Mount Marcy Summit — 5344 ft.

Following the bumper in front of me, ours cars lined up at the end of Adirondack Loj Road, where a greeter at a booth was giving directions to each car based on their destination. “The lot is full, where are you headed?” My early start wasn’t so early after all. It was 8:30am. I exclaimed I was doing a day hike up Mount Marcy, and she directed me back a mile or so where there was another parking area near an access trail to Marcy Dam, an early point of interest along my hike. Following the bumper ahead of me, I steered a “U” turn and made my way back to the overflow parking at South Meadow Road.

After parking, I whipped up two peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and packed them in my bag with apples, granola bars, trail mix, a banana, and a water bottle. At 9:15am, I made my way down South Meadow Road towards the Marcy Dam access trail.

It was a swift 2.8 mile hike to the dam, which served as a nice break to snap some photos and have a slug of water. It was also the first view of any mountains from the trail, including Mount Colden and Avalanche Mountain to the South, and Alagonquin Peak and Wright Peak to the Southwest. From Marcy Dam, it was another 5.1 miles to the summit.

A mix of couples, groups of friends, families with young kids, and elders were all out hiking — the trail was a mix of folks of all ages from different walks of life. I had forgotten how close I was to Canada until I heard several different groups speaking French along the trail. All of us with the same goal, the same challenge, hiking to the summit at our own paces, a game of leap-frog with “have a safe hike” greetings and “see you up the trail” farewells.

Nearing Indian Falls — a unique overlook sitting atop a waterfall with a view of Mount Colden in the distance — the trail was rather soaked, muddy, and treacherous at times. I had intended to bring my trek poles, but realized back at South Meadow Road that I had left them at home. I regretted forgetting them, especially during the wet inclined portions of the trail, but the only thing to do when hiking is press on. It felt as though I was nearing the top, though an occasional view through the trees towards the neighboring mountain was a reminder that there was quite a bit of hiking left before the summit.