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girlanddog 09-28-2016 05:20 PM

Autumn Overnighting in Eastern High Peaks
Hi there! I'm a longtime forum-lurker and as I have learned tons from just reading and you've all inadvertently helped me plan plenty of hikes, I'd love to pick your wise brains on a trip I'm planning for next week -- I've got some time off during the week and would like to take advantage of the early fall weather, minus the weekend traffic, to revisit the Marcy Dam area and hike a couple of not-too-tough peaks with my dog. I'm planning to spend a few days and nights hiking and camping. I'm somewhat familiar with the area, but I don't get up there as often as I'd like and have only done day hikes there.

My plan so far is to hike in from the Loj parking lot, set up camp near Marcy Dam or Avalanche Camp, hike up Phelps and back to camp, then on day 2 either hike up Wright or Colden via Lake Arnold (I'd like to keep the approach easy on my dog), head back to camp for the night, and then out and back to my car in the morning for the next leg of my trip elsewhere in the park.

So my question is: is it cool to leave my tent up in the same spot over 2 nights, in terms of both taking up space, and security of my stuff? If so, any advice for the best spot to shoot for? (And if not, how might I plan differently/better?)


Trail Boss 09-28-2016 10:57 PM

Seeing that you plan to go mid-week, I say it sounds like a good plan. In fact, I did something similar ... in May 1978!

Yes, you can leave your tent in the same spot for two consecutive nights (the limit is 3 consecutive nights in the same spot). I wouldn't worry about theft by humans; bears are the primary concern.

Be sure to familiarize yourself with the DEC's regulations and guidelines for the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness Zone. Here's a very good summary:
Key things you need to know are no campfires and you'll need to use a bear-canister.

This past summer, I surveyed all the campsites, lean-to's , and toilets around Marcy Dam (and elsewhere in the High Peaks)and entered the information into OpenStreetMap.
  1. Find "Marcy Dam #2 Lean-to" on the map.
  2. Look below it and locate the first campsite you see west (left) of the trail.
  3. If you like a smooth, level, fast-draining campsite, that's the one for you.

It was the former site of a double-sized lean-to and where I spent a few days camping back in 1978. Today, it's a large level "patio" of pebbles that makes an excellent surface for tents (especially if it rains).

If you prefer seclusion, choose a campsite on the west side of Marcy Dam.

If you'd like to camp in a lean-to, Marcy Dam #4 and #5, on the west side, will have less through-traffic and they also offer a view out over the (former) pond.

If you want a secluded lean-to, head to the southwest end to the Ed Hudowalski Lean-to.

To minimize interaction with bears, cook away from wherever you choose to camp. Assuming they haven't completely dismantled it yet, head to the dam and cook there. It offers a flat cooking surface and a great view. Otherwise, walk out onto the flat plain of the former pond and cook there.

Here's the view from the old dam: evening at Marcy Dam. by Taras D, on Flickr

Good luck and enjoy!

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