Thursday, January 04, 2007

The One-Two Punch

Mt. Algonquin and Mt. Marcy in One Long Winter Day

January 2001

Tom and I drive five hours North.

11 pm - ADK Loj parking lot

Midnight - hiking towards Algonquin.

We are traveling super light for a winter trek above treeline - stove and summer sleeping bags only. Less weight - more speed.

3 am - We fall asleep somewhere along the trail. Of course, we are freezing in seconds.

5 am - Get up, take a piss and push onwards.

We hit the top of Algonquin around 6 am. Amazing pink alpenglow everywhere. We are filled with energy. We run down the steep backside of Algonquin and dump into Lake Colden.

My right knee is killing me. I throw down 800 mg of vitamin I.

I'm going to pay for this later on in life.

Find a lean-to, eat, drink and take a short rest.

Decision time - head home via Avalanche Lake or stick with the original plan and head towards Marcy?

Tom votes for Marcy. I roger that.

Somewhere along the way, I bonk. I am totally spent.

Tom starts feeding me packets of GU. If I had a needle, I would have cooked that shit up and put it into my veins like a Basketball Diary junkie.

I'm moving once again. We head up.

The backside of Marcy is still a wild place, at least in the winter. We pass Lake Tear of the Clouds, the source of the mighty Hudson River. It starts so pure and ends so polluted. It's a shame.

I think it's early afternoon when we pop onto the summit of Marcy. Tons of people are there (who came up the frontside). Someone asked me where did we come from? I pointed towards Algonquin and said over there. And then I said, really.

There's a point in every adventure where you know that you are home free. As we headed down the frontside of Marcy, I knew we made it.

We were back in the ADK Loj parking lot around 6 pm.

Sleep, wake up, eat and drive home.

18 hours - 2 big peaks - light packs.

Hiking across the Great Range during winter in one long solo push enters my mind. I wonder if it's possible?

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