Saturday, June 8, 2019
Start: campsite by Colden Dam
Elevation gain: 6004′
End: campsite at Feldspar Brook
I fell asleep around 9:30 last night and slept relatively well for my first night out. I woke up to the morning light around 4:55am, right before my alarm was set to go off. I got up, grabbed my canister, prepped my bag, and then headed out towards Marshall (putting the canister back as I left).
The herdpath up Marshall wasn’t too bad. It was fairly easy to follow and wasn’t too mucky. But I forgot how much time trail finding takes, even with a herdpath. I summited and headed back to my tent, arriving around 9am. I packed up my gear and then headed out again.
When I was maybe 10 minutes from the lean-to, nature started calling, hard. But I managed to make it to the lean-to and their “privy”, which was a wood box with a seat hole cut into it, over a hole in the ground. No door or sides; though frankly, after my few attempts at using Adirondack privys, I’m not impressed. They’re super dark (like requires a headlight to find the hole) and very dirty. But nonetheless, I was happy to see this one. I then stashed my bear canister in the woods and left my backpack in the lean-to, and scampered up yet another herdpath.
I followed the first over to Cliff. The going was steep and there were some very technical spots (hence the name Cliff). I passed by maybe half a dozen people on my way back down. I then headed up the other herdpath, over to Redfield. The going was easier and I found the trail easier to follow. While the trail was longer, I think Redfield took the same amount of time as Cliff.
I then reassembled my backpack and headed out towards Feldspar Brook. I arrived around 2:30, set up my tent, got everything settled, had a snack, and then packed my lid and headed out to Colden around 3pm.
The trail to Colden was a reminder that trails could be smoother and less muddy (save for that one section of bog that was 3 feet under water). I hiked the 1.7 miles in under an hour and powered my way up the 1.4 miles to the summit of Colden. It had some slick rock sections, but they were relatively generous with wood ladders and stairs. My lungs had started making some troubling wheezing noises, so I was glad of my rescue inhaler. The views were breathtaking from the summit and surrounding area. I then turned around and headed back to Feldspar Brook, arriving around 7:15pm.
It looks like I’ll have some company tonight. The lean-to is full with a family and the 3 tentsites here are very small and close together and two guys with their mini poodle just pulled in at 8pm. At least they’re cooking by the creek and not in our campsite. And if I’m up long before they are, I’ll try to be quiet… depending on how quiet they are tonight.
Today was a bigger day than I’d anticipated, by about 1000′ of gain and 3 miles. At least seeing the elevation gain provided a reality check for me feeling discouraged about feeling inordinately tired. I also didn’t bring quite enough food; I forgot how much I can eat if I’m hiking 18 difficult miles at a time.