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Old 09-22-2019, 11:34 AM   #1
Eddie Fournier
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Gray, Skylight & Marcy 9/20

This was some sort of anniversary hike, as it has now been a year from my hike up Big Slide that rekindled my passion for the Dacks, so I planned a special hike to an oft-favored summit, Skylight.

I parked at the absolutely best parking spot at the Loj and was on the trail at 5:20. I used a new headlamp I had gotten a few weeks ago but had not previously used because it is bulkier than I expected. But boy is it bright, even on the lowest setting.

After a week or so without rain, the trails were dry, at least initially. The trail from Marcy dam to Lake Arnold was straight and wide, and with a constant grade, so not a particularly interesting section (which is probably why I remembered nothing of it from my trip to Colden many years ago).

After the Colden trail junction, the trail became more interesting and more muddy too. In this next part, you actually lose 500’ elevation. Just before entering the marshlands, there is this nice viewpoint (I assume Gary and/or Skylight are in this shot:


This area has dozens of planks to get you through the mud. It’s a good practice for what’s to come. I actually slipped and fell on one of them, was a little sore for a while until I could walk it off.

I mentioned it had not rained for maybe a week, so I was hoping for ideal conditions at the Feldspar bog. So my heart sank (only figuratively, thankfully) when I saw this:


Is there a way around this? Is there a better way across than what is in the picture? No to both questions. Hiking poles are useful to test the logs before stepping on them, but they will not save you if you lose balance since the bog is deep. Some are attached at both ends, some are not, one of them rolls and one is below a foot of water, and most of them will bob up and down as you make your way across. They call them the “floating logs” for a reason.

After that, you turn left on the Marcy trail following Feldspar brook until the mouth of Lake Tear of the Clouds. At this point, you turn left for Gray.


There are two slabs on this section that scared me a little, both of them involving the use of 4 limbs (but on my way down, I found there are bypasses for both). The summit of Gray was nice, it’s really close to Marcy and the views here are better than Cliff and Redfield which were my previous summits.


Back down to the Lake, you walk a bit further up until the junction known as Four Corners, Right takes you to Skylight. So many people mention this as their favorite ADK summit that I wondered if it was somewhat over-hyped. After all, how could it be that much different than all the other ones beside it? Well, first off, there is no funny business going up – no slabs, no mud, no false summit. Then you get to climb above the tree line to a huge summit area with unobstructed views in all directions. Finally, because of its remoteness, there are very few people here.


Back at the Four Corners, I briefly pondered whether I’d come back through the bog or go over Marcy, but the latter seemed much more appealing. It looked so close! Also, I’d get to stop by Indian Falls, a favorite spot of mine.
It turned out I didn’t have a whole of climbing energy left, so going up Marcy was a struggle; but taking breaks gave me more time to enjoy the views.

There were maybe 15-20 people on top of Marcy (this was on a Friday). And a whole lot of black flies, which I not at all expected. Looking back at Skylight:


The long and rocky trail back to car was not easy and my feet were sore as hell, but Indian Falls did not fail to amaze me and Marcy Dam was splendid.




13 hours, 19.1 mi, 5075’ elevation gain
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Old 09-22-2019, 01:17 PM   #2
ILikeRocks
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Nice trip report! I’m one of those people who has Skylight very high on their list of favorites.
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Old 09-22-2019, 04:21 PM   #3
Hoser
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Sounds great! Did almost the opposite when completing the 46, up and over Marcy, then Gray, then back to Skylight to finish, then out through the bog, up the 700' hill to Lake Arnold, and out. In retrospect (as opposed to next time) would go back up and over Marcy and out.
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Old 09-22-2019, 07:54 PM   #4
Glhobday
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Great report,(Eddie). As always, just like being on the hike with you!
You certainly can describe the trails with acute accuracy.
How far along in the 46er quest now?
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Old 09-22-2019, 09:05 PM   #5
Eddie Fournier
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glhobday View Post
Great report,(Eddie). As always, just like being on the hike with you!
You certainly can describe the trails with acute accuracy.
How far along in the 46er quest now?
Thanks G! I'm now at 36. Some home renovations are taking most of my spare time now, so I don't think I'll finish this year. But I'll certainly continue through the winter.
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