On Friday 8/1, hiked in 8 miles from the Elk Lake parking area to Panther Gorge under sunny blue skies. Setup my HH in the designated camping area, and took a quick swim. By the time I had finished dinner I was ready for sleep. Temps were mild so I only brought my small 48x20 CCF and a synth bag/quilt.
Woke up Saturday to overcast skies. Had a quick breakfast, got my daypack together, and I was off to tackle a couple of New York's highest peaks traveling in a loop. First up was Haystack, the 3rd highest in NY at 4960 ft. Reached the summit and saw storm clouds approaching from the west, the direction I was heading next. Headed down into the col between Haystack and Mt. Marcy, and began the ascent of Marcy, the highest in NY at 5344 ft. Halfway up, it started to rain with rumbles of thunder in the distance. I reached a trail junction where a few other hikers were debating a summit bid with storms closing in. A moment later a Ranger approached from the summit with a group in tow that he was evacuating off Marcy's summit. The rule is, if thunder is heard, everyone moves below tree line for 20 minutes. If no thunder is heard during that time, the summit is safe. During our 20 minute wait the Ranger gave a quick lesson in lightning survival techniques. The group consisted of folks from Albany NY, Glens Falls NY, Atlanta GA, and Toronto Canada. We all counted down the last few seconds of waiting, and then it was a mad dash to the top. We all reached the summit in about 10 minutes. Not long after this another rumble of thunder was heard and everyone scattered. Most retreated the way we came up, but myself and one other guy continued down the opposite side. We reached tree line and found another Ranger giving safety instructions to hikers going up this side. At least I was now within easy reach of my campsite with no more exposed summits to cross. With all the rain, thunder, and excitement, I totally forgot about my HH and wondered how it had fared. I reached camp and found all of the tent sites flooded, but my HH was high and dry! I was never so glad to be in a hammock.
I hadn't brought a change of clothes so I slept a bit damp, but comfortable enough for a good night of sleep.
Sunday was basically the same, weather wise. Packed up camp and was on the trail by 6:30am. Rain started at 7:30am and continued until I was back at the Trailhead at 11am. All things considered, it was a great trip with lots of memories.