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Fantastic Marcy View
The view of Marcy from here was great - it loomed close above us, white against darker clouds. Thicker clouds were moving in, though, and I hoped they wouldn't start ruining our views!

The hike back down to the Lake was efficient and fast: 15 minutes from summit to packs. Jenn was glad that we had no further "trailless" peaks to do for our winter 46. In fact, Jenn was heard to exclaim that "that was it for her - the last untrailed bushwhack in the Adirondacks she would ever have to do!"
Back along the ridge
Upon reaching my pack, I noticed that I'd left my headlamp on the ground. Careless of me, I thought. Then I noticed some plastic bags on the ground - and some food! Crap - some critter got into our packs! I looked inside the top pouch of my pack, where all my food was stored, and all of it was gone.

I looked around a bit, and noticed that there was a variety of stuff scattered about - the bag with my peanuts was untouched a few feet away; my ziplock with my cookies was next to my pack on the ground; and a few other scattered odd and ends here and there. The critter had made the biggest mess with Jenn's food, though - ripping apart her ziplock of almonds and red licorice, scattering them all over the ground.

Based on the footprints in the snow, we suspected a Marten - the same slinky cat-like creature that terrorized us in January at the Flowed-lands Lean-to. Jenn noted that she was liking this creature less and less....
Cunning Critter
We took stock, confirming that the animal had indeed eaten a sizeable chunk of our food - however, there were many unopened bags of food lying about. As we were gathering everything up, our little friend popped into view, apparently not yet finished with pilfering our supplies. Perhaps he was ferrying loads back and forth to his home? It was indeed an American Marten - a young one, too.

Even though we had picked everything up, it quickly darted about to the exact spots where it had left various bags. Apparently disappointed with the fact that the humans had returned and foiled his plans, he darted about nervously. Eventually he grew bold enough to edge towards the spilled almonds and licorice, making a combination grunting and growling sound. It was definitely the same creature as the one at the lean-to the month before.
American Marten
Sniffy, sniff
Sharp little teeth!
As it carefully snatched away a few morsels of food, I got out my zoom lens and took a few good shots of it.

We packed up and started off across Lake Tear of the Clouds towards the Four Corners Junction, which we reached after a short ten minute hike. Imagine our surprise and amazement when we saw a track broken up from - gasp - Panther Gorge, and leading up to Marcy! Hardly anyone comes up from Panther Gorge. And so soon after a big dump of snow? What luck! One less bit of trailbreaking for us. Woohoo!
Climbing to Skylight
The trail to Skylight was still unbroken, and so we still faced a 700-ish foot climb with trailbreaking. Having the two Jasons with us, though, made things much easier. Rotating the lead amongst four is an order of magnitude better than two.

The ascent of Skylight seemed to take very little time, in fact, and Jenn was leading the last section up into the beautiful section of open alpine terrain leading to Skylight's summit. The wind picked up in the open, and with an ambient temperature of about -17C (0F), we needed to cover up.
Marcy from Skylight
Reaching treeline
Jason climbs past Haystack
Standing on the summit of Skylight was number 44 for Jenn and I, number 41 for Jason and Jason. Another somewhat significant milestone was that this summit of Skylight marked the completion of my second regular 46er round. I've done 'em all at least twice now. Looking across the gulf to the east, we could see number 2-to-go looming above us, and off to the right, the last one - Haystack Mountain.
Nearing the summit
Andrew and Jenn on Skylight
Jason on Skylight
Swirling clouds came and went, creating a somewhat gray late afternoon. Once in a while a brilliant shaft of sunlight would come shining through, and then quickly close with the gusty winds. Marcy looked gray and half obscured.
The Last Two
Blustery view to the west
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