Number 20 for two of us that is. We started out the 2009 high peak hiking season on Tabletop. My father and I welcomed some extra hikers on this trip. Dan joined us for another go at a high peak after he proclaimed Cascade and Porter to be the first and last of the 46ers he would attempt. Sherilee was up for a visit this weekend like many of the other New Jersey folk we saw on the highway and she was more than ready for the 10.5 mile hike we had in store. We arrived at the adirondack loj at about 8:45 to suprisingly find more than enough parking on this Monday holiday. We made it to Marcy Dam by 9:40. This is such a neat spot, I am glad my husband was finally there with me. There are a whole lot of people who have no idea where or what is Marcy Dam. After a short rest we set out on the phelps brook trail which is rocky but they are smaller rocks which are easier on the feet. There was not as much mud as I had expected on any of the trails. In fact I would say that even the muddiest spots were no worse than they would be in July. There was no sign of snow left anywhere. It seemed that we quickly passed the trail that leads up Phelps and my father and I recalled thinking our Phelps hike was a big one. Back when an 8 mile hike was unheard of for us. We continued on for about 40 minutes and arrived at the cairn (and a sign) marking the herdpath up Tabletop. It was 11:30. We had already planned to visit Indian Falls and loop over to Avalanche Camp via the Lake Arnold connector trail but the decision that needed to be made was..... do we climb the mountain and eat lunch at the summit or visit the falls for lunch first? Standing at the cairn with the idea that it is only half a mile to the summit made climbing the mountain seem like the best option so that we didnt have to double back the .1 mile after visiting the falls. WELL....Let me just tell you....Tabletop is NO EASY climb. It is an unmarked herdpath alright. It starts out VERY narrow and with a little portion of blow down. The city girl who likes to lead the way quickly gave up the front position because it was a little confusing for someone who has not seen a herdpath before. She can navigate the path train from NJ to NYC like a champ though, so we didnt make fun of her. Sure enough there was plenty of root grabbing and fancy foot placing to get up this one. Pretty slow going. It took us an hour. We were definitely ready to see that summit marker and our lunch. It was 12:30. There was one little area beyond the summit marker to eat lunch and it featured Mt. Marcy as the backdrop. Dan asked a lot of questions about our climb up Marcy last July. I think he was pretty impressed seeing it for real and knowing that Greg had done it with us. We spent at least a half hour eating lunch. The climb down required just as much caution but we were able to do it in 30 minutes. Back on the blue trail to Mt. Marcy we hiked about 5 minutes to a creek. We crossed it and continued on for about another 5 minutes realizing after asking the ranger, that the little creek we had just crossed did lead to the top of the falls. There is a sign, but we missed it. When you follow the little paths leading out to the falls everything opens up and you have a beautiful unobstructed view of Algonquin, Iriquois, Wright, Colden and Avalanche Pass (although you cannot see down through the pass) This actually would have been the better spot for lunch, but at that point, I was glad the climb was behind us. Dan drank his first filtered water out of Indian Falls. For some reason I think it is important to make note of where your first katadyn filtered water drink comes from and it should not be from just any old stream. Ok..so a few minutes were spent enjoying the scenery and the sit down. We started the mostly downhill portion of the Lake Arnold crossover trail and continued toward Avalanche Camp for more downhill rock hopping. Avalanche Camp was a welcome sight because it is a nice open clearing to sit and rest. It is an old lean to site. The new lean to was built much farther up in the woods and the little clearing has been a re-vegetation area that is now all grassy. We left this spot at 4:00, VERY TIRED and ready to use a real bathroom and sit in the comfortable seat of the car. The one mile to Marcy Dam went relatively quick as the trail is mostly flat and not at all rocky. It is a nice section that follows Marcy Brook. We hit Marcy Dam at 4:30 and at break neck, my legs are killing me and my boots are filled with hot lava speed- we signed out at 5:15. No black flies to speak of except at the last break we took with .9 till the parking lot. We will now take the month of June off as to not have a repeat of the black fly torture endured last June on Street and Nye. Time to plan for the first backpack trip in July.