Mount Skylight (and Mt. Marcy)

What a glorious day.

We had previously hiked Mount Skylight in 2012, the year we started tackling the 46 High Peaks in earnest. It was our hardest hike. Ever since, we have been looking to go back. This hike was our primary target for 2015.

Then we both got injured. Well, so what?

Everything in life is about perspective. It hurts more to hike through pristine wilderness on a beautiful sunny day. We have to move slower, and use our hiking poles more carefully, while ascending and descending the most picturesque summits in the Adirondacks. So. What.

Dear friends of ours recently lost a family member who had battled serious health issues his whole life. He refused to apply for handicap tags – after he couldn’t walk. He wasn’t defined by his limitations, but by his aspirations. Hopefully his sons, who lost their father far too early, will be inspired by him – because we certainly are.

We had time during our 17.5-mile hike from the Adirondack Loj to think about him and our friends and family who have faced adversity. What a glorious day.

Our route took us up the well-maintained Van Hoevenberg trail, 7.4 miles and 3,166 vertical feet to the top of Mount Marcy. We told several groups who had stopped for breaks about halfway, to be sure to check out the top of Indian Falls – it is only about 25 yards off the trail but if you don’t follow the side path you’ll miss it completely. Hopefully some of them stopped on the way back.

View from the top of Indian Falls (infrared)
View from the top of Indian Falls (infrared)

After a brief lunch, we continued over Marcy’s summit towards Four Corners, where we would ascend Mount Skylight. The ascent of Marcy only has a brief steep climb at the top; the descent to Four Corners is almost 1,000 vertical feet in 0.8 miles. Most of the way is over steep open rock, and we knew with every step down that we needed to go right back up.

The short 0.5-mile, 578-vertical foot ascent of Mount Skylight from Four Corners follows a rocky gully, making for a quick ascent to one of the most glorious vistas in the Adirondack Park.

View of Mt. Marcy from Mt. Skylight
View of Mt. Marcy from Mt. Skylight

Our return took us back down those 578 vertical feet to Four Corners and then steeply up the 1,000 vertical feet to Marcy’s summit again. From there is was one big downhill walk back to the Loj.

As if to punctuate our trip, just before the end we met a newly-minted 46er, who had just finished on Mount Skylight. She was in great spirits, despite her pained gait. She had hiked her first High Peak with her husband in 1967.

What a glorious day!