Why we must break the tradition of carrying rocks up this High Peak
By Sadye Bobbette, 2018 Fall Education Intern
Mount Skylight, the fourth highest peak in the Adirondacks, is known for the gigantic pile of rocks sitting at the summit. According to an old legend, carrying a rock up the mountain will keep it from raining on you while on the summit. Hence the tradition that has pursued for years; every hiker leaves a rock at the top.
The phenomenon on Skylight, however, should not be mistaken for the “Carry-a-Rock” program, an initiative started by the Adirondack High Peaks Summit Stewardship Program in 1999. The idea is to help Summit Stewards bring rocks to certain summits for trail work that protects the rare alpine vegetation. Trail crews use the rock to build scree walls, construct cairns, and pack loose soil, all of which encourage hikers to stay off the delicate vegetation and travel on durable rock surfaces. Currently, the rocks are meant to be carried from the trailhead at the Adirondak Loj to the summits of Marcy, Algonquin, Wright, and Colden, but not Skylight.