Winter in the Mountains
In early March, 2003 I was back in Albany again for another meeting. This time, I drove down from Montreal on Interstate 87. Going back north the weather turned to snow as I reached the Lake Placid area and continued to snow lightly almost all the way to Montreal. It was OK driving at a reduced pace, even though a couple of vehicles ended in the ditch near Plattsburg, NY. One of the hazards of this route during the winter months. I had my camera with me but the weather and lack of scenic pull-overs on the highway prevented me from getting any decent photos. Not one of my fondest memories, but this photo of my rental car was taken at a rest-stop on Interstate-87 at Schroon Lake, not far from Ticonderoga and south of Lake Placid area. This was just before I started to encounter the snow on the way north to Montreal.
Mount Marcy, New York, 5,344 feet Above See Level
Mt. Marcy in the northern Adirondacks is the highest peak in the state of New York. Hiking to the top of Marcy a quick walk in the woods.
The first ascent was made in 1837. Although technically not the most challenging hike, be prepared to spend a majority of the day on the trail. Hiking back and forth in one day can be accomplished with the 7 mile Van Hoevenberg Trail on the north side. At 7 miles to the summit from the parking lot of the Adirondack Loj, which is a nine-mile drive from Lake Placid Village, the trail head is accessible and convenient.
The first 2 miles of the Van Hoevenberg trail provides flat cruising on soft ground that enables you to pick up some good steam and get your breathing going that can enable you to catch a smooth rhythm. After 2 miles you come to the rest stop of all rest stops, Marcy Dam.
From here it’s all sweat and uphill tenacity to the top of Phelps Mountain which lies next to Marcy. Basically on the Van Hoevenberg trail, you aren’t climbing Marcy from top to bottom, you’re climbing Mt. Phelps and then crossing over. There are trails that scale Marcy from top to bottom, but be prepared to make it a two-day event if you choose that route.
Climbing uphill for the next 3.5 to 4 miles is mostly within the trees without any views that are worth stopping for. It’s all about keeping the momentum going and imagining the rewarding views once you finally make it above the tree line.
Once you summit Mt. Phelps, the summit of Mt. Marcy proudly stares you in the face. From this point on, it’s all above tree line as hikers scale the rock face leading up to the summit. This is perhaps the most exciting and rewarding part of the hike as the summit is within sight, but yet you are exasperating every last inch of energy to reach the top.
Mt. Marcy is a great day hike that tests your stamina, desire and conditioning. You need no technical climbing skills to accomplish it in the summer.
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Lake Placid, New York
My wife and I wanted to take a trip with my sister and her family. She has two boys that, at the time were 11 and 15. They all live in Florida and the boys had never seen snow. My sister had as we grew up in Western New York State, actually North of Buffalo. Lake Placid ended up being our pick and what a good one it was.
We stayed at a wonderful Bed and Breakfast, went skiing, sledding, and took a dog sled ride. All great fun. I'll get information about some of the things we did soon. Hopefully soon means timely also.
"My Placid Summer"
I spent my entire summer break about 10-15 km from Lake Placid, in a tent, on an island, in a lake, surrounded by large, green mountains (Adirondacks).
I have heard from a resident of the Adirondacks that once you live among those mountains, it is hard to ever leave them. He was so right! Here I am, months after I left the Adirondacks, still wanting to be there.
rssle's new Lake Placid Page
Lake Placid is as close to the heart of the Adirondack Mountains as you can get. Unique in that it gets travelers from around the world because of its' Olympic history. It can be very cold in winter and get LOTS of snow, but if you go prepared for that, you can enjoy a unique and wonderful travel experience.