#5 Phelps (4,160 ft.)

After a two-year absence we returned to the Adirondacks, this time staying in tents rather than lean-tos, and with the Missus LLama and baby llamas in tow. This was graduation weekend for hiker-in-training Bea, who had no problems on the flat slog to Marcy Dam (which Huuricane Irene turned into a river again since our last visit); neither did little Clem, although he took his time and was led along foot by foot with the promise of seeing new mushrooms along the trail. The Dolley Llama, not known for his patience with meandering hikers, did his best to stay positive and encourage the littlest hikers, but some goading and yelling did escape his lips, perhaps inevitably; none of us is perfect, alas.

After the Missus Llama escorted the kids back to the campsite, with one freaked out by falling green slime and the other carried on her person, Thomas, Big Clem (Lunchen Llama), and I hiked up the familiar trail toward Marcy but diverged to Phelps, where the crowds are thinner  but the views are just as fine. Especially nice light was hitting the slides on Colden, our other hiking option, but a foolish one given our time constraints. 

The lake at Marcy Dam and the dam itself are no more, a victim of Hurrican Irene's rains, but the riverbed and portions of the spillover are still there and pleasing nonetheless. There is an almost Alaskan feel to the wide sandy riverbed with the stream alternately pooling and coursing through it. A massive footbridge downriver now lets hikers pass over and onto the trails to the high peaks. 


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