Saturday, September 29, 2007

Adirondacks Mt. Marcy Climb (Sept 28, 2007)

I made it back after a 5 hr traffic-congested drive home from the High Peaks area of the Adirondacks in upstate NY. Overall, what a great trip! My friend and hiking buddy, Ed, WA3WSJ, met me in Keene, NY which is the jump off for the Johns Brook hike-in Lodge and trail to Mt Marcy.

It rained heavily Thursday and later that evening. I met Ed about 11 am Friday at the Trails Inn B&B and we had our "last lunch" in the local village. By 1 am we were on the trail up to the hike-in Johns Brook Lodge. What a great place! There were several family groups there (one of about 8 or 9 guys) who come up every year to hike. I was able to get a dipole in the trees and made several contacts on 20m with my Elecraft K1...one with an 88 yr old in Fl (KJ4DU) who grew up in this area! We had a long qso...he had hiked "many times" the area we were in! I tried 30m but then the evening rain showers started up and really didn't quit until the next morning.

Around 7am on Saturday I tried 30m but the band was dead. I called CQ for about 15 mins but the band was really dead. So Ed and I left around 8 am and started the 3000' and 5.4 mile climb to Mt Marcy. After two miles you start "The Ascent" which is like climbing up a creek bed....all wet boulders and like a stream because of the recent heavy rains. We intended to stay at a lean-to just before The Ascent but it was torn down. The plan was to leave a bunch of gear at the lean-to but we had to forge on with full packs. The sun was peaking in-and-out of the morning clouds but the wind was howling higher up on the mountain. After 4 hours, we got to the trailhead for the remaining 0.6 miles to the top. Ed was behind me a bit, negotiating the rock climb much more carefully than I. Water everywhere. It had really rained hard the last few days and deep puddles made hiking the trail difficult. The last 0.6 miles to the top is above tree line...just rock and very exposed. The wind was steady at 30 mph and gusting much higher. And cold since theclouds kept the top socked in. Occasionally the clouds would part and you would get a great view of the mountainous area. Really magnificient vistas. The temp was in the 40's but the wind chill made it miserable. I was in gloves and hooded jacket. I still entertained using the Jackite fibreglass pole and stringing up my dipole but when I got to the top the wind was way too much and by then I was really cold. So I snapped a few pictures when the clouds parted then headed back down the exposed rock mountain top to find Ed. I met him about half-way up and when I told him the conditions, he wisely turned around. Now it was around 3 pm and we hadn't seen any possible camping spots. So the only alternative was a 3.4 mi hike down to a shelter we had passed on the way up. Rocks, rocks, and more slippery rocks. Ed now hates rocks, especially slippery rocks! Did I say that Edhates rocks?

We got to the shelter around 5:30 and were really tired. I was going to throw the dipole in the trees but 3 really friendly Canadian guys from the Ontario area showed up and we got talking and before long it was dark. We ate and were in the sleeping bags by 8 pm. Overnight temps were in the 30's...but everyone was toasty. Bears are a real problem up there so you must have a "bear cannister" to protect your food, garbage, toothpaste, etc. Anything that would attract a bear goes in the bear cannister can. We didn't have one but the Canadian guys had space in theirs so it all worked out. Apparently the Rangers will fine you if you don't have one in your camp.
The next morning (Sunday) around 8 am I strung up a 30m dipole in the trees but the bands were really dead. I didn't hear anything, even on 40m. So not much of a dx-pedition. I think to work the close in Polar Bears, I'm gonna have to try a NVIS type antenna. The previous night there was a pipeline into Fl, Al, Tx and the other southern states and while driving up early Fri am, I worked a bunch of guys in Mi, Wi, and Illinois with the IC706 and a screwdriver vertical off the pickup.

So that's the short story. A great adventure and I really enjoyed the country. Lots of Canadians come down for the mountain hikes and vistas.

Guy, N7UN/2