The Daily Star, Oneonta, NY - otsego county news, delaware county news, oneonta news, oneonta sports

Rick Brockway

September 20, 2013

People make hiking more interesting

I hesitate to write more about my Mt. Marcy climb, but some things about the hike are still lingering in my head.

Those “things” are the people you meet along the trail.

As we drove into Heart Lake to park on the very first morning of our hike, we were asked, “Do you have a bear canister?” Of course we did. They’re required since using a bear canister to keep your food away from those pesky, black, furry panhandlers has greatly decreased the number of bear encounters. But they’re still a problem at Marcy Dam and Lake Colden.

Two miles up the trail, we met a ranger who was putting up some new trail signs. Her first question was, “Do you have a bear canister?” Once a bear finds food, it will always return to that same area for more.

Anyway, enough about bears. Sadly, we never saw one.

The first interesting people we encountered on the trail were four college guys. That meeting was rather brief. We moved to the side of the trail as they went running by, going rock to rock at a frenzied pace.

Their goal was to run, yes run, from Heart Lake to the summit of Mt. Marcy in two hours. Now that’s 7.4 miles uphill, and it’s steep. I’m not sure if they made it on time, but when they passed us, they were on their way back down the mountain and still running.

While filtering water late the first afternoon, a young couple paused to talk. They were heading to a lean-to near Lake Arnold, but I saw a few problems with their plan.

It was already past 5 o’clock. They had missed a turn several miles back, so they had to hike three miles out of their way, and it was going to be dark soon. We ran into them the next day on the back side of Marcy. They finally set up camp at 1:30 in the morning. Funny thing, though: They were still smiling and having fun.

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Rick Brockway

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