I know I'm not the only one who went to the mountains tired and hungry to begin with, but went out on the hike anyway. You have an unexpected day off. The weather forecast is great. So you are going to tough it out, even if you're tired and hungry. That's fine. May I suggest that your destination NOT be Mt. Haystack in the Adirondacks.
I've been wanting for awhile to get to Mt. Haystack this year. I actually wanted to do it as a loop hike with Basin and Saddleback as well. However as you'll see, when I was driving there I made up my mind that Haystack was going to be it for that day, and it was more than enough.
So at my job I work an overnight shift from 11:30PM to 8AM. My normal night off is Monday, and some Saturdays as well. Most of the time I make Tuesday my hiking day then. I try to somewhat keep to my night schedule on Monday night; this allows me to get the almost 300 miles from my house in NJ to the Adirondacks at daybreak. So if sunrise is say 530AM, I would leave my house at like 1230AM or so Monday night. There's no traffic to deal with, and I'm used to being awake at that time of night.
What's even crazier is that after I'm done hiking I drive the 5 hours back to my house, get a couple of hours sleep, and go to work Tuesday night. I'm so tired after that I sleep all the next day usually. Hey it works for me.
Well unfortunately I have this family obligation on Tuesday night this summer that doesn't allow me to do my routine. So I've made do with going out on Sundays, because I have had a lot of Saturday nights off. So one week I learn I get an extra day off at work, they owed me some time, and they let me pick a day. So I looked at the forecast and saw Wednesday was going to be a great day, and told them to give me Tuesday night off.
As it turns out that Tuesday saw me doing all these unexpected things during the day, and then I had to go do what I have to do on Tuesday nights for the summer, so I got thrown off my "normal" hours. I didn't get home till like 10pm with like no sleep during the day, and I was set to get up soon to get to Keene Valley. So you see where this is heading. Hiking without proper rest is not fun. Hiking without proper rest and then going up Mt. Haystack is really not fun.
Perhaps I should add that not eating well the night before, and then the following morning doesn't help your case either. So that's how it was for me. Just totally sluggish the whole way to the top, and then it becomes like this death march on the way back. I was so tired that I called out of work that night. It would have been nuts to try that, I was on the trail for like 10 hours or so.
Don't get me wrong, I saw how awesome Mt. Haystack is. The view is just outstanding. I've heard a lot of people say they got no views when they were there. I had a totally clear day, with like NO WIND, which is unheard of, and I was so beat from getting to the top that I hardly spent any time on the summit! It flashed in my mind that I would have no energy to get back down. I knew I did, but it was the first time I had a thought like that while hiking.
It was a lesson learned. Get some sleep beforehand, and have a good dinner and breakfast. Sounds so simple, doesn't it? Mt. Haystack is the third highest mountain in NY, and it's like 9 miles to get to. It is not an easy 9 miles either. So if you take it seriously, and get a clear day, you WILL be rewarded.
I hope you enjoy some of these pictures. This trip report was written while having Saranac Pumpkin Ale.