Saturday, April 23, 2011
Easter Adventure 2011
Every Easter Jason and I try to get out and enjoy the backcountry. This year we decided to venture to the Adirondacks. We have been out west a few times and seen beautiful mountains, but the ADK's hold a special place in our hearts. It is actually the place we started dating but that's another story. Friday morning we woke up at 4:45 and was out the door by 5am. Of course we had to make a few stops before we actually hit the road. We did a donut run at Dalo's and the ran to Sheetz to fill up on gas and get Jason some coffee. We finally set out on our 6 hour drive. Once in the High Peaks of the Adirondack Park we had to stop by our favorite store in Keene Valley, The Mountaineer http://mountaineer.com/. I seemed to have lost 1 glove so I had to pickup a pair. We also stopped for lunch at a place we had never visited before, ADK Cafe and Deli. We walked in and the lady said "Happy Earth Day". Didn't know it was earth day. HA HA! Jay got a grilled cheese and I got a BLT. YUM! We also sat and listened to these 2 guys talk about genomes???? We finished our drive to the ADK LOJ where we rented snowshoes. They are required this time of year, even though we never used them. I kept my microspikes on and didn't have any issues. At about 3pm we finally hit the trail.
It was a 3 mile hike to our lean to. Since it was late in the day we planned to spend some time at Marcy Dam.
On Saturday we planned on summiting Mt Colden http://www.summitpost.org/mount-colden/150556. The ranger recommended avoiding Avalanche Pass and summitting up the back of the mountain. So, that was our plan. We set up camp in the lean to, cooked dinner,
carved our initials
and then headed to bed around 7pm. Since I do not know the exact time I would guess the wind started around 9pm. It was so strong and sounded like a jet engine. At times I also thought I heard a avalanche on one of the nearby slides but I don't know. All I know is it was very loud. I do not sleep well when I camp in general. I have really good hearing and every crack and snap in the woods I think it's a bear coming to eat me. HA! I normally take IB Profin PM so I can try to get a few hours of sleep but I forgot it in the car. So I was up all night, literally. I had to listen not only to the wind and the cracks and snaps in the forest but I also had to listen to Jason and Kenzie snoring. NO FAIR! Also, since I am a nervous camper I have to go the bathroom like every hour. My guess is fear driven? It's stupid I know. Again, if I would have had my drugs I would have been fine. So, I stayed up listening to everything and fearing a tree was going to fall or a bear was going to attack us. Around 2:30am I felt some moisture coming into the tent. We had the rain fly off and our bags are down so I woke Jason up and asked that he help me put the rain fly on. When I stepped out of the tent I was shocked to see snow. It wasn't a lot of snow, just a dusting, but Jason and I wasn't expecting it. The forecast had only called for rain. Around 6am the wind was still not letting up. I told Jason that we should attempt to hike back to the car. The trail was covered in snow and the wind was snapping branches everywhere but we decided to pack up and give it a try. We knew if all else failed we would come back to the lean to and just stay another night. We had a 3 mile hike back in the wind, snow and sleet (yes it started sleeting too).
The trail was very easy to navigate and luckily we have good gear to keep us warm. It took us 1.5 hours to hike back. That included several stops to take photos and video so we made it back pretty quickly. Once we returned our snowshoes, threw Kenzies poop out (HA HA, we made her carry it!) & changed clothes we started our long journey home.
I have been telling Jason for a long time that I wanted to try winter backpacking. Even though I was fearful the entire time due to the wind it was probably one of the best backpacking trips I have ever been on. Now that we are back home I miss it already. I can't wait to go back.
Marcy Dam Before the storm
Marcy Dam during the storm. Photo taken in same direction as above. The big mountain disappeared.
Trail Name this trip: Frodo (Tonya), Sam (Jason)
Fact you probably didn't know about the DAKS: The park is the largest publicly protected area in the contiguous US, greater in size than Yellowstone, Everglades, Glacier & Grand Canyon National Park combined.