November 25, 2010
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Starting week 3 off with a hike from Upper Works. I got off to a late start, but made good time up the Northway. I stopped to eat a PBJ sandwich at the bridge going over the Calamity brook. Ran in to a group of “veteran” hikers who were on their way back. They had a few good trail stories, and filled me in on the conditions – a couple of inches of snow, some ice, and little more of each up any of the peaks. Actually, the trail ended up icier than I expected. I made pretty good time though, and arrived at flowed lands in a few hours. It was real quiet, and none of the lean-tos were occupied. The second Calamity lean-to (it had a dirt floor) has been removed, and is now a revegitation area. It seemed as though the temperature remained steady, or even warmed up a bit, as the trip continued. Flowed Lands was iced over with about an inch of ice. Almost enough to hold you up, but I wouldn’t recommend it. The next day, the ice was almost completely gone, and it started freezing rain. On my way back, I donned all of my rain gear, and thought about these conditions being perfect for hypothermia. Anyone caught in these conditions, without the right gear, and stuck over night, or lost, would be in trouble. That thought would come back to me, a day later. I got back to the car, and despite the rain gear, I was pretty well soaked. The gloves I brought with me were awful, and the first thing I did when I got back was to get a 100% waterproof pair! Not long after getting back to work, the phone rang, and a DEC dispatcher was on the line. She told me there was a “missing hiker”, and wanted to know if I had seen him on my trip. I mentioned to her how bad the conditions were, for someone unprepared, and she to was concerned. She said they had found his jacket in the middle of the trail, which was not a good sign. I told her that other than a few people by Upper Works, I didn’t see anyone else, and no one matching his description. As of the posting of this story, he still hasn’t been found. His last known position was almost exactly halfway between Marcy Dam, an the trail up to Colden. The temperatures haven’t been too cold, so there’s a good chance, if he found shelter, that he’ll be OK. It’s a sobering fact, and something that should never be forgotten out here, that this is a dangerous place to be if you’re not prepared for the worst.