5-Day Adirondack Adventure

Joined
Sep 19, 2011
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105
Location
SE MI
This is a trip that has been five or six years in the making. First, a little back-story: Before I even thought of remote travel via a canoe, I was looking for an adventurous backpacking trip. I bought a couple of guidebooks about the Adirondacks and began planning a five day trip in late May for the following year. Amongst my research I found it would be really wet and muddy during that time of year. The trip got put on hold and I ended up getting soaked on the Superior Hiking Trail on the north shore of Lake Superior that year. Flash forward a couple of years and I get into canoeing and find out my sister is moving to New York’s North Country. I posted a commit about thinking about going out to the Adirondacks, and stripperguy sent me a private message saying if I needed any info on the area just ask. That trip also got put on hold due to my buddy planning a weeklong backpacking trip for his bachelor party. Forward another year and I think I can now make the trip. I sent stripperguy another PM with some info on what I think I would like to do while there. A few emails latter I settle on a plan. Now to the report.

Sunday June 8 and 9, Lake Lila
My sister and I leave her place around 6:00am headed to Saranac Lake via Tupper Lake. Upon recommendations I have seen and read we arrived at St Regis Outfitters to pick up our rental canoe. We chose upon discussing with the guys there, a Souris River Quietco 17. We get the canoe loaded and make the Lake Lila parking lot by 11:00am. The guys at the outfitter said it would be the worse road I had seen. I did not think it was bad at all. A short time later and we are at the landing ready to push off.

My first view of an Adirondack backcountry lake.




We had packed a couple of sandwiches for lunch and kind of wedged ourselves in between some large rocks in the lake to eat.


We paddle down the north shore amazed at the beauty of the area.


We head to the south shore looking for a great campsite.


The first one we come across fits our image. I think it is the one everyone talks about being really nice, so I will not say which one. We get our camp set up in short time. It was suggested we hike up Mt Frederica. We head off down the lake to find a place to land the canoe. We left the canoe around 2:00pm and make the summit around 3:00pm. This hike was not too bad and the views are stunning. Well worth the hike.

The view towards the High Peaks.


I think this might be Mud Pond in the distance.


More views.




A while later we head back down. A grouse about four feet spooked me. It took off down the trail screaming.Something moving from where it had left caught my eye. It was a baby chick running deeper into the woods. We make it back to the canoe in about a half hour and start back across the lake.

A view back towards Frederica.


We arrived back at camp a short time later and made dinner. Afterword’s, we walked around the area for a bit. We chit chatted for a while any place the wind was blowing to avoid the bugs. The flies were there but bearable. We went to bed around 10:00pm. The frogs were really loud all night and kept us up.

I woke up around 6:00am to a perfectly still lake with stunning views.




I did not pack enough stove fuel to boil water for breakfast. Some Birch bark, a few twigs, and we have a fire hot enough to boil water in the freshly cleaned out fire pit.


Luckily I had some leather gloves to handle the now soot covered pot. A little sand scrubbing later and we were ready to pack up camp. I gave my sister the option to paddle up Shingle Shanty Brook or head to another pond. She would later regret heading out.

June 9, Cheney Pond
The access road was a little hard to find coming from the west. The signs were tucked back a little and facing east. As everyone says the landing and adjacent campsite are dumpy. We both decide that Cheney is no Lila and load the canoe to head down the Boreas River.





We notice a couple of large rocks on the north shore. We called them chocolate pot rocks due to their resemblance to the chocolate pots in Yellowstone National Park.


We made it to the really shallow outflow and drag and line the canoe down.




We make it to the river and than my sister notice this.


She said there is no way we are going any further with that lurking around. We decide to check out the lean-to. The beach is really nice.


We saw the same bear print all over the area around the lean-to.


The view out.


We had planned on camping down the river someplace, but since she nixed my Boreas River plans we headed out. I had already planned to camp the following night at Harris Lake State Park, so we headed there. When we arrived we found their showers were out of service. I pulled out the maps and we head towards Long Lake.

cont.
 
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Joined
Sep 19, 2011
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105
Location
SE MI
June 9 through 11, Lake Eaton

The next best choice for us seamed to be Lake Eaton State Park. We drove around and found a nice campsite on the lake that had good shore access. After dinner we decided to paddle around the lake. We quietly jammed to the Decembers and Lumineers from my phone and speaker for a couple of hours as went around the lake. Despite the cottages that dot the lake and lack of any islands we still found it scenic and a good paddle.





Again the next morning the lake was still.




The next day we had to return the canoe.

While we were back in Saranac Lake area we headed over to Lake Placid to do some site seeing. We also went down to the Adirondack LOJ. While in town, my sister had to find some Internet access to complete some homework. We arrived back at camp around dinnertime. It was still calm after dinner and the bugs were stirring. We decide to head down the hill to Long Lake and sit by the bridge in the breeze for a while.

Thankfully we did because we witnessed a nice sunset.
 
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Joined
Sep 19, 2011
Messages
105
Location
SE MI
Robin, if backpacking is off topic feel free to delete this post.

I am the type of traveler that likes to do and see as much as possible. I figured that no trip to the Adirondacks would be complete with out a trip into the High Peaks Region backpacking.

June 11, Upper works

We leave the Upper Works trail headed towards Calamity Brook Trail around 9:00am. Little did we know this was the easy section of the trail.



We took the “low water” route across Calamity Brook.


We made the Henderson Memorial in pretty quick time.




Some flora. I thought it was interesting and growing all over.


Now the rain begins and the trail steepens.


Flowed Lake, Mt Marcy? In the background.


Lake Colden


We had planned to stay at one of the Beaver Point Lean-to’s. Despite the rain, we could tell why both were packed full. The views were really good. We than decided to skip a day and hike to Wallface lean-to via Cold Brook Pass.



1050’ in a mile and a half did not sound that bad. We have done distances like that before, up lots of switchbacks. This trail was nothing like we had ever done before. It was bouldering and rock hopping up creek beds while raining.



Up more? Yep that was not even the top.


That’s it for the pictures due to the extremes of the trail conditions. We were soaking wet and tired by the time we made the summit. It took us three hours to hike those 1.5 miles. Going back down the pass was not as bad as going up. It took us around an hour going down the north slope of the pass. When we made Indian Pass Trail we debated hiking down hill towards the next lean-to or head to Wallface. We decided Wallface would be our destination. This pass was not as bad except for the car and shed sized boulders we had to get over. We made it down the last set of ladders and herd people. When we finial found them they were underdressed, less fit and headed towards the pass. We sternly suggested they should turn around and head back to their lean-to (they were at Henderson). We made Wallface lean-to around 7pm, soaked, cold and hungry. It continued to rain all night and the next day. We lazed around till around noon before putting our still wet clothes back on and heading out. Two hours later we made it back to our truck.

Random observations and lessons.
Canoeing was very good and lots of fun. We both decided when we come back we spend all week canoeing. Backpacking was more boulder hoping and climbing and was not vary enjoyable. None the less an experience worth undertaking. We went back to her place via Old Forge. Made a stop at the famous MountianMan Outfitters. Being from Michigan, where we do not have a full canoe dealer, I was amazed at their inventory.

Ohio- no offense to anyone who lives there. Could you please pick a speed limit and stick with it. I went through zones between 50 and 70MPH.

New York- Again no offense. Why not have exit number that line up with mileposts? In all the states I have been to exit 185 is at or near milepost 185. Exit 33 should only be one mile from exit 34. In New York they could be 20 miles apart.
 
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Joined
Jun 12, 2012
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Appleton, Maine
Thanks, I liked those pictures from Mt Frederica, Lila is really a beautiful lake, it's always nice to read and see pictures of peoples visit's there. That lean to looked nice, too bad about the bear tracks spooking your sister.

I'm not surprised Stripperguy shared his knowledge of the ADK's with you, he's quite at home there and very helpful,
Thanks again for sharing your thoughts and pictures.
 
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An Adirondack mile can feel long. I've been there many times. Often I find it harder when I'm knee deep mud, but the elevation hurts too. Now imagine going off trail into the spruce thickets - there are individuals mad enough to do that.

I agree canoeing is much more enjoyable in that area. As much as I like the rugged beauty of the mountains, the trails are much tougher on the body than the boat is. Winter is a good time to hike - the bugs and mud have dissipated and many enjoyable views come sooner and along the trail as the leaves are off the trees. And there isn't much better than gliding along on a couple of boards through the woods, although for Indian Pass I'd elect snowshoes.

PS Frederica is about as easy as they get the Adirondacks in terms of hikes. I hope you weren't expecting everything to be that way! I went up the first time last year and I was surprised at how pleasant and easy a hike it was. Not what I usually expect for a climb in the ADKs.
 
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Joined
Feb 29, 2012
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Schenectady, NY
K,

Glad to see you and your sister had a good time despite the bugs and the rain. Your photos look fantastic, left me wanting to see more!!
The first time MDB and I went to Lila, the great camp Nehasane and all of its out buildings were still intact. It was like a trip back in time!
Did you take the detour to see the old train station? That was a private stop for Seward Webb, married to a Vanderbilt. Lots of history there.
There is also a great side trip up Harrington Brook and Rainer Brook.

Too bad your sister got spooked by the bear tracks, as long as you keep a clean campsite, they're really no problem at all. If you had continued down the Boreas, you would have likely not seen another person...and the high peak views get better and better as you approach the remains of Lester Dam.

As far as the high peaks go, I'm glad to see you survived...most folks stick to the lower levels with full packs, and then day trip to the higher elevations with minimal burdens. As you found, it can be quite busy there, even in less than ideal conditions.

When will be the next trip? If you devote a full week, there are some amazing spots you can visit...

Mike T.
 
Joined
Sep 19, 2011
Messages
105
Location
SE MI
An Adirondack mile can feel long. Now imagine going off trail into the spruce thickets - there are individuals mad enough to do that.

PS Frederica is about as easy as they get the Adirondacks in terms of hikes. I hope you weren't expecting everything to be that way! Not what I usually expect for a climb in the ADKs.

I would not want to travel through those thick spruce forests, especially when soaking wet from rain.

Frederica was an easy climb. The funny thing is that Michigan’s highest point is only 1900’ (Mt Arvon) and that is still shorter than Mt Frederica. I was not expecting everything to be easy, but to be honest I had no idea how hard Cold Brook or Indian pass would be. I guess I mistakenly thought a backpacking trail would be just a bunch of steep switchbacks. I have been one place worse before- Haleakala National Park, Maui (I made my soon to be wife hike along with me and her dad said jokingly I could not marry her). 1400’ in two miles. I wish I could find the photo. A wall of switchbacks for as far as you can see. My legs hurt for a week after that.

Glad to see you and your sister had a good time despite the bugs and the rain. Your photos look fantastic, left me wanting to see more!!


Too bad your sister got spooked by the bear tracks, as long as you keep a clean campsite, they're really no problem at all. If you had continued down the Boreas, you would have likely not seen another person...and the high peak views get better and better as you approach the remains of Lester Dam.

When will be the next trip? If you devote a full week, there are some amazing spots you can visit...

Mike T.

We had a great time. The bugs were not that bad in my opinion. My sister might have more pictures. Her camera was more accessible than mine.

I know the bears are not really a problem. I think my sister is the only grown woman still afraid of the dark.

The Boreas is still on my list. Next trip? If she is still in NY in a couple of years, I will be back.
 
Joined
Jul 31, 2011
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Aberdeen, MD
My avatar is from a bear encounter at Campsite 21 on Lake Lila.

Re the mile posts, that's only on the Thruway... on I-81, it lines up with mile markers (i think. didn't used to, but they changed it a few years back.)
 
Joined
Aug 2, 2011
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Scituate, RI
Nice TR! I love the Adirondacks, and it is great when new people find the magic in it. I also got a kick out of your description of the trails. Switchbacks? My experience in NY and New England is that the trails go right the heck up the hill. Switchbacks are rare. Hiking in the Smokies, where I discovered my first switchbacks ever, I was like, hey, what a great idea, lol!

-rs
 
Joined
Sep 19, 2011
Messages
105
Location
SE MI
My sister finial sent me her pictures. She said she forgot about them. Apparently she had a good time in the Adirondacks because she took her husband out to Chasm Ausable for their one-year anaveresy.

Anyway back to the photos.

I think this was on the Colden Lake side of Cold Brook Pass. You can really see how wet we and everything else had become.




Those ladders are convenient but very scary going down. On the way down Indian Brook the ladders were much taller and scary slippery.

Wallface.


Wallface lean-to, our home for the night. Very dark in there, we ended up hanging our headlights in the back.


Last photo.
 
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