The way down through the alpine terrain on the eastern side of Marcy's summit was relatively pleasant. It was sheltered from the wind, and the path was far more defined and beaten (due to the fact that it is the far more popular way to ascend the peak). As dusk descended, we were back down in the trees, following the wide, hard trail. And then I decided to experiment.
I had brought along two 'crazy carpets' (plastic sliding sheets) to see if I could refine the technique of sliding down on the trail. Unfortunately, my attempts didn't go so well. Although the trail had some sections that were of the right grade and shape, much of it wasn't steep enough, and there were too many flat sections and even slight rises in between. Jenn quickly decided not to participate and elected to continue down on snow shoes. It would be a good comparison (walking versus sliding). It became clear that, at least on this trail, straight walking on snowshoes is much faster. I finally gave up and packed away the crazy carpet. In the end, I probably wasted about 30 minutes of time. Jason and Jason were now at least a mile or so ahead of us, and we weren't going to catch up. I apologized to Jenn for being a victim of my experimental techniques and wasting her time.
Final glows of sunlight
Now back on two feet for good, we quickly hiked down to Indian Falls, then down the connector ski trail, and then down to Marcy Dam - all of which went very fast. The trail was in excellent shape, the grade and footing is excellent. Easy cruising. A very bright waxing gibbous moon illuminated the landscape, and after a bit I decided to keep my headlamp off, and it was no problem navigating entirely by moonlight.
The walk back from the dam to the parking lot was an excercise in patience. We'd done this trail quite a few times now in the last month or so, and I was getting quite familiar with the ups and downs along the way. 10 dips to go, 9 dips to go, little bent bridge, junction. And so on. It made the time pass, and 45 minutes after leaving Marcy Dam, at 8pm, we walked back into the parking lot. A long but quite successful day.
Thanks, Jason and Jason, for your help on this hike. I know it was a drag for you to catch up to us, but in the end I think we made things easier for all of us. It was nice meeting both of you, and I hope we get a chance to hike again. Let's talk about Haystack....
Interactive Trackmap & Photo Points - Gray-Skylight-Marcy Loop - Double-click map to expand
* : +/- 75 feet
Total Elevation Gain:
Total Elevation Loss:
* : +/- 75 feet