Hiking Mt. Marcy, highest point in New York State

On September 20, 2003 I hiked up one of the better state highpoints of the trip: New York's Mt. Marcy, the highest point in New York State at 5344 feet. See also the Mount Marcy photo gallery.

The hike to the top was about 15 miles round trip with about 3274' of elevation gain. Unlike trails in the west, there were no switchbacks, it just went straight up after an initial two miles without that much gain and with perhaps even a loss of elevation. The first two miles end at a dam, and after that point the climbing begins, then it goes flat for a bit, then it steepens again and before you know it you're on top of the 'Dacks.

In my case, the round-trip took about 7.5 hours. It's not that bad of a hike, and it goes through pretty terrain, but it is a long plod. There isn't anything technically demanding about it, although some parts go up the rocks of a streambed and there are some rocks on top.

After all that work, I was hoping for a nice, quiet, peaceful summit. Unfortunately/malheuresment, I arrived at the same time as a large group of French-Canadians. One of them shouted "je suis Canadian" or some such foreign phrase from the summit; later they joined in a group sing-a-long; throughout they were generally loud and annoying. Other Canadians don't know to yield to uphill hikers, but, of course, that's true of many red-white-and-blue Americans as well.

In 2002, a "Peace Summit" was held to address related issues:

...local land managers were frustrated by Canadians coming down on charter buses, dropping off large hiking groups that invaded the High Peaks trails and swarmed the summits... The Adirondacks are not just for New Yorkers. Montreal and Ottawa are the two largest cities within a relatively short drive, and it is rare to go on a hike in the High Peaks without running into at least a few Quebecois. Neil Woodworth, deputy executive director of the Adirondack Mountain Club, estimates Canadians make up 30 percent to 40 percent of High Peaks users, a number he bases on license plates at trail heads. However, according to the state Department of Environmental Conservation, only 18 percent of users who register at trail heads identify themselves as Canadian...

The difference is explained by the phenomenon of "crypto-Canadians": true maple Canucks who attempt to blend in by pasting the U.S. flag to their backpacks and loudly singing God Bless America on summits throughout our land.

Ce post est egalement disponible en francais.

January 26, 2009 – 9:35am