Sunday, November 14, 2010


Woke up at Mud Lake to overcast skies with some sun. Went back to sleep after wandering around for a little bit at 6. Woke up for real again at 9:30. Got moving slow, soaked up the true joy of coffee. I use a filter that screws on top of a Nalgene bottle. You put the coffee into this fine metal screen, pour in the hot water and then shake for 5 minutes. It's thick, it's strong it does the job. Sold in the cooking section of EMS.

The trail from Mud Lake to the Sacandaga River was seriously perfect for moving. Downhill with few rocks and a wide trail. At the river I pumped water a bit nervously not knowing what amount of human or agricultural activity was going on upstream. At the suspension bridge, there was a fantasy movie being being shot with cheap camcorders by some creepy middle-aged men wearing leather gauntlets. When I came upon I saw a few children with capes and swords. I kind of assumed it was some local nerds out role-playing before I saw the camera. There was an orc (one of the few adult actors), with horns and decent make-up. There were also many children 8-16 in renaissance fair type gear. The younger they were, the less elaborately dressed.

The hike from the river to our eventual second lean-to was not super eventful, some pretty woods with some nice big old growth, a lovely second suspension bridge with a good tent spot just past it.

We arrived at the Hamilton Stream Lean-to and decided to have a snack (Tuna on cracker) and pump some water. As I wandered back to the stream to pump, a light drizzle began to fall. After pumping for over an hour, the rain had not stopped. Bud, who was right behind us for most of the day decided to tent at the suspension bridge site. He had a military style water filter which pumped 2 liters in about 5 minutes. It was taking me almost 30 minutes to fill one Nalgene.

We decided, still exhausted from the start of our adventures to stay the night at the lean-to we were already chilling at. We read, played cards and for the first time in our camping careers, simply relaxed at a campsite for the day (finished hiking around 2 or so). It turned out to be a really nice time, watching the rain fall from our cozy shelter.

day 2: 4.8 miles. 2 day total: 18 miles.

A hummingbird, Jeanette's totem for the hike, visited me while I was pumping water. I t was shiny green, a bit iradescent and tasted an orange flower.
Many toads! a land of toads

found a piece of stoneware, left it at Hamilton Stream Lean-to.

Saturday, November 13, 2010


Jeanette and I worked the week before we started the Northville-Placid Trail in Plattsburg (Chazy actually). We drove down to my folks camp in Eagle Bay that Friday. We had Walter with us, he would be staying with my parents while we were in the woods. The plan was to drive to the end of the trail, the Averyville rd trailhead in Lake Placid where we would meet up with Tom the shuttle man who would drive us to the start of our journey In Upper Benson, NY.

Woke up at 5Am to leave by 7. Mom made lots of strong coffee and tasty breakfeast. We saw two deer and a coyote cross the road near Tupper and a bear on the side of 28 the night before. Tom was there waiting at the trailhead right at 9am, reclining on the bed-edge of an old but well-maintained gray pick-up. The drive down was lovely.

Met Derrick at the trailhead wearing his grandfather's safari hat. We set up our bags and ate some Screamin' Eagle pizza for good luck and nice times. The first stretch of trail had some really nice campsites (an easy day hike in for a nice weekend in the woods), especially the one right before the bridge over West Stormy or Goldmine Creek.

Silver Lake was quite lovely. After hiking about 7 miles we rested there and had another fine Derrick gourmet cheese nosh. Jeanette slipped into a nap on her pad (an endearing little habit she's formed) while Derrick and I discussed safety for the rest of our trip and watched some dragonflies and frogs. We met Bud there. He started the trail a few hours before us and had found his lean-to for the night. He was hiking solo and looked to be doing some fishing and solitude pursuit as well as hiking. Derrick followed us as far as to the next water source where he filled his bottle. We parted ways.

Just before approaching Canary Pond, a beaver meadow/ wetland (visible on the map) presented us with our first challenge of will on our journey. From my journal: 'the beaver meadow was an up-to-the-knee mudfest, quite debilitating to the soul'. After Jeanette's trying struggle in the bog of despair we made it to the shore of Canary pond where we planned on washing up and making sure none of the 'worms' we encountered in the marsh got too comfortable on our feet.

We stumbled through a tent site with 3 tarp and hammock set-ups. As we approached the shore, 3 dudes and 5(?) dogs we are wrenched out of an afternoon sun-baked nap next to the lapping waters. Three of the dogs were size-able and irate Bull Mastiffs. The Owner eventually settled them down and we shared a conversation with these guys. They had been doing this hike each summer for several years and were doing it North to south, the opposite of the standard approach. Got some great advice and encouragement which got us back on our feet for the last stretch.

A blur to the next Lean-to (Mud Lake, our first) as we were very tired. Beautiful place, lean-to in great condition. Slept many hours.

Day 1: 13.2 miles

we saw frogs, toads, dragonflies, a hawk (which followed us), and assorted small birds including a grouse.