My 13 Year Old Climbed Mt. Marcy

Mt. Marcy is the highest mountain in the state of New York. At 5,344 feet, Mt. Marcy is considered the tallest mountain in New York. My 13 year old daughter climbed Mt. Marcy in September. To be honest, I did not climb the mountain. My daughter was part of a hiking group which included my brother, sister in law and my nephew and some really close family friends. I opted out of this hike because I felt unprepared physically for this mountain.

I have done lots of hikes growing up. Literally at one point, I used to hike every weekend. The average duration of most of these hikes were somewhere between three to four hours in total. Mt. Marcy however, it was estimated, would have taken approximately seven hours.  According to the reviews, this was a 15 mile trail. I normally walk about 4-6 miles every other day and decided that I definitely was not ready for this hike!

One of the first things that the hikers noticed about the trail, was the warning signs indicating heightened bear activity! This makes sense considering humans are the ones literally invading their terrain when we hike. The hike started at just after 1 am in the morning. The terrain was easier at first then gradually became rockier and more intense. The mountain trail consisted of mainly rocks for hours on end at some points in the trail. Throughout the trail there were signs and markers that indicated the mileage covered thus far. It would take almost eight hours for the entire group to reach the summit.

The views were breathtaking as you will see from the pictures. They were literally looking down on the clouds from their mountain top perch. After taking lots of pics, and resting a bit the group began their descent. This is where the challenge began!

The descent, which for the most part is usually easier, posed several challenges. Firstly, everyone was exhausted after having hiked mainly rocky terrain for almost eight hours. The group split up into various segments, the fast paced hikers, the medium range and the laggers. Not a good sign! Suffice to say, some of the group members, my daughter included got lost!

My daughter, nephew and their friend, 3 kids, got split up at some point and chose different paths. My nephew ended up on his own and had to be helped by some good Samaritans. My 13 year old and her 12 year old friend took another path that was going uphill and was “seemingly” leading them back to the camp site. Again they were also helped by some concerned passersby. These are tales to be told another time!

Ultimately all members of the group completed the course some eight hours after arriving at the summit. Many had sore muscles, aches and pains, minor injuries. Some takeaways:

  1. Be mindful that trail markers on the main trail may not always be precise. The hikers swore that the distances on the markers underestimated the actual trail distances;
  2. Have proper hiking gear and be prepared for all eventualities. The hikers were unaware of the unusually high bear activity on Mt. Marcy and additional precautions had to be taken while traversing the trail;
  3. Try to stick together as a group. Each hiking team is only as strong as its weakest link. The breaking up of teams into groups contributed, in this instance to the kids literally getting lost;
  4. Push through the pain! All hikers, adults and kids upon completion of the trail after a total of fifteen hours on the trail. My daughter trekked an extra 4-5 extra miles in addition to the 15 mile hike (after she got lost) in one day!
  5. Have an emergency plan. Hikers should have back up plans in case anyone gets injured lost etc.

All in all a memorable hike and momentous accomplishment for my 13 year old and all the hikers! Congratulations on conquering Mt.  Marcy! Hiking is super fun, exciting and good for your health. Take the necessary precautions and prepare for hikes before attempting any hike. Mt. Marcy down…still lots more hiking to be done!

My 13 year old (left) and my sister-in-law (right)

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