This Week: Adirondack Hiking: Top o' New York to you!
"Can I have your job?"
I hear this now and again when I've posted a picture via Twitter or other media from the top of an Adirondack peak or from a boat on Lake Champlain or a concert in one of our region's lakeside parks.
(You'll just have to trust me when I say that I spend more time on my computer at a desk than on my bicycle or in my kayak.)
I took Wednesday off to go hiking - for two reasons. One: it was my husband's birthday, and that's what he wanted to do. And two: I could conduct an in-person, completely unbiased (and unqualified) assessment of the trail conditions that have topped headlines since tropical storm Irene hit the Adirondacks earlier this month.
We decided to hike somewhere in the Eastern High Peaks. After a short conversation, we settled on challenging the very tallest one; Mount Marcy.
I'll write up a detailed report of the climb itself, but for "work", I was primarily interested in two things: how was the temporary detour over the river near Marcy Dam (now gone due to flooding), a common crossing for a number of popular trail destinations, and were the trails covered in trees from the storm?
We hiked the trail from Adirondack Loj on a day that it was easy to find a parking spot - pre-foliage, mid-week. It was sunny and about 70 degrees. Perfect, really.
We started out with our dog on the two-mile jaunt to Marcy Dam - hoping the river crossing wasn't going to soak our feet for the rest of the hike.
The Marcy Dam trail diversion was very well-marked, and required a few quick hops from stone to stone across the river just below the previous dam location in two sections separated by a little spot of land. Our dog hesitated at one point - questioning the landing stone we'd chosen as she was on leash, but otherwise we crossed without incident.
There was one section near the bottom that has been redirected from its original location; and the new trail was just adjacent to it and met back up with the original fairly quickly. In the entire seven miles up, I noticed only two trees that had fallen recently that had been cut to clear the trail. (Note that I was pretty distracted by leg muscle pain by mile 6, however.)
I have to say generally that if I lived without any access to any media and never heard about "big storm" Irene, I would simply have marveled at how well NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) maintains a very popular trail to New York's highest peak.
When we reached the top, I immediately tweeted my location with a picture - with the "Top o' New York to ya'" message from 5,344 feet in elevation. It WAS officially a vacation day, but, after all, it IS my job, and no, you can't have it.
Kimberly Rielly is the director of communications for the Lake Placid CVB / Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism.