Thursday, July 24, 2008

Trail Camp Trip to the High Peaks

Last Week, Trail Camp went on a hiking trip to the High Peaks. On Monday morning Trail Camp was dropped off at the Garden in Keene Valley. Our Hiking group consisted of 8 campers aged 14 and 15 and 3 counselors. We had a 5 miles hike in. We chose to take the southern trail to John's Brook Lodge. The trail follows John's Brook the whole way. We had to cross the brook after about half a mile which wasn't very easy becase of the heavy rain on the previous day. We then hiked another 2 miles and got to a bridge that has been rebuilt this spring. After crossing the bridge we passed the Interior Outpost and about a quarter hour later we reached John's Brook Lodge. We then took a break before we continued our hike to Bushnell falls. We reached the lean-tos in the early afternoon. Because of our big group size we had to stay in two different lean-tos. After settling into the lean-tos we spent some time at the Bushnell Falls. I like these falls very much and that day, they were even more impressive because of the high water. After spending some time at the falls we went back to our lean-tos and cooked dinner. One of the campers volunteered and cooked hamburgers on our stove.

On our second day we got up early, ate breakfast and hiked to Mount Marcy (Order of height: 1; 5344 ft (1729 m)). Mount Marcy is the highest peak in the State of New York and has amazing views. It is pretty much in the center of the High Peaks and we could see many other peaks from its top. We were one of the first groups on top and enjoyed the view very much.

We hiked down the other side of Marcy and reached Four Corners. From there the campers had the option of hiking Mount Skylight (Order of height: 4; 4920 ft (1500 m)). The weather was good so we had a very good view from top of Skylight. At this point we decided to hike back to camp. For this purpose we split up in two groups. One group hiked the same way back over Marcy. The other group also hiked back over Marcy but took a different way. We hiked to a Lake called Tears of the Cloud and bushwhacked Gray Peak (Order of height: 7; 4840 ft (1475 m)). This was the only trailless peak we did on this trip and it was very special. There was a distinct trail but it was not maintained by the NYSDEC and there were no trail markers. When we reached the top marked by a sign we saw the other group on their way up Marcy. We could also see the Lake Tears of the Cloud where the traiheadl to Gray Peak is. We then hiked back up Marcy and back to our Lean-tos.

On our third day we hiked two totally seperate dayhikes. One group hiked the upper Great Range consisting of BasinMountain (Order of height: 9; 4827 ft), Saddleback Mountain (Order of height: 17; 4515 feet), and Gothics (Order of height: 10; 4736 ft). The other group only hiked one peak: Mount Haystack (Order of height: 3; 4960 ft (1512 m)). I have done a very similar trip before so I wanted to do Haystack while another group of hikers went to climb the other three peaks. Haystack is not very far from our campsite but we had to gain a lot of height. Haystack is the third highest peak in the state of New York and is almost five thousand feet high. The hike was very strenuous but the views made everthing worth it. We then hiked back and spent some more time at the Bushnell falls.

Our fourth day was the day of our hike out. We left our lean-tos around 10 o'clock and hiked back to John's Brook lodge. One group stayed there and had an extended lunch break while the other group hiked one more peak. It only took us 60 min. to hike 2.5 miles to the top of Lower Wolfjaw Mountain (Order of height: 30; 4175 ft). We not only hiked a far distance but also climbed a lot of elevation. The way back to JBL took us about 40 min. After eating lunch we hiked back to our pick up point (the Garden, Keene Valley). We arrived about five min. before our pick up time. Our driver was already there waiting for us. Our drive back took us about 2 h 15 min and everybody was tired but happy to have achieved so much.
On this trip I climbed three new peaks which makes me a "21er". This is one step closer for me to becoming a 46er. Of all 7 trips I have done to the High Peaks so far this is definitly one of my favorite ones.


Divisional Director TC

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