Tuesday, July  16, 2019
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Admiring the Vista
A Tough Life
Range Trail Junction
From this superb lookout, the alpine hiking experience soon gets better... then better again. After a short descent back into the trees, we came to the intersection with the Range Trail, and simultaneously with the start of alpine terrain on the next sub-summit. This sub-summit is known as Little Haystack, and it is a superb peak in its own right, rising prominently about a hundred feet above the ridgeline. The top is entirely bare rock, affording what I consider to be excellent views - of Marcy, of Panther Gorge, of the Great Range, and of Haystack's nearby summit. You are surrounded by the very best of the mountain terrain New York State has to offer. I've often said that Haystack has the best views in the Adirondacks. Now that I think more about it, I think Little Haystack's views might be even better than those obtained from the main summit.
courtesy JInnes
Starting scramble
Marcy Backdrop
Over Little Haystack
courtesy JInnes
Panther Gorge
Canine Cooldown
Descending to Ascend
Atop Little Haystack, we were not much more than a few football fields away from the main summit, rising impressively before us on a rocky ridgeilne. In order to get to that ridgeline, though, one must negotiate the steep west face of Little Haystack, which entails a bit of easy scrambling. In short order, we had descended to the scrub at the base of Little Haystack, then wound over to the continuation of alpine rock.
courtesy JInnes
Descending to Ascend
Starting final ascent
Signalling to Pack
With a pleasant breeze keeping things fresh and good atmospheric conditions providing clear views, we ascended the final section of ridgeline to the summit of Haystack. Unlike nearby Marcy, we had the summit to ourselves (another of Haystack's excellent attributes - a low visitation count) for lunch.
Final stretch
Northeast to Giant
Summit Rib
Arriving at top
Summit View
The Great Range
Before departing for the return journey, we got Julie to take a re-creation of the summit photo from our 2008 winter ascent of Haystack, when Jenn and I both became winter 46Rs.
courtesy JInnes
The Great Range
The Morans Arrive
2008 Recreation
Gothics
Basin's Bump
Panther Gorge
Our hike back was relatively pleasant, save for the annoying and rough section of trail from Haystack's lower sub-summit back to the Van Hoevenberg Trail on Marcy. After that, it was mostly an easy cruise down reasonably good trail (by Adirondack standards, of course) back to Marcy Dam. I switched back into sneakers again, and enjoyed a foot-comfy walk back to the trailhead at South Meadows. I might do this bring-two-pairs-of-footwear thing again sometime - depending on the nature of the route. It really feels rather nice on the feet.
Beginning Descent
down to Little Haystack
Little Haystack Scramble
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