It truly is getting harder and harder to leave this magical place, and we have only been there a few times this year! Mike and I have the goal of becoming ADK 46ers, when it will actually happen we aren't sure - I guess it depends on how often we can get up there every year.
The Bern isn't sure what awaits him the next day!
This time we left Rochester after work and got to our cabin at the KOA in Wilmington around 10pm. We had stopped at a Stewarts quickly for some sandwiches for dinner. We got our cabin set up quickly and got our stuff ready for the next day's adventure before settling in for the night.
I made Mike turn around so I could get a sunrise photo
At 5:15am we woke up and got ready for a full day of hiking. Thankfully, we only had a 30 minute drive to the South Meadow truck trail this time, so we didn't have to rush. We got there a little bit before 7am and after getting all of our last minute stuff together, the three of us were off at 7:10am.
Starting off our day at the South Meadow truck trail!
Signing in at the register, about .2 miles into our hike
Our plan was to hike Tabletop and Phelps, with a stop at Indian Falls along the way. The first 2.6ish miles were relatively uneventful. Since it was so early we only saw one other person at the register (who later passed us while we were taking some photos). Most people start the hike we were doing from the ADK Loj, but we didn't feel like paying for parking! Our route added about a mile to the hike, but since this portion was flat, we didn't really mind.
We made it to Marcy Dam and made sure to take some photos since it is in the process of being torn down due to repeat damage during storms.
At this point in our day we kept going on the Van Hoevenberg Trail, the same trail people use to get to Mt. Marcy. We passed by the junction for Phelps Mountain but we kept going toward Tabletop.
The Bern loves hiking!
Part of the trail on the way to Tabletop
Our first major stop of the day was at Indian Falls. I am so glad we went here! It only adds about .2 miles to the trip so it is definitely worth it! I think it was our favorite part of the day, the views are amazing.
This view alone was worth the hike
My family <3
After some exploring and photos, we kept going back toward the Tabletop herd path. Tabletop is a trail-less, unmaintained peak. However, the herd path is well traveled and was easy to follow. Thankfully, the trail wasn't too wet, and while it was narrow in some spots we were able to get up it with relative ease. We saw one person coming down the mountain while we were going up. I didn't think we would see many people because mostly aspiring 46ers climb Tabletop Mountain.
Making our way up the herd path
Tabletop Mountain - 19th of the 46 high peaks at 4,413 feet
This turned out well for using the timer on my camera!
We reached the summit of our 3rd High Peak at 10:50am. Although it is a wooded summit we were able to get some views while up there. We took a few photos, and a father/son duo reached the summit right before we were going to head back down. I took some photos for them and then we found out that they were also going hike Phelps. We said we hoped we'd see each other up there and then we went on our way.
We actually saw a lot of people going up the mountain while we were heading back down. I was surprised! Lots of aspiring 46ers out there on Saturday.
Ready to tackle our 4th high peak!
We went back down the same way we came, all the way back to the junction for Phelps Mountain. Since it was still early enough we planned to eat lunch at the summit. While taking a water break for Bernie at the junction, the father/son duo caught up to us. We kind of went back and forth with each other up the entire mountain.
The trail to the top of Phelps climbs relatively quickly, about 1,200 feet over a mile. We took a few breaks here and there for the Bern and took in the views along the way. There were some rock scrambles that were interesting for Bernie, but we managed.
He's so handsome
The trees started to thin out as we got closer to the top, and after walking through a little trail in the woods we came out on to a rock shelf. We decided that the cairn there marked the summit and took in the views for awhile. We got to the summit around 1:25pm.
It was so windy that we went back into the wooded area to eat our lunch. Bernie enjoyed the break as well! We went back out to the open summit to take some photos and appreciate the views some more. It was gorgeous!
The 4th high peak for our family! Phelps is the 32nd highest of the 46 peaks at 4,160 feet
Taking in the views
We started to make our way back down to connect with the Van Hoevenberg trail again. Luckily, after getting down the Phelps trail the rest of the way wasn't too bad. We did take a few breaks for Bernie, who was getting tired, here and there.
Appreciating a little rest
I love this photo of them!
Checking us out at the register
It started to rain slightly as we were walking along the South Meadow truck trail, but nothing major. After getting back to the register to check out, we got back to our car at 4:30pm, for a total hike time of 9 hours and 20 minutes. Our hike ended up being 14.5 miles.
This is a tired pup!
We ended the day with some dinner at Noon Mark Diner, I'm not even going to say how many pieces of pie we ate! We did have plans to hike Big Slide the next day, but Bernie was too tired. I think we found his hiking limit and we are going to try to only do 10 mile hikes or less with him from now on.
It was a great weekend, and I am missing the mountains quite a bit right now!