Sunday, March 13, 2011

Hiking - Taconic Crest Trail

Complicated hike because of one person who probably shouldn't have been there.

The plan was to hike up Southeast Hollow to the TCT, and follow the TCT to the Robinson Hollow access trail. Six of us left a car at Robinson Hollow and drove to Southeast Hollow and started the hike. It immediately became apparent that an elderly gentleman would be having difficulty keeping up, and possibly going the entire distance. Fortunately, though illegally, the entire TCT had a firm snowmobile track, so the going was pretty easy, aside from the elevation ups and downs. As we approached the Mattison Hollow access trail, he announced that he would need to descend prematurely back to the valley. Based on some remarks he'd made earlier, this may have been his intention from the start, though he never actually said so. If true, then this was inconsiderate at best.

This posed a significant logistical problem for the rest of us, since we'd left no cars parked at Mattison Hollow. It was decided to split the group, with two accompanying this man 2.6 miles down Mattison Hollow, and three of us, the faster ones, continuing on 4.5 up-and-down miles to Robinson Hollow to fetch the car.

Just after we separated, we came to a point on the TCT where the snowmobile track ended, unable to make a steep climb. This meant that three of us would be breaking trail the rest of the distance to the car, while the descending group had fewer downhill miles to cover, where they would wait for us to arrive with the car. This no longer seemed like a good plan, so we stopped to consider our options.

Fortunately, one of our fast group was a local hiker from the Berlin area, and had a cell phone. She was able to contact her sister, who was willing to meet the descending group and assist in retrieving the Robinson Hollow car. Since I now had the keys for that car, we would turn back and also descend Mattison Hollow, and would presumably overtake the other group before the bottom.

In the end, that's how it all worked out. We rejoined the other group, finishing together at the bottom of Mattison Hollow, where the sister was waiting with her car. The driver was ferried to the car in Robinson Hollow, which then returned for the rest of us, and the story was over. It would have had a much different ending if not for the local bailout, and we talked about that a lot on the way home.

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