Hiked in from South meadow Parking/ camping area starting around 10:30. 2.4 miles in to Marcy dam. Rolling, mellow route in, dry conditions. Set up camp at 3rd tent site on the left. Attempted to use the Island camp site we used after algonquin hike but creek was too high (I fell in trying to cross back hehehe). Good little piece of high ground, would use again.
Ate lunch, set up camp and packed daypack. Headed up the blue-blazed, VH trail. 0.7 miles to Phelps Brook campsite and than another 0.3 to the intersection with the Phelps trail. 1 more steeper mile to Indian Falls, cloudy but stellar views of Algonquin and the rest of the McKintyre range. jeanette was pretty blown away by this perfectly framed view as I was my first time there.
Trail to tabletop was marked with a sign and cairn just before indian falls. Tight,Well cut (but not blazed trail) which got gradually steeper till the flat and muddy summit. Great views from the approach after climbing out of the slowly dripping pine forest and into the alpine.
Summit: (J 11, C 14) wooded at geogrpahic summit, with a view just past. Marcy dominate, my closest glimpse yet. Skylight, haystack and Basin all seemed so tremendous and stoic. Epic and unique monster view.
Tired but jolly ascent, a tough but beautiful experience, sang many songs and laughed alot. No idol sitings though we investigated familiar looking niches coming and going. odd thumpings heard from the camp site. Grouse? I don't think so but maybe. Jeanette thought it was drums. Pretty regular duration though intermitent.
Woke up slowly and made breakfast. Hiked back up VH trail and got water where they are putting the bridge in at Phelps Brook. Great, sunny weather and the first mile up to the Phelps intersection flew.
The next mile, to the summit of Phelps felt quite long and grueling despite the beautiful forest and sun. It took us almost 2 hours (our usual high peak mile is about an hour). Had a lovely photo shoot all the way up trail ended up snapping about 150 pics for the day.
Though the climb was tough-ass, the views we began encountering once we hit the alpine zone were well worth the strain. The Macs, Colden, Tabletop and Marcy all looked close enough to touch and framed with lovely blue sky and strategically placed cloud banks.
Summit: (J 12, C 14) Cliff edge summit with stunning views of all the aforementioned mountains with the great range just beyond. We met a woman in her 50's or 60's with a very well behaved german shepperd and were thoroughly inspired by both.
The descent went suprisingly fast, got one last bottle of cold mountain water for the drive home. Though tired and sore, the breakdown and pack out were quite pleasant with us chatting about what treats we would get at the Keene Stewarts.
14.4 mile total weekend, two new high peaks for Jeanette and my triumphant (despite the tumble into the creek) return to Phelps.