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Ascent of Mount Skylight on 2017-09-22

Climber: Michael French

Others in Party:Cris
Frank
Todd
Date:Friday, September 22, 2017
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Mount Skylight
    Location:USA-New York
    Elevation:4925 ft / 1501 m

Ascent Trip Report

I used my hammock for the first time- and I loved it!

ASPIRING NO MORE? No way. I may be at 46/46, but I'll always aspire to be an Adirondacker, to better practice LNT principals, to walk in the woods, to promote education of positive use of our great wild forests, to learn from my friends' (all of you!) experiences shared here, and also to take a moment to reflect on the various folks who I've been lucky to hike, climb, slide, sled, photograph, scramble, explore, get lost, hide, ski, snowshoe, run, laugh, learn, teach, and walk with in these woods on my way to 46/46 over the last 2 decades and 2 years.
Every trip into the woods could be a book filled with stories and experiences, and interesting people... and very interesting problems to solve. Sometimes it's nice to go solo- a few weeks ago I did go wander around the Dix range by myself. That was a different experience from my most recent hike with 3 close friends in the warm temps we had... the warm temps that were about one week ago. The weather, 3 weeks before I write, was chilly and wet which could have resulted in a very uncomfortable overnight if worse came to worst. Thankfully, it was a successful trip without issue up to #Macomb and sDix (#Carson) and #Hough.
Frank, Todd, Cris and I set out for our most recent 28 mile 2 day hike from Elk Lake. We went straight to Panther to make camp and then we basically ran up to #Skylight for the sunset, hoofed it back down to our camp for the overnight in Panther Gorge, woke early and went back up and over the 4 Corners to check out Grey where we met some really great people, and then back down to Panther where we swam in the Marcy Brook at 3200 feet- literally 1 week before you (on ASPIRING) are reporting a foot of snow on nearby summits. Thank you sunny dawg days for keeping the place warm... but, that 35 degree night breeze tho. (If the ADK does anything right, it's cold temps.)
Then we packed up in the warm sun, had a bite to eat, and hiked out... these miles are always the hardest parts for me. Physically, no problem. Mentally- that last 9 miles where the car is the only goal... it's barely an incentive to move. I don't want to be in the car. I'd like to be out there, wandering, or maybe... living like Noah John. (Were we all born in the wrong century?) I once spent a few days in Beaver River- specifically hanging out with the folks at the Norridgewock Hotel and videotaping them as they worked to keep the town running and to feed the snomobile guests in their hotel. There was about 4 feet of snow on the ground, and they had a generator that powered the "whole town" that they switched off at night, and the elder gentleman said something very memorable to me... he leaned in, really close to my lens, and said in a low, rumbling voice... "if you have any emergencies at all, you're gonna die."
That stuck with me- and it's generally the way I feel when I'm out in the woods. You're generally safe, there's nothing extremely dangerous about hiking - in the same way that living at that hotel in Beaver River is generally fine. But there's something special about that mentality- every footstep becomes important rather than just another forgotten step on a flat sidewalk. If you don't plan well, pack well, eat and drink well, and think through the problems that come up on occasion... the importance of your decision can become glaring, fast.
To that end, the guy I met on Macomb 3 weeks ago told me about a hike where he stepped off a trail to see a view- a place he knew very well and felt comfortable. He was off his trail for 30 seconds, slipped and hit his head enough to be bloodied and disoriented for a good while. He said nobody would have found him easily, and it took a while for his decision making to clear up and to feel confident again.
In my own experience, about 2 miles from the car on our last trip (in this video), we made a mistake and switched trails due to our haste and partially due to poor signage for some Elk Lake private trails- and we found ourselves stopped and scratching our heads. We realized we had walked a tenth of a mile on the wrong trail, and then of course we had another 1/10th to get back on track. It could easily been much worse, or cost us a lot more time.
But in our case, both Frank and I knew something was up... and we decided to stop, get a new heading, and we made it to the car from Panther in 4 hours as we predicted back at camp.
Skylight for me, is 46/46. Perhaps the single most poignant moment during that hike was when the guys had gone up ahead and I was just about to hit the summit, and my memory raced through a lot of images from recent hikes and older hikes. Up the whiteface slide, being on Giant in winds that were lifting the trees and soil off the bedrock, meandering through the stand of birch trees over near Lower Wolf Jaw, Gothics' massive summit, my cousin throwing his backpack down a rock face on Cascade and only later realizing his yogurt exploded all over the books and clothing he had brought, breaking trail up to TableTop solo and stepping off the ice ridge into shoulder deep powder and almost drowning, sleeping in a puddle around Thanksgiving on an Algonquin/Colden trip, and on and on and on.... just like the stories you all have.
Thanks to my pals on this Skylight/Grey trip. Frank- you're a master at logistics and food, and thank you for the sports chandraLhobro which I will treasure always, and I can't wait to get the boy on skis as we blast down the Whale Tail or the Misery Mile with him. Todd, your knowledge of the flora and fauna is amazing, I don't know how you didn't freeeze in your hammock (I froze!), and your back is much stronger than mine, you wildman lumberjack- sorry about the gopro, and I'm so glad we're reconnected after just a short 20 year break.... it felt like no time had even passed. Cris, you're all about positivity, and speed, and I dream of theather, Obi Wan Kasnowmobrero, and naked swimming. Here's to more adventures with you and the family. Way to go gentlemen. You're a credit to your species.
Here's to another round, maybe a winter round, and another 22 years on the hills, and to all of you, here, on a page about hiking, who inspired me to finish this thing. Your words and photos are truly inspiring.
See you on the trails my friends.
~Frenchy
Click on photo for original larger-size version.
Skylight .5 miles!!! I'm almost a 46er! (2017-09-22). Photo by Michael French.
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Summary Total Data
    Quality:8 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Bushwhack, Stream Ford, Scramble
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles, Hut Camp
    Nights Spent:1 nights away from roads
    Weather:Hot, Calm, Clear
Nights were 35degreez, but day was 85+



Other Photos

Click on photo for original larger-size version.
Todd in foreground, in back, left to right, me frank and cris (2017-09-22). Photo by Michael French.
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Click on photo for original larger-size version.
America's most handsome boyband (2017-09-23). Photo by Michael French.
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The stone I brought up... the round one, I got in the bottom of the split rock falls near new russia, I kept it for a few years and then brought it up to skylight (2017-09-22). Photo by Michael French.
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