8.26.19 - Phelps - Steph’s First High Peak & 46
Elevation Gain: 2,158’
Miles: 8.1+2 (We had to walk a mile both ways from and to the car)
Note: My phone was in my backpack and actually said 13.5 miles at the end but I wasn’t wearing a Fitbit or anything so not sure of the accuracy.
Difficulty: Easy, Doable for beginners (but your legs will burn)
She’ll be coming round the mountain...
Michael decided that Phelps was a good start for my first mountain to tackle in the Adirondacks. This is a great hike for newbies and beginners to hiking in the ADKs, like me. But I also had a great guide.
The first 3ish miles are really enjoyable, mostly flat, and easy. We hauled it through these and even took our time to look around and take a few pictures at Marcy Dam. The water was low so we crossed over the water a few times instead of taking the bridges.
Stairmaster From Hell
Once you make it to the actual sign for Phelps, this is where the appropriately named “Stairmaster from Hell” begins. The sign says it’s a mile but it does feel like longer. It took us about the same amount of time to get through this last mile as it did to get through the first three.
There are a few small scrambles here but nothing crazy, it was manageable for me. There were plenty of roots, trees, and occasionally Michael to hang on to when I needed help or support.
It seemed like we went up forever and the rocks that we had to climb up were relentless.
There are a some great views just before the top and on the way up. Unfortunately, when we got to the top it was pretty cloudy so we didn’t get to see much but the views were still worth it. I was freezing and my legs were jello so I didn’t care about spending much time at the top. We had a snack, a short rest, took a few pictures, and were ready to head back down.
We made a new friend at the top (I should say Michael made a friend) and he decided to take his time and descend down with us. We talked about hiking, life, and everything in between. Mostly I let the guys talk and I thought about the hot shower I was going to take when we got back to camp. Michael has no lack of 46 or hiking knowledge so there was plenty for them to chat about.
The hike back was definitely enjoyable and a lot easier/better than I anticipated. I felt great after, despite needing a few Advil, and I even got a patch! Of course Michael had to make another friend and got a pair of "custom ADK matches."
My first high peak in the books.
“Old Mountain” Phelps
Here are a few pictures of “Old Mountain” Phelps which there happened to be a copy of in the room where we stayed at camp and also at one of our favorite spots in Keene Valley, Old Mountain Coffee Company...how ironic and appropriate.
Orson Schofield "Old Mountain" Phelps cut the very first trail up Mount Marcy and named many of the high peaks.