|View by South Meadow Brook
|South Meadow Brook
I reached Marcy Dam in less than an hour. Despite seeing nobody along the road, the area around Marcy Dam was quite busy. Fortunately, most of the traffic seemed to be headed on the Van Hoevenberg Trail toward Mt Marcy, Phelps, and Table Top. I started my day heading toward Colden first to climb the tougher of the three peaks with fresher legs.
|Looking promising from Marcy Dam
|The rocky trail begins soon after Marcy Dam
|Creeks are low this time of year
|Waterfall running nearly dry
|Trail before turning toward Colden
At any rate, I was back on track. From Lake Arnold the trail climbed nearly 1,000 feet over 1.4 miles switching between gradual and steep terrain. As I gained elevation, I passed open areas that normally would provide some views. The clouds had dropped considerably since I left Marcy Dam and I couldn't see any higher terrain.
|Choya leading the way on a bog bridge
|Choya stopping for a photo
|Colden from the north summit before
the clouds drop in completely
|Clouds starting to obscure the view
|Large boulder shelter near Colden's summit
and nice spot for a snack out of the wind
|Clouds blocking any views from Colden
|Choya on Colden
|Quick glimpse toward Avalanche Pass
|Choya on the narrow path on Colden
in the scrub
|A momentary break in the clouds
|Indian Falls with a low flow
|View from the top of Indian Falls
|Start of trail to Table Top
4,427' Table Top usually doesn't rank too high among the 46ers for it its scenery even though it stands respectably as New York's 19th highest point. Like its name implies the summit is relatively flat and marked with a sign. Without the sign, the high point wouldn't be obvious. There are supposedly limited, obstructed views near the summit. Either way, the clouds dropped even lower than when I was on Colden. I could barely see beyond the treetops. Even though I had the summit to myself, there was no point lingering in the dense fog. I had slightly better brief views on my descent.
|Slight view during descent of Table Top
|Start of trail to Phelps
|Rough section enroute to Phelps
|Clouds are starting to lift
|Colden and Avalanche Pass
|Choya resting on Phelps
|Choya contemplating a nap
|Colden and Avalanche Pass
|Marcy and Colden
|A couple hours later the skies were nearly cloudless
|Colden, Algonquin, and Wright
Leaving Phelps, our climbing for the day was behind us. Back on the Van Hoevenberg Trail Choya seemed energized and took the lead again, moving at quick pace. He led most of the day, but slowed up on the Phelp's Trail, turning the lead over to me. After passing Marcy Dam, we rejoined the easy trail/road toward South Meadow. With the gentle terrain on the trail to South Meadow, we picked up the pace to a jog. Choya seemed to be game for this and moved faster than I wanting to go.
|Parting shot from Marcy Dam
We reached the trailhead just after 330PM, just shy of 9 hours from our start. With my extra mileage missing the trail at Lake Arnold, I put our total distance around 18.8 miles and our total elevation gain at just over a mile. This was right around Choya's longest distance in a day, even though he has climbed more elevation gain in a day. With the rough trail conditions in the Adirondacks, this may have been his most challenging hike.
While I have little desire to climb Table Top again, I would gladly revisit Phelps. I will most likely climb Colden again on a day with better visibility to take advantage of its raved about views. It's pretty common for Phelps and Table Top to be climbed together for a roughly 12 mile trip out of the Adirondack Loj. Experienced hikers that can handle an additional 6 miles should be able to add Colden if two peaks aren't enough for the day. While I would have liked better weather on my first two summits, the lifting clouds and views on Phelps saved the day and made the trip worthwhile.
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