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Columns

August 24, 2012

Hiking up Mount Marcy was worth the weight

The Daily Star — Last weekend, my rock-climbing buddy George and I were talking about a hike up Mount Marcy.

Marcy is the highest peak in New York, reaching 5,344 feet up into the clouds. We looked over my map of this steep, up-and-down terrain and tried to figure out a route that would take in several other peaks as well as some of those special places I’d like to visit once more.

I chuckled almost silently to myself as I noticed a date written on the map — 1979 was clearly marked on Algonquin Peak. That was a memorable trip some 30-plus years ago.

I was teaching high school English in Worcester back then. Several of the teachers took a select group of students on a weekend hike into the Adirondacks each year and I was invited to go along. On a Saturday morning, we were parked at Heart Lake ready to hike over Algonquin, the Adirondacks second highest peak, and spend the night camping at Lake Colden.

When George and I were discussing our upcoming backpacking trip, we talked about equipment, food and the weight we would carry. That last item, weight, is what made me chuckle.

Before leaving on that high school outing, a couple of us decided to play a trick on one of the other teachers. When he was at lunch, we went into his classroom and made a slight addition to his backpack.

Once at the trailhead, most of the students were anxious to get started. They headed up the trail in small groups while the rest of us slowly brought up the rear.

Algonquin Peak lay ahead of us with its summit nestled quietly in the clouds. We took our time, putting one foot in front of the other on a trail that wandered through ancient forest and seemed to forever go up.

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