Skip to content

Northville Placid Trail – Duck Hole Visit | Average Hiker

Duck Hole Shelter on the Northville Placid Trail

It rained off and on all night.  The forecast had not called for rain, but weather changes fast in the Adirondacks or any mountain range.  “The mountains make their own weather” is very commonly heard along the trails.

I was up and moving early although I still waited for the first light of Dawn.  These woods were THICK and dense and even with my headlamp, I did not want to risk wandering off the sometimes lightly marked trail.  Even going to the privy in the dark was not something I wanted to do although I was beginning to get a little desperate.  I had wandered around the previous night for 15 minutes looking for the little wooden box.

The hike from Moose Pond to Duck Hole was wet, brushy, and filled with bogs and impaling ancient bog bridges but it was still a beautiful hike.  I’m not sure I have ever not had a beautiful hike on the first full day out.  It is still so new and good to be back in the woods.

There are two shelters at Duck Hole.  I’m not sure which is which, but as I passed a bathroom sign high on a tree above the trail I decided to take a short break from the rain.  I think it was the newer Duck Hole #1.  I would never have seen the sign to the shelter if I had not seen the bathroom sign.  Unlike the Appalachian Trail, the Northville-Placid Trail does not advertise its shelters.  I literally stumbled across them in some instances.  

Side note – I keep all my pictures out on Instagram and Twitter.

I headed down to the very nice Duck Hole #1 and came around the corner to find Ian lying in his sleeping bag reading a book.  Ian was from Saratoga and out for a few days just to escape the craziness that is outside the trail bubble – the rest of the world.

We ended up chatting trail and life in general, and as time passed I began adding back layers.  It was cold and rainy and I needed to keep moving.  Just as I rose to gather my backpack, Ian asked me if I would like a cup of tea.  The best kind of trail magic is always right when you need it most!  I was on the verge of getting a little chilled and his timing was perfect.  We sat sipping tea for another 30 minutes before I hiked back out.

My goal was to get to the Cold River Shelter at the suspension bridge.  I would probably camp near the river for the night and then head over the bridge in the morning.

All of the Cold River shelters looked a little older, and I could imagine the mice peeking out as I passed them.  Arriving at the shelter by the river I saw it was heavily used and there was no good camping around the shelter.  I could have hiked another mile off-trail down to the Cold River campground but I decided to head on across the bridge and continue another couple of miles before dark.

One thing about these forests is that they are dense, and as it began to grow dark I began scanning for a spot to set up my tent.  There was nothing.  The surrounding woods were dense, wet, and lumpy and I sleep like a princess.  

I began to get frustrated as it grew dark, but just as I was beginning to think about breaking out my headlamp I passed a faint trail off to my left.  The trail wasn’t on my maps but it was clearly an old trail so I traveled down it about 20 yards, found a fairly level area, and set up my tent – just as it began pouring again – before I got the shelter set up – of course.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *