Thursday, August 27, 2009

So, almost September, huh?

Yes, it's been a few weeks, and I'm sorry to make you wait that long to hear my soothing, melodic voice inside your head. You're listening to it now, even as you read this. Go ahead, make it say seductive things. I won't tell anyone. Oh yeah.

"Now you're hearing my voice, baby. You know I love you, girl."

There, now you should be too creeped out to be really mad about the lack of posts. And come on, that Chuck E Cheese Stripper picture had to have earned me a little bit of a break. That stuff is gold.

Believe it or not, I didn't post last week because I was on vacation. Yes, I actually do have a job, and my life isn't 100% running around collecting blog fodder. It's more of a 15% blog fodder, 84% wishing I was collecting blog fodder, 0.5% actual work and 0.5% homeostasis.

So I took some time off from that hectic schedule and did several things that you might just hear about coming up. -2 got back together and went to a wedding and the roller coaster park Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio.

Roller coasters are awesome.

But more about that later. This post I am going to dedicate to the three days at the end of the week I like to call:

I'm very sad I don't have theme music to play with that. Ah well, we live and learn.

Oach and FH and I went on a three day backpacking trip in the Adirondacks with Oach's dad.

In a rare candid moment, I'm going to drop the pseudonyms for a little bit, because some people might get confused. Chances are if you're a regular reader of this blog you know that Oach's real name is Kyle Camping, director and editor extraordinaire. If you're not a regular reader of this blog, you're unlikely to care either way. As for FH, I'm just going to call him Jesse because that's his name and I confuse myself easily. I will still be Rev, just because that is how I naturally self-identify. Together we are -2, wreakers of havoc and all around silly people.

So let's get to the trip. Kyle and Jesse had never climbed an Adirondack High Peak, and it's been a while since my parents forced me up one at gunpoint, so we decided that we should polish one or two off over a weekend. You know, for fun.

And you know, if a High Peak is fun, then why not go balls out and tackle Mt. Marcy, the highest point in New York State?

I found this incredibly useful map that shows you where Mount Marcy is in relation to Albany, Stittville and Emmanuel Lewis.

So we got our gear all packed up and headed off into the wilderness.

Here's Jesse with his pack on:


Kyle with his:


and me with mine:

"Never let them see you cry..."

Once we were burdened thusly, it was just a quick 6 mile jog in towards Lake Colden, where we were hoping to find an open lean-to.

Piece of cake.

Two point something miles in, we came to the scenic and lovely Marcy Dam.



I was feeling good up through this point. Just four more miles to the campsite, through a place called Avalanche Pass.

By the way, if you're ever having a pleasant conversation with my mother, and would like to have it turn ugly, ask her about Avalanche Pass. Boy does she have a story for you.

Things were going along just fine, my new hiking boots were protecting my feet, the pack was well balanced.

And then the rains came.

Just as we reached Avalanche Pass (and Avalanche Lake) it started raining on us. This wouldn't be too worrisome, except that the trail decided to also change. Rather, it went from being a well-worn (if somewhat muddy) footpath to a ridiculous scramble over large rocks, up and down wildly assembled and slippery wooden ladders, and around sheer rock faces on suspended catwalks known as 'Hitch Up Matildas.'

This isn't my picture. I was slightly distracted and opted not to take out my camera in the pouring rain while standing on a slippery rock over a lake. Source:

But finally lady luck decided to smile down upon our muddy, wet, miserable little group. The first lean-to we came upon at Lake Colden was unoccupied, and we moved right in out of the rain.

Home sweet three-walled cabin thingy.

We were also fortunate because our temporary domicile had a spectacular view of Lake Colden.


Pretty nice.

Mr. Camping brought along a water filter pump, so we could refill our bottles without loads of bacteria and leeches, which I think is a good thing.

Oh, where are my manners? Let me introduce Mr. Camping to you.

Everyone, this is Mr. Camping. Mr. Camping, this is a motley collection of friends, family, acquaintances and at least two people who have found my blog by searching for "motorcyle homoerotic."

Mr. Camping is probably the reason Jesse, Kyle and I are alive through this ordeal. Though that sort of makes him responsible for all the awful things we will do in the future, we thank him, even if the world doesn't.

Yes, Mr. Camping is awesome at camping. He's a supreme outdoorsman and all around great guy. It's sort of a chicken-or-the-egg question though, and you can't help but wonder if his surname didn't have some sort of impact on his choice of hobbies.

Philosophical debates aside, he is one of the most appropriately named people ever.

Except for this guy, of course.

Fast forward, we lay out all of our soggy things to pretend to dry, eat some dehydrated food and lock all of our food in bear canisters to hide them away from Jesse.

At this point I'll mention the single most disappointing fact of the trip. Campfires are banned at this particular camping area. Aaah! No Fires! No Fires at all! Aaaaaah!!!!


Ok, let's calm down, breathe and scroll down a little bit so we don't have to look at that picture anymore.





Right. So no fire means we were largely unable to dry any of our wet gear, so anything that got rained on remained damp throughout the next two days. This included our hiking boots. That made us sad. But we had shelter, and that made us happy.


The next day we woke up, got our soggy boots on, and switched to lighter packs for the ascent of Mount Marcy. I took this moment to strike an adventurer pose.

This may have to become my facebook profile picture soon.

And we were off. Right away we were confronted by, and survived, the Lake Colden Bridgekeeper.

Ancient Assyria had two capitals: Ninevah and Assur.

We crossed a really fun suspension bridge, too.

Then began the grueling ascent up muddy rocks and streambeds. Mr. Camping set the pace pretty much the entire time, putting us to shame and skittering like a spider with his hiking poles.


Once or twice I thought I heard him wonder out loud whether it would even be worth hunting us for sport when this was all over.

We eventually took a break at Lake Tear of the Clouds, which is the highest source of the Hudson River.

This is also where Vice President Teddy Roosevelt was when he learned that President William McKinley had been assassinated. History comes alive!

Mount Marcy has two main paths that reach the summit. The first goes straight from Marcy Dam, and is very popular amongst day hikers. This is the one that I took with the rest of the Revs the first time I went up. The route that we took last weekend is commonly referred to as "the back way."

My point is, if you think that I had any shortage of delight regarding "taking Marcy up the back way," then you clearly don't get me at all.

I was hiking along, giggling like a schoolgirl even before Mr. Camping announced "All right, just one more big push."

A further burst of immature laughter, and then I quickly sobered when I saw what that really meant.

This crazy rock scramble drained most of my will to live.

But we made it!


And then the rains came. Again.

But then they stopped.

And we decided to also summit Gray Peak.

Gray Peak is exciting because whereas the back way up Marcy (giggle) is steep and poorly maintained (giggle), Gray Peak doesn't have a real trail at all.

You can see where people had gone before, but there was a lot of rock climbing and prayer involved. On the plus side, the sun was out for a few minutes.


At one point, Kyle foresaw his own death.

Apparently a 30-foot drop to sharp rocks and branches is one of his "turnoffs."

But we were triumphant, and reached the summit in time to see a fresh batch of storm clouds roll in.

And so began the trek back down to the lean-to. In the rain.

We arrived there soggy, battered and fundamentally scarred on an emotional level.


One solid night's sleep later, and it was time to leave our lean-to with its assortment of Crystal Lite-craving Bears, Rape-eager Unicorns and Larry Byrd.

Shouldering our heavy burdens once more, we bid farewell to Lake Colden and trudged away on feet that functioned only because we believed they would.

We took a break again at Marcy Dam.

Crystal Lite and Clif Bars are our friends.

And the final 2.1 miles were a blur. Our relief to be back on relatively flat, well-maintained trails and our anticipation of driving home led to an abrupt increase in speed, and we nearly sprinted down the trail, gleefully oblivious of the protests of weary legs and joints.

And suddenly, we were out. Success! No broken bones, no blisters, no permanent injuries. Granted, we all smelled like homeless people, but it was the good kind of homeless people smell. The one that you don't notice, because it's you, and not some homeless person.

Jesse triumphant:


Kyle triumphant:


Rev triumphant:


Boots, officially broken in:


So thanks again, Mr. Camping for guiding us through that. Never again will we do something like that without guarantees of a campfire.

That was our Adirondack adventure, everyone. Hope you had a good time reading it, and I'll leave you with this picture of flowers that I took:


Peace out, folks.



  1. Great blog...none of your readers will ever need to experience hiking and camping on their own now that you have described it so well...they will be obsessed however trying to top the Dr. Cockburn, appropriately named reference. Well done!

  2. Strong work. I happened upon the top of Marcy surely by chance.

    Or 3 hours of planning.

    There were a number of times I questioned my own will two live but only 2 were due to questionable physical limitations and 1 was due to some crazy bitchy lady who was later proposed to, by some dude who was not me, on top of the mount.

    The one day plan is insane though. 14 miles. I ran out of water. In the future I will get one of those purifiers because on the descent my brain started telling me that giardia "Isn't that big a deal."

  3. Rev - it has been far too long since I have read this blog. It is cracking me up! Hope you are all doing well :)
    Love, Champ


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