The 46er Series: Phelps
Phelps, Phelps, Phelps. My third 46er, the 32nd tallest, was a pain to get through. The four of us started off nice and early in the morning. The sun was out and the ground was a bit damp from a light rain the night before. The trail, the Van Hoevenberg, begins at the ADK Loj, and is very straightforward and well-maintained.
We stopped at Marcy Dam for a few pictures and to get a handle on the rest of the trip.
Marcy Dam is a spot that you will come across a lot when hiking in the High Peaks area because it leads to some of the major mountains like Marcy and Colden. After three miles on the main trail, we hooked a left onto the Phelps trail and began our ascent. We hiked on small, loose stones for the majority of the trek. Then, my asthma kicked in. I never knew that I had asthma before this trip, so I freaked out a little bit. Not going to lie, there were some tears. After a few minutes of panic, I kept going and made it to the top, with only a little embarrassment and a few tear streaks on my cheeks.
The summit of Phelps is mostly wooded, but there are a few open ledges that offer fantastic views of trail-less Tabletop and Marcy. We ate some lunch and then head out. The way down was worse than the way up. My knees started to ache from hiking down on the loose, creek rocks, and my friend Winona was suffering from minor shin splints. While the guys trekked out in front, we hobbled down the mountain in the back. When we finally made it back to the Loj, at around 4pm, we were all exhausted and sore. For one of the considerably easier peaks, it was an intense hike. But, I discovered I had asthma and knee problems and was able to quickly solve those issues. While I can’t say that Phelps was my favorite mountain, it was a learning experience. And hey, not all the hikes can be incredible; that’s one of the amazing things about hiking: each hike is different, and I love that.