Conquering Mount Marcy…

But just a minute before she almost conquered me! HOLY CRAP!!! Let me start this post by saying that Marco and I are avid hikers.  Before Mary came into my life, Callie became pregnant, and I started working overnights, we pretty much hiked every weekend.  We consider ourselves experienced hikers and campers that are pretty knowledgeable about all things “woods”.  Well, let me tell you, we had NO FREAKING IDEA what we were getting ourselves into!

We have never done an overnight hike, so we pretty much gauged what we thought would happen based on some of our previous longer day hikes and our years and years of camping.  We were sadly mistaken.  Let me paint this picture for you…

Friday morning I came home from my overnight shift at about 5:30am.  I slept all of an hour before getting all of my stuff together, fitting it all in my pack, throwing on my hiking gear and heading out the door.  We stopped to get some breakfast and started our 5 hour drive up to the Adirondacks.  It was nice catching up with Marco.  We talked about everything and nothing at all, both at the same time.  We didn’t even play the radio the whole way there.  It was just us, conversation, and miles and miles of road.  When I had about a quarter of a tank of gas left, I decided to start looking for a gas station.  Apparently, up in “West Hell” NY, they seem pretty hard to come by.  When my gas light came on (indicating about 30 miles of driving left) and there was still no station in sight, we both started to panic.  That would not be a great way to start this trip! Literally, throwing my car in neutral as often as I could, we found a station about 20 miles out of the way, only to get back on course and see that there was one about a 2 minutes drive in the right direction from where we had taken our detour.  Thanks for freaking nothing Siri!

We arrive at the Adirondack Loj, pay our overnight parking fee, beeline for the restroom, and start our trek.  At about the 3 mile point (and .5 miles from one of the 2 designated campsites) we meet one of the members of the trail crew.  THANK GOD, because we were getting ready to make an 8 mile round-trip hike from our campground to the summit at 3pm.  After a few minutes of chatting and her making sure that we had a bear canister, She estimated that from the campsite, it would take us about 3 hours to get to the summit and anywhere from 2-3hrs to get back, leaving us pretty much in complete darkness for the 2nd half of the hike.  Being in Bear country, that probably wasn’t the best idea, so she convinced us to stay put until morning.  We weren’t too pleased about that, but decided it was probably the best.  So we set up camp, ate some dinner, and started a small campfire (even though technically we weren’t supposed to). Now, we were under the impression that tons of people camp when they make this hike.  Imagine our surprise when 7pm rolled around and our tent was still the only one there! Now, normally, this wouldn’t been an issue except that the ranger lady scared the crap out of us, repeating and reiterating that “There is a really, really, really, really, really, really, really high volume of bear traffic, so no cooking after 6pm”.  So now we’re thinking, if a person screams in the woods and there is no one there to hear them, do they make noise? OH LAWD! So now, we’re petrified, I’m on 1 hour of sleep, we technically can’t make a fire so it’s at a minimum, we’re freezing, and starving and aren’t allowed to eat and we probably couldn’t find our bear canister if we wanted to because it was so dark out there.  We did have headlamps though, but we didn’t want to turn them on because then you could only see directly in front of you and not ALL AROUND you! So basically, even though we had a bit of fun and had a good laugh in our tent (we made a video just in case someone found our bodies in the morning), it was a pretty terrible night.

We woke at 6 am after only about 2 uninterrupted hours of sleep, left our site and started our ascent up to the summit.  To make a long story short, it was knees to chest, rocks looking like stairs, heavy breathing and lots of breaks for me all the way to the top.  At one point (for the first time ever!) I sat down, looked at the top of the mountain and almost cried because I just couldn’t go on anymore.  Marco is the best! He encouraged me, cheered me on, and told me that once we get to the top, it would all be worth it! And was it ever!!!! The view was breathtaking (or maybe that was just the 40+ mile an hour winds at the summit).  It was like nothing I’ve ever seen before.  It’s the way our beautiful planet was intended to be seen; green, mountainous, unspoiled, sparkling.  We were literally in the clouds.  It was an experience that you can’t really put words to.  You have to experience it for yourself.  I took a few minutes to think about the things in life that matter the most, the upcoming arrival of my babies, and how conquering this mountain despite how difficult it was really a metaphor for a lot of my life.  And the best part was being so blessed to be able to share it with my best friend.

We had our sandwich lunches, some trail mix, and beef jerky and then after about 20 minutes, began our descent.  Here we were thinking it was going to be easier! Pssshhh!!!! I’m usually better at going down than Marco is (hahaha) , and he’s better on the way up.  We balance each other out that way.  He waits for my outta shape self on the way up, and I wait for his cautious ass on the way back down.  But after 7 miles up, our feet were sore, our legs were on overdrive, and with minimal food (the bears remember?!) we were pretty much running on the fumes of our fumes.  Got back to camp, packed up our things (but not before the same lady who told us about the site reprimanded us for making a fire) and made the rest of the 2.7 mile troop to the car.  I quickly took my boots off (the blood blisters on both my feet needed to breathe), put on my Adidas slides, had a good quick stretch, and drove off.  We pretty much laughed the whole way home at how pathetic we were thinking we were gonna be back by noon, 1pm the latest, and actually ended up getting back to the car at almost 5pm.  Despite it having been a grueling mission to the top of the mountain, and waking the next day thinking I was paralyzed,I wouldn’t change a thing about the whole experience.  It reminded me to cherish my relationships with my closest friends, to make time for myself, and to teach my kids about the beauty there is in the world, despite how difficult the climb to find it.  Mount Marcy, you almost got me…almost…

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Starting our trip

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Setting up camp and making our way in the morning

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Signing in (in case the bears at us!)

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Almost there!

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We finally made it!

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Oh, we gots to go! That was a lot!

 

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10 thoughts on “Conquering Mount Marcy…

  1. Hmmmm – here’s a telling off for you. As someone who used to own an outdoor adventure company & who has completed a lot of RAMS forms (Risk Analysis Management Systems), if you had been one of my staff or clients I would have not have been happy to let you start that hike with the lack of sleep, after the long drive etc. I certainly wouldn’t have allowed you to do the second day given the increased exhaustion & lack of nutrition. You could’ve made some serious mistakes out there. Thank goodness the ranger person told you about the time to do the summit and you didn’t attempt it on the first afternoon! I hope your next hike is a little safer – those twinnies need their Mama you know. (I hope you don’t mind the critique.)

  2. The part of this post I can most relate to is fear of bears when you’re totally alone in the woods! That was me & Catch on our last camping trip! That’s also why we ended up spending the last two nights of our trip in a motel. LOL

    I am so impressed that you guys made it to the top! That took some serious effort! It’ll be a great adventure to tell the babies about someday!

    • Thanks! I was actually really impressed by the amount of kids like 8-12 that had their huge 30+lbs packs on treking up to the summit too…i was truly in awe…we are adults and we were dying! So I was excited to think that one day, we might actually SHARE that story…its a really cool thought

  3. I am impressed, and jealous of the view! I wouldn’t have made it 10 minutes!! That is awesome! Come to AZ and we can take you to all our deserty mountains – I’ll ride a mule hahaha!

  4. Pingback: A Whole Year | thechroniclesofanonbellymama

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