For my last winter hike of the year, I went back up north and decided to do a "simple" 12 mile hike, TableTop and Phelps. The weather forecast was good, but suggested weather would be moving in later in the day.
I got to ADK Loj about 6, and was on the trail by 630. The VanHovenberg trail is a highway, and I made good time to Marcy Dam. Things were a little slower going up to the TableTop herd path, but overall, made reasonable time. What I noticed though was the lack of people. I describe this trail as a highway because it's 4 feet wide until you get close to the top of Marcy, and it's always full of people. You usually can't go more than 10 minutes without seeing someone coming the other way, passing someone, or being passed. That's in summer though. In winter, I only passed a couple dozen people the whole day on this trail. It was solitude I wasn't fully expecting to find, and it was appreciated.
The herd path up TableTop was well broken, and I helped pack it down some more. Towards the top, the trail becomes exposed a little, and you get amazing views of Algonquin, Wright, and Iroquois. It was starting to get cloudy though. By the time I hit the true peak, like 15 minutes later, visibility of the other mountains was disappearing. Once again, I couldn't see the tops of Marcy or Haystack from here, and the view of the great range was cut off around 4800 feet.
Once again though, my injury that I aggravated on Allen, reared its head. I thought if it didn't feel better by the time I got to Phelps, I would just head out. I got down Tabletop with no issues and back down the VanHovenberg trail to the junction with Phelps. I stopped, had some food and water, and about 10 minutes later was ready to go. I take one step up with my left leg, and feel the pain. Nope, Phelps can be done another day. I know the mountain has some nice views on the ledge on top, so with the weather the way it was, I wasn't going to see much anyways. Not a big loss. The rest of the hike out was unremarkable.
There were a couple things that I did though that stuck out. First, I couldn't see any sign of the old high water bridge I crossed in 2020. I know they removed it then, and I was looking for it as still shows up in online maps. It wasn't there at all, so I removed it from OpenStreetMaps after the hike. The other was that the old trail to Marcy Dam has been closed for a few years now, replaced by a gentler one that adds like 0.1 miles to the hike to the dam. In the summer, there is brush blocking it off. In the winter, the snow just covers up the brush and most everyone used the old trail, myself included.
This make #6/46 for winter 46.
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