Monday, December  10, 2018
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Tabletop is the quick morning hike we did on the second day of our two-day trip down to the Adirondacks shortly after Christmas (you can see the account of the first day's hike here). We had to arrive back home in time to pick up Jenn's Brother and Sister-in-law, so we needed something relatively short. Dovetailing nicely with that constraint was the fact that the forecast called for cloudy in the morning, but light snow in the afternoon. So - something fast, and something Jenn needed for her winter 46er quest.... ah, match found: Tabletop Mountain.

Ewart was also doing winter 46er hikes today - but not Tabletop. He needed Iroquois. We decided to share parking fees at the ADK Loj parking lot, and we set off together, shortly after 5:30am, all of us aiming to get up and down our peaks before the weather turned.

After a short while, we reached the junction with the trail up to Algonquin, and parted ways with Ewart. We then quickly set off to our own destinations - Marcy Dam, Indian Falls, then Tabletop's summit.
Dark at the dam
The Nature of Things
Flood evidence
The trail to Marcy Dam was a hard-packed highway, and we bare-booted it to there. From Marcy Dam, the trail was still pretty firm all the way up to Indian Falls, although a bit less so.

At Indian Falls (we took a minor detour to the falls and it's lookout), we were delighted to see that the cloud layer was high and thin - well above the elevations of the peaks, and we had excellent views to the MacIntyre range. The textured nature of the cloud deck above created moody, dramatic scenery.
Indian Falls Skyscape
Indian Falls Skyscape
MacIntyres Zoomed
Algonquin closeup
Off to Tabletop
Beginnings of Change
Returning to the junction of the main trail with the herdpath to Tabletop (which, btw, is now very clearly marked with a sign), we set off. The trail was broken out and in excellent condition. There was very little blowdown, and we made good time, soon reaching the steep portion of the trail and a few limited views. We could see dark tendrils of lower clouds starting to lick at the higher summits. Bad weather coming!

We ourselves were only a few minutes from the summit, though, so we hurried along and in short order reached it. Only nine more winters now for Jenn!
Encroaching clouds
Encroaching clouds
Single digits!
We took in more views at the limited lookout just south of the summit. More of the dark, lower cloud deck had seeped over the high peaks in the few minutes since our last view. It wouldn't be long before everything was obscured.

Haystack always looks so pointy and dramatic from this lookout. Today it was even more dramatic as a funky sweep of low cloud curled above it's summit.
Carpet of Darkness
Marcy Misting Over
The Haystack Wave
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