Tabletop Mountain
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Tabletop Mountain, August 2009

Well, two years is way too long between hikes, but I finally got back out. I originally tried to plan an overnight, but couldn't get schedules lined up with some of my hiking partners. I vowed to go regardless so Tabletop was decided on for a solo day hike. I hadn't hiked it yet so adding it to my list was a bonus. As you know we've had a very wet summer and August was hot and humid, but we got our first real cold snap of the season and I couldn't have asked for better hiking weather. It was 45 degrees when I arrived at the trailhead at Adirondack Loj. 

tabletop.JPG (247498 bytes)   The familiar beginning of the "Blue" trail from Adirondack Loj.    tabletop1.JPG (245539 bytes)
It was so good to be on the trail again, I didn't realize how much I missed it until I got some dirt under my feet, but  two years were immediately wiped away and it was as if I had just hiked the previous weekend. I couldn't wait to start gaining some altitude and feel that burn.
See any Ents?     I  had forgotten all about Fangorn Forest being on the way, this sign made my "signs" page awhile back.
I didn't even slow down until I reached Marcy Dam and got my first glimpse in a long while of a high peak within reach. Upon seeing the amazing early morning reflection of Colden Mountain and it's tell tale slides, I immediately re-lived my own journey with the Mountain Goat to that peak way back in '04.
After a short break at the dam to tighten my boots and have a drink, it was time to get moving again. The trail follows the brook for quite a while and there are many flumes and deep pools to enjoy. The always look so inviting, but I know how cold they are.

Crystal Clear Pool     My hiking partner for the day.

It wouldn't be long until I passed the junction for the Phelps Mountain trail, then I had to keep an eye out for the beginning of the herd path to Tabletop. Tabletop was the first "trail-less" mountain to have a herd path designated on ADK's high peak map so I expected the trail to be well marked (although not officially) and easy to follow. The trail head is marked by a cairn right at the junction of a ski/snowshoe path.
Tabletop herd path     Tight
Although easy to find and follow, the trail is nevertheless not maintained and therefore can be subject to mother natures wrath and the forest is very close in many places. At times it seems more like a tunnel than a path. The minor inconveniences were well worth the reward as I looked behind me when nearing the height of land aptly called the tabletop.
Views from the top.     Through the trees, Colden looms large as I near the top of the table and look back.
After a short hike along the relatively flat mountain top, I reached the official summit and added another peak to my list. Because of the wooded nature of the summit, there really aren't any panorama's to enjoy, but when you can see Colden and the McIntyre range from one side and Marcy and Haystack from the other, you know you're in a special place.
#25     Marcy

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