, and picked out our next Adirondack conquest (Algonquin, the only other over-5000-footer in the range) as we munched on victory Snickers bars and basked in the sunshine, willfully ignoring the fact that we still had over 7 miles to go on our way back down. Sadly, our mountain high couldn't last for ever and after sufficient snacking, we picked ourselves up and got ready to return from whence we came. Off we went, but not before checking out the memorial plaque that proclaimed that we were standing on "Tahawus - Cloud-Splitter", which we felt was definitely a more fitting name than Marcy, considering that the guy only commissioned the expedition and didn't even climb it himself...
|We made it up!|
With the home stretch in sight, we powered through the last 2 (thankfully relatively flat) miles back to the trailhead, although they were 2 miles that I could have definitely done without. We made it back to our car at 2.45 pm, having started the trail at 6 am, jelly-legged but content with our 8 hour 45 minute hike time and another gorgeous high point summited.
More photos from the trip can be found in my Adirondack album on my Flickr page!