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An account of a failed attempt on Tabletop. We stupidly didn't locate the proper herdpath leading up to the summit. Make sure you've got a good idea where the herdpath starts before you do a trailless peak (and tabletop has an easy, good herdpath, too)!.
Cold and Early
Markus arrives ahead of schedule, at 4:45am. Usually we leave for our hikes at 5:00am. It is cold and blustery. [enlarge]
Heart Lake Parking Area
Our plan for the day is a hike up a so-called "trailless" peak, called Tabletop Mountain. In reality there is a semi-maintained trail, which we hope to take to the top. Here Markus gets his boots ready for the day. [enlarge]
Warning Signs
In the winter, it is strongly recommended to hikers to wear proper winter clothes and use proper judgement and gear. These warnings are well-founded. [enlarge]
Markus sets off...
Here, Markus starts off from the parking lot. [enlarge]
Snowy trail.
The trail from Heart Lake to Marcy Dam is in great shape, with a nice packed base and fluffy snow everywhere else. It is in especially good shape for cross-country skiiers (which we see many of, far more than hikers). [enlarge]
Watch out for Treebeard...
Although Markus does have a beard, he does not look like a tree. However, treebeard may just be located by following the sign.... [enlarge]
Marcy Dam
A couple of other hikers take a break at Marcy Dam. [enlarge]
Andrew at Marcy Dam
Andrew (ie - me) takes a picture from Marcy Dam. I am trying out a new Gortex jacket for the first time. [enlarge]
Marcy Dam and the high peaks
Although mostly shrouded and obscured by low clouds and flurries, the view from Marcy Dam is still a nice wintry scene. [enlarge]
Well-prepared for our winter trek. [enlarge]
Andrew again
Here I am doing... well, not doing much. Walking, I guess. [enlarge]
Andrew reading map
Ok, now I'm doing something useful. Taken on the trail just after Marcy Dam. [enlarge]
Adirondack Lean-to break
We have a lunch break at a lean-to just after Marcy Dam. This one is surprisingly spacious. [enlarge]
Sculpted and Frozen Brook
Marcy brook stands silent, covered with strange hummocky snow shapes (presumably with boulders underneath). [enlarge]
Bridge over Marcy Brook
Note how the depth of snow is really increasing at this point. [enlarge]
Avalanche Lean-To
This is the lean-to at Avalance Junction. The weather is starting to brighten, with bits of blue sky.... [enlarge]
Winter Wonderland
As we go higher, the snow is piled deeper on everything. The trees are simply coated with light, fluffy snow. Very pretty. [enlarge]
Cutover trail.
This is the start of the cutover trail between the lake arnold trail and the van hoevenberg trail. [enlarge]
Snowshoe Tails
Deeper, softer snow, which we start to encounter, requires more floatation, so Markus and I decide to put the extender pieces we have for our snowshoes. [enlarge]
The snow is getting deep enough that even the packed trail is several feet below the surrounding snow level. [enlarge]
Almost buried sign
Nearing Indian Falls, the snow is now almost deep enough to bury the trail signs. [enlarge]
Indian Falls
Markus poses on top of the now-frozen Indian Falls. The Macintyre range is faintly visible (with Algonquin and Wright Peaks) in the background. [enlarge]
Andrew at Indian Falls
This is me taking the previous shot of Markus. [enlarge]
More snow-draped beauty
Section of Trail just above Indian Falls. [enlarge]
Tabletop Mountain
We finally get a glimpse of tabletop. However, we are having a hard time finding the herd path to the summit. We search for quite a while. [enlarge]
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