High Peaks For 3 Days … In Crocs

On Friday night I got home from work and tried to figure out what I was going to do that weekend. I had a bunch of commitments, but I really felt strongly like I should blow them off and go backpacking by myself for 3 days. When I sat at my computer looking at my Netflix movies piling up and thinking to myself “I really need to get around to watching those movies” that was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I quickly packed my gear and by 10:00 I was on the road.

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I slept in the minivan 1/2 way there and made it to the high peaks by about 9:00 the following morning. The Garden Lot was full, which is common on the weekends so I had to park at the airstrip a whooping 3 miles away and catch the shuttle. Basically the ordeal sucked, I had to wait for the 2nd shuttle, then they tried to shake me down for $3 for the shuttle and I didn’t bring any money with me. What do I need cash for if I’m hiking in the woods? I hit the trail by 11:00 up John’s Brook.

The last time I was on this trail I was with Mike dragging our kayaks 4 miles up the snow-covered trail to boat what would be my favorite all time run. Dennis (RIP Bro) first bagged John’s brook in the 80’s by himself during the spring runoff and it had become a local favorite with the hair boaters. There is a separate Note about Mike and my adventures on John’s brook, be sure to read that if you get a chance.

The trail to Mt Marcy was an easy one, and I made it in a few hours, I camped on the backside of Marcy and ironically ran into the guy that had replaced me at Olin hall a decade ago when I decided I could not deal with Cornell’s Politics anymore. He was hiking with his buddy Jeff and they had claimed the lean-to so I setup my tent by the creek and had a fabulous night’s sleep.
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The only footwear I brought on the trip was my handy pair of crocs. They worked great at gripping the steeply sloping rocks. There was a couple of times on the saddleback ascent that I wished I had brought my technical climbing shoes. It was also pretty darn cold at the top of the peaks and dropped down to about 25 degrees at night. Somehow I managed to forget my beanie and didn’t bring gloves which I regretted.

The 2nd day was brutal, I summited 4 peaks in the same day. The last one was really intense, Saddleback. I’m at the top of saddleback and looking at climbing the other side of Saddleback and it looks 3x as high and steep as what I had just climbed so I opted out due to lack of time and food and took the ore bed trail back. I camped on the ore bed trail and the next morning I made it back to Garden via the South side of John’s Brook which was far more scenic than the North side. The shuttle was not running on Monday morning so I walked an extra 3 miles back to my car.

It was a great trip, I wish it was longer and I wish I had not chickened out on the Saddleback ascent. It’s hard being back in my ‘normal’ life. I really miss being in the woods.

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