So, the odd thing about the old trail I set up on last night – the footprints. The trail had clearly not been used in some time but there were small footprints just past where I set up. About 10 feet further down the trail was a blowdown and muddy area, and splattered around in the mud were about 10 small footprints. There were none leading in or out. It looked like a little fairy had done a small dance on this unused piece of the old trail. Wierd.
It rained all night, but thankfully it stayed in the low 50’s so it was fairly warm when I woke up. This was good since I put back on the damp clothes I had worn the day before. Putting on wet clothes is never a fun experience, and putting them back on when it is cold is brutal!
Today’s hike took me along Long Lake. This was a prepper/survivalist’s dream location! Small camps were located along the shore with no roads into them, and on occasion, I caught glimpses of the small homes along the lake. I saw propane tanks, fire pits, and even a solar panel or two. The homes were accessed by boat and offered almost total privacy.
This lake was beautiful with all its shelters – Long Lake Shelter, Plumley’s Point, Rodney Point #1 and #2, Kelly Point #2 and #1, Hidden Cove, Catlin Bay. I would like to take a trip back just to hike from shelter to shelter over a two-day hike. Fall would be the perfect season.
I stopped at the Kelly Point shelters for a break, where I met a couple and their stealthy Rottweiler heading out for the day. This shelter location was amazing! The two shelters were side by side and sitting just above the lake. The fire pits in front of the shelters were massive. There was also enough camping for at least 30-40 people in the areas surrounding the shelters, and the couple told me a camp group of 20 had been there the night before, heading out in canoes just before I arrived.
I sat down by the shore for about 20 minutes having a snack in the sun. Sun glinted off the deep blue waters and Fall colors popped in the trees around me. It was tempting to stay, but there was a pile of hunting gear with no hunter in one of the shelters. A ranger had left a note on the gear since the hunter did not appear to have returned. This was my sign to keep on moving.
Finishing my hike around the like, I arrived at Tarbell Hill Road trailhead. The sun was shining and the weather here is unpredictable, so I exploded my gear all over the parking lot to dry out and cooked some pasta I had not eaten the night before. I never take sunshine for granted and jump on any chance I have to dry things out as soon as possible. This was turning into a long lazy day – perfect hiking.
I was probably spread all over that parking lot for almost two hours as I ate and let everything dry out. Maybe 3 cars drove by on the small blacktop road while I relaxed in the sun. This was a quiet trailhead, and not where you wanted to try and hitch into Long Lake.
Continuing my walk down the road, I arrived at 28N. This was a fairly busy road, and a hitch would take you into the popular resupply town of Long Lake, NY. I hear the Adirondack Motel is very hiker-friendly.
I continued on, pausing for yet another break to check my phone at the road. There is not much of a cell signal on this trail, but I was usually able to get one at the major road crossings and check for any updates or messages. Crossing 28N I continued on up the trail. I had no need to go into town since I was not resupplying.
Not long after crossing the road, the trail began to climb, and abruptly it got steeper and steeper. I should have checked my maps this morning, but then sometimes it is better not to know about the climbs. My goal had been Salmon River Campsite, but as I dug in and pulled up the mountain I knew I would not make it.
Damn! That was easily the toughest climb of the hike so far. I thought the NPT was flat. Reaching the summit, I began looking for a spot to camp. If the other side was like the side up, I did not want to get caught on the side of the mountain after dark.
Reaching the summit I saw what I thought was a small game trail off to my left and I followed it for about 30 feet where I found an old fire ring and enough room for two tents. I set up quickly, already being able to see my breath. I had checked the weather forecast on the road and temperatures were dropping pretty steeply tonight. Here at the top of the mountain, a thousand feet above lake-filled valleys, it would be even colder.
I ate a couple of snacks since I had eaten pasta for lunch, climbed into my Katabatic quilt, and pulled my hoodie down over my eyes. This southern gal was ready for the winter temps!