Saturday, July 4, 2015

Saturday Serendipity (July 4, 2015) -- I'm Back!

On March 7th, I posted the following introduction to my weekly round-up of genealogy-related blog posts that I wanted to recommend to others . . . 

"Saturday Serendipity, and most of my other blog posting (other than posts already auto-loaded for publication), will be on hiatus for a few weeks after this weekend while I attend to a necessary medical matter.  I currently plan to return on a regular basis sometime in April."  

Well, rather than a few weeks, the hiatus has turned into more like three months!  To remove any mystery about the medical matter and the long absence from blogging, I decided to post a brief explanation of the reason for the hiatus here because it was a matter of lucky serendipity for me and my family.

Late last year when I went to shave one morning, I looked in the mirror and saw a dark, oval bruise surrounding a mole that had been on my clavicle for decades.  It looked ugly and I had no explanation for it . . . so I got myself to the family doctor pronto and found myself at a dermatologist's office within 24 hours.  He took one look at the mole and announced it was nothing but a  hemangioma (a benign formation of blood vessels), but he offered to excise the mole and have a biopsy done if I wanted.  I said, "Yes, let's do that."

Within a few days the biopsy came back and just as the dermatologist had predicted, it was benign.  But, he told me that the pathologist had also found the presence of "amyloids" and so he wanted me to see a hematologist/oncologist.  I had earlier been experiencing some discomfort and numbness in my feet that was being explored as some possible vein valve insufficiency, but the serendipitous amyloid detection sent things in a new direction and by mid-January I was diagnosed with amyloidosis -- a protein abnormality with its genesis in the bone marrow.

Amyloidosis is a rare condition with only about 3,200 cases/yr in the U.S.  [Interested readers can Google it for more details if interested.]  

The so-called "gold standard" treatment for amyloidosis is a stem cell rescue procedure, which is what Tom Brokaw and Mother Jones political blogger Kevin Drum underwent for their multiple myeloma.  A stem cell rescue involves knocking out the immune system and then being infused with one's own previously collected stem cells.  I underwent the procedure at the world-class Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP) during the month of March.  In a follow-up with the treatment team in early June, the procedure was said to be "fully successful" and I am now in "complete remission."

And this is all because of the serendipitous bruise of a mole that led to the serendipitous detection of amyloid during a routine biopsy that I fortuitously asked to be done when the dermatologist offered it to set my mind at ease over the nature of a suddenly bruised, decades-old mole!

To begin my gradual return to more regular blogging here at The Prism, a few recommendations for inclusion on your reading list this weekend are presented below.  

Happy 4th of July to all as we celebrate the 239th anniversary of a truly remarkable document -- the Declaration of Independence!

1.    Upfront with NGS posted a nice resource compliments of Thomas MacEntee, "Free Online Genealogy Education Resources."   You can see the post and get a link to the list here.

2.    And speaking of FREE, Janine Adams of Organize Your Family History blog has done the work of gathering in one post a collection of 4th of July research tools available for free for a limited time. See Janine's post and the links here.

3.    Always well researched.  Always well written.  Always well illustrated.  Diane Boumenot of One Rhode Island Family blog, has done it again with her post "A Death at Antietam," which can be read here.  As Diane summarizes, "This is  the story of how the Battle of Antietam played a significant and unexpected role in my family’s history."  It is an engaging piece well worth the time to read and from which one can learn.

4.    Diane Boumenot is a wellspring of information and research sources regarding Rhode Island history and genealogy.  Anyone with Rhode Island roots would be well advised to peruse her blog, One Rhode Island Family, to discover available databases and sources for their Rhode Island research.  Diane's post of June 15th is an example of how she always has her eye out for new research tools and how she shares them when found.  Providence City House Directories are now available online and Diane tells us how and where here.   

5.    James Tanner of Genealogy's Star blog posted two pieces this week that should be of interest to genealogists of all experience levels.  One is his list "Essential Books for Genealogy," which can be read here.  The other is a reminder about how and where birth "records" can be found -- and how such records are not limited to governmental birth certificates.  This piece can be read here.    

6.    Heather Rojo of Nutfield Genealogy blog has a nice read about moving the Gay Head Lighthouse on Martha's Vineyard and how her sister sent her on a quick inquiry that netted a new cousin connection.  You can read Heather's post and see her photos here.  

7.    Nancy Messier of My Ancestors and Me blog posted what could be a nice prompt for genealogy bloggers to use periodically -- imagined conversations with ancestors.  Read Nancy's post here and perhaps write your own ancestor conversation post afterwards.

8.   "The Ghost of Midnight Mary" is the most recent post on New England Folklore, a blog by Peter Muise.  Read the horrible basis for the legend of Midnight Mary and see Peter's photographic illustrations here 
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

The Old Glory photo was taken by the author at the 2010 Boy Scout National Jamboree (the celebration of 100 years of Scouting in the U.S.). 
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Copyright 2015, John D. Tew
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Travel Thursday (April 2, 2015) -- Northville-Placid Trail Part 12

Day 10, Tuesday, August 18

Up at 6:15 & after getting packs & bear bag down and re-packed we are ready to go on to Averyville Rd. & the completion of the N-LP Trail! Breakfast will be the last of the pop tarts, last of the lemonade, & some granola bars. It looks grey and rainy as we head out after major foot repair at 7:50 AM!

Jonathan signals our last day on the trail as we get ready to leave Cold River lean-to 

Jonathan's major foot repair for the last day. The purple is the much loved horse wrap!

Got to the shelter at Moose Pond at 10:15 -- just as it began to lightly mist & sprinkle.  OUR LUCK!

View from Moose Pond lean-to

The trail from Duck Hole to Moose Pond has been the worst ever. Muck hole after muck hole after muck hole. JPT measured one bog at 1 1/2 feet deep. Not only the boot sucking muck, but the trail is all overgrown up to eye level at points & the lead hiker has to find the trail with each step & can't help swiping the following hiker. This has been a most difficult section & we're damn glad it is over! Hope the next section to Wanika Falls where we plan to have lunch is easier, but somehow I doubt it will be. 

Yes, the trail goes right through the middle of this watery blowdown mess

More trail section through blowdown and watery bog

A chipmunk came right up to us here at the shelter & against all the rules we gave him some peanuts & cashews. Humming birds are feeding next to us in a 10 ft. x 6 ft. clump of Jewel Weed going from orange blossom to orange blossom.

The chipmunk that greeted us at Moose Pond lean-to

Patch of Jewel Weed at Moose Pond lean-to where hummingbirds buzzed in and fed while we watched

Back on the trail at 10:30. We made Wanika Falls before 12:00, but lost the trail there! A Northface tent was set up in a clearing on the far side of the river with no one there. It was soaked & had a pack, sleeping pad, sleeping bag & moccasins inside. We called several times, but no one answered. Searched for the trail & the Wanika shelter for over an hour. We even blew our emergency whistle but no response.  Tried several false trails & bushwhacked to try & pick up the trail, but couldn't. Finally, we got out our compass, oriented the map, & backtracked to find we missed a sign post that was not obvious. Lost over an hour with these exercises & all but skipped through lunch -- though we filled water at the falls. Had some gorp & granola bars.

Wanika Falls

The 13 miles today was worse than the 18 yesterday & the trail was abysmal. More muck than ever & the trail was overgrown for miles so that one had to push aside immature maples & spruce to find the trail.

Reached Averyville Rd. at 4:03 PM.  9 days 7 hours and 43 minutes after starting north on the trail! 

John at the Lake Placid terminus on Averyville Road

Jonathan at the Lake Placid terminus on Averyville Road caption

For only the third time on the trail, we got a cell on the phone & were able to call G&G for a ride home. [Oddly, when we tried the phone at G&G's camp we could not get a cell.]

JPT and I relaxed with our packs off and briefly discussed our trip & the trail with a gentleman whose wife was from Northville & wanted to check the register at the trail terminus to see if anyone from Northville she might know had arrived!? 

We sipped water, munched the last granola bars & sat there feeling our feet throb. Much sooner than we expected, G, G, Molly & Christopher arrived with a pizza & a six pack -- half cold cokes & half cold Saranac beers. In minutes the packs were in the trunk, we were all crammed into the car (JPT and I still in our muddy, sweat soaked rain suits) and off to G&G's camp on Lake Placid. After hot showers & intermittent trail stories we sat down to a wonderful hot dinner of macaroni & cheese, tomato & lettuce salad, wine & cake with vanilla ice cream and champagne toasts by John. 

The sign that Christopher made to greet us on return to Grandma and Grandpa's camp on Lake Placid

Clean-up of the gear will just have to wait until tomorrow but . . . WE DID IT -- ALL 122 MILES!!

John lost 8 pounds while on the trail and JPT lost 10 pounds!

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 

Additional Glossary terms:

Camp -- in the Adirondacks, a vacation home on a lake, pond or river is not called a cottage or a cabin. It is referred to as a "camp" and the large, old, historically luxurious camps (usually with multiple buildings) are called "Great Camps." 

Bushwhacking -- refers to travel in wild or uncultivated country especially where one has to push one's way through often times dense vegetation to make any headway.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

All images used are from originals in the family collection.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Copyright 2015, John D. Tew
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Travel Thursday (March 26, 2015) -- Northville-Placid Trail Part 11

Day 9, Monday, August 17

Up at 5:51, I got down the bear bag & packs, prepared breakfast drink & got food out, packed my sleeping bag, mattress and pillow and let JPT sleep in until 6:41 after I washed my face in the lake.

Major foot prep to do today as we are going for Cold River lean-tos 1&2 -- 18 miles north on the trail. Aim is to be hiking by 7:30!

NPT Day 9 -- On the way to Cold River lean-tos

NPT Day 9 - Getting closer to Cold River lean-tos

On the trail at 7:39. Arrived at Plumley lean-tos (last ones on Long Lake) at about 9:10 & left again at 9:30. The Plumley lean-to was occupied by two men and a woman with 3 teenaged boys. They obviousl came in by boat as they had three dining pavilions, a huge stand-up tent, a two burner Coleman stove & an industrial size propane gas stove all under a kitchen fly. There was a wooden bench with shelves full of food above it & Molson beer -- three 24-packs -- beside the lean-to. And they occupied the lean-to also! They were cooking a full breakfast of eggs & sausage with toast when we arrived to rest a moment. JPT repaired the unraveling line on my staff while I used the outhouse. We were offered to share their breakfast at their table with folding camp chairs, but politely declined & hit the trail at 9:30.

NPT Day 9 -- Approaching Cold River lean-tos #3 and #4

Arrived at the Cold River crossing (swinging bridge) and Cold River lean-tos #3 & 4 at 11:30 where we are having lunch, a quick dip & some foot repair before moving on. Lunch is salami & cheese wraps again, but no lemonade -- only 1 tub left & we want it for supper & our last breakfast tomorrow. Back on the trail at 1:34 after lunch, swim & MAJOR foot repair!

NPT Day 9 - Bridge over Cold River at Lean-tos #3 & #4

NPT Day 9 - Cold River from bridge

NPT Day 9 - Cold River looking upstream from the bridge

NPT Day - At Cold River lean-tos #3 & #4 for lunch break.  24 miles to go!

NPT Day 9 - The bridge over Cold River at Lean-tos #3 and #4

NPT Day 9 - A lunch of wraps at Cold River lean toe #3 and #4
[Note the gear drying on the rocks in the background.]

Ouluska Falls lean-to reached at 3:50. Decided to go on to Cold River lean-to #1 & 2. Left Ouluska at 4:02 PM and arrived at Cold River 1 & 2 very tired and soaked in perspiration at 5:45 PM. We found a fellow in one of the lean-tos & chatted briefly before going across the grassy trail to claim the other lean-to. The fellow is from Massachusetts north of Pittsfield & is hiking south to Indian Lake to meet friends. We did not get his name, but exchanged info on trail conditions, etc.

Not a happy camper! Jonathan at Cold River lean-to #2 after a long 18-mile day and before supper and a dip in the river. This is our last night on the trail!

After finding our bear bag location, we loaded all but our dinner -- PB&J on wraps with water -- & our personal bags for brushing our teeth. We went down to the Cold River, stripped down and found places to sit in the mild rapids & let the cool water bath us & massage our aching feet. We ate on the rocks & got water iodine for tomorrow when we'll make up all of our last lemonade for the final 13 miles into Lake Placid. We plan our usual early rise to get to Averyville Rd. by 3:00 if possible. We're a bit worried about the phone since we always forgot to re-charge at food drops & we discovered it somehow got turned on in J's pack. Hope we have a cell & enough juice to call for our pick-up! Tried tonight & got "no service" yet again.

Foot repair will be a top priority in the morning as the miles are taking their toll & John stubbed his toe on a rock in Cold River at lunch and took a large flap of skin off his left big toe. Luckily we stocked up on gauze and tape in Long Lake & still have a full & partial roll of horse wrap & some mole skin sheets.

The hike today was very mixed -- still lots of black boot sucking bogs, but less frequent. Long lengths of pine cushioned smooth walkways amid tall spruces on either side, but then lots of undulating root & rock covered narrow trail around Long Lake -- a very long lake indeed! And then after deciding to push on the additional 4+miles from Ouluska Falls to Cold River 1&2, we had long, steady, grueling uphills that left us drenched in sweat & consuming water at an alarming rate.

The hike along the Cold River below the Hermit's old home site was an absolute delight & we wished we could have stopped to swim numerous times, but had to make our 18 miles. This would be a beautiful section to revisit fro a leisurely several days!

At the campsite of Noah John Rondeau the "Hermit of Cold River"

Detritus at Rondeau's campsite

I am very impressed with JPT's backpacking ability. He s able to set and hold a steady, quick pace for miles & never complains. He is a joy to hike with & I know I could never have done this without him. He is quite young man & I think will develop a real love of the outdoors. These last days have been special ones I'll cherish for years to come.

I am also extremely proud of Christopher for his accomplishment of 25 miles in real wilderness -- mrs than I ever did at 12! He'll develop into a good hiker/backpacker too if he learns to like it.

Molly is a wonder. I know of no other woman of my acquaintance who would even contemplate, much less actually do, 70 miles of true wilderness backpacking. I'm glad she asked to come along even if her primary motivation may have been to be there if my back went out. ;-) My back has been great though & I stretch morning and evening & take Motrin and valium before bed to keep loose through the night. The last 3 nights have been wonderful sleeping nights.

Saw lots of great sights again today & took many photos to show everyone if they turn out. Saw several mergansers float down the Cold River at lean-to 3&4 rapids past us at lunch & then saw some again (the same ones?) going up stream past us as we bathed & ate dinner on the Cold River at lean-tos 1&2.

JPT and I are exhausted after 18 full miles today.  He is asleep as I finish this & I soon will be -- the hypnotic rush of the near-by Cold River tens to lull one quickly to sleep as the night air cools and the darkness closes in.

Tomorrow we will actually finish this trail -- 122 miles in just under 10 days! An accomplishment we will talk about for years to come. Tonight I finally know we will become N-LP through-hikers & JPT and I look forward to pizza, beer & cokes in celebration. This has been a true family experience & I am a happy man blessed with a supportive family!

It is 9:24 PM as I end this day's entry and lay back to let the Cold River lull me to sleep to prepare for tomorrow.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

All images used are from originals in the family collection.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Copyright 2015, John D. Tew
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Travel Thursday (March 19, 2015) -- Northville-Placid Trail Part 10


Day 8, Sunday, August 16

Up at 6:00 AM on a grey but mild morning. None of the six others in camp are up yet so we are being as quiet as possible. We'll have a trail breakfast of pop tarts, granola bars & lemonade. On the trail to Long Lake at 7:38 AM.

Leaving Tirrell Pond in the early morning on our way to Long Lake Village 

JPT on a trail bridge from Tirrell Pond to Rte 28N

John on a trail bridge from Tirrell Pond to Rte. 28N

Arrived at NY Route 28 at 12:06 after climbing horrendous uphill section & crossing an amazing 1/2 mile long plank boardwalk.  We decided to try to hitch a ride into the village of Long Lake on some friendly truck rather than hike 1.5 miles each way out of way. We'll try our luck for a bit & then continue the trail if no one takes pity on us!

A section of the 1/2 mile long plank boardwalk

JPT as we emerge from the trail at Rte. 28N just outside Long Lake Village

Within 10 minutes a kind couple in a pick-up truck stopped & drove us and our packs into Long Lake and dropped us at the Laundromat attached to a closed auto shop. We put our towels, the shirts and socks we had on & some other dirty clothes into a washer ($1.25 plus 50 cents for a small box of All), then we shouldered our packs and hiked down a few hundred yards to a Stewart's Shop where we each bought a coke and then called Grandma on the pay phone to report our progress ("no service" again on the cell phone). We sat at one of Stewart' shaded picnic tables to have lunch of salami & provolone on wraps with our cokes. We placed our boots in the sun in the parking lot and gave our feet a chance to air dry.

Jonathan happy at our lunch stop at Stewart's in Long Lake Village (notice boots in the sun)

We need to get a few supplies -- camera battery, more bug repellent, some foot repair items -- and then our main worry is finding a kind soul to transport us the 1.5 miles uphill on Route 28 back to the trail. Of course we have to go dry our laundry and repack first. It's now 1:28 so we have been off the trail for just over an hour and 20 minutes.

very kind man going into Long Lake saw us standing by Stewart's and slowed to offer to turn around & take us back to the trailhead in his truck. Once back at the trail, we thanked him very much for his good deed. We signed the trail register at 3:15 PM & made Kelly Point lean-to at 4:43.

Getting back on the trail after our stop in Long Lake Village.  36.4 miles to go!

Our lean-to at Kelly Point on Long Lake.

Two days to go now and I'm really beginning to believe we will finish. Time will tell!

We did have some delay this morning at Tirrell Pond when we untied our bear bag early in the morning & it just stayed there in the air! The rope was wedged tightly into the "V" in the hanging branch & we couldn't get it to budge. Finally I unwrapped my walking staff and used the emergency reaching hook that's been wrapped under the emergency line/handgrip for almost 6 years. The hook screwed into the top of the staff & we hooked the carabiner & dragged down the bear bag. 

When we went to the beach to get water to iodine for our trek, we met one of the 4 Ohio folks (Eric) from last night. He was paddling in one of the aluminum canoes using two pieces of wood the size of large books -- one in each hand -- and moved slowly toward us. We all watched a group of about 10 - 12 mergansers make all kinds of commotion in the shallows fishing for small fry, completely oblivious or unconcerned with our presence. Eric told us they tried to use our bear bag but couldn't get everything up -- so he thought they got it jammed for us. He told us they ended up putting their food into a canoe out in the lake! We explained how we got the bear bag down, said goodbye & were on our way. 

We again set a very quick but steady pace that got us into a rhythm that was easier than our earlier stop & go.  The upgrade was quite strenuous & we agreed it was best that M & C had not attempted this part of the trail. The muddy bogs are still with us, but much less frequent and large. 

An old screened-in spring house off in the woods along the trail up Long Lake

Supper tonight was those rice dinners I purchased at Giant & JPT really liked the rice and chicken, but not the rice with broccoli & cheddar cheese -- though we each ate half of both!

We were very thirsty today after our exertion & each consumed 5 cups of lemonade with supper along with our usual hot chocolate and tea. Had a very small fire to try to keep deer flies away (the insect varmint of choice tonight) and also used the fire to burn our oven bags that we cooked supper in.

Once again we hung our packs as well as the bear bag since the guidebook warns again that the site is a favorite for raccoons & porcupines. We have yet to have any nocturnal visitors & we want to keep it that way.

Hanging our packs at Kelly lean-to

We enjoyed two swims tonight -- one immediately upon arrival and setting up in the lean-to in order to wash off the trail sweat & grime & cool our aching feet. The other swim was just before going to bed at 7:00. I read JPT yesterday's journal entry & we listened to the family in the shelter 60 feet from ours for a few minutes -- no noteworthy items of conversation -- but we hope they are clean campers & don't attract animals into our common sites. We're a little dubious as it seems they canoed in & carried lots of gear up in what appears to be open, empty white drywall joint compound buckets! We've done what we can to secure our site, so we hope the critters visit the neighbors & not us. 

JPT is asleep now. We have a wonderful breeze coming off the lake and look forward to a deep, restful night before we attempt somewhere between 14 and 18 miles tomorrow! It is 8:50 PM as I put down the pen and listen to the wind come over the water & up onto our point overlooking Long Lake.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

All images from originals in the family collection.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 

Copyright 2015, John D. Tew
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Travel Thursday (March 12, 2015) -- Northville-Placid Trail Part 9

Day 7, Saturday, August 15

Awake today at 6:00 AM, but at JPT's request we stayed in bed until 6:30 -- which turned to 7:00 as I read aloud my last two day's journal entries. The loons on Stephens Pond were calling to us in the early morning and just laying there listening was a soothing joy -- especially as we have a short hike to Lake Durant & can allow ourselves this wilderness pleasure.

Early morning view of Stephens Pond from our lean-to

When we retrieved our bear bag, we saw a merganser rise and fly low over Stephens Pond and noticed he stayed below the level of the dark tree line so he could not be seen against light sky above. JPT later saw a small ribbon snake on the trail.

Bear bags hanging over the water at Stephens Pond

We got back on the trail at 8:30 AM and hiked down to Lake Durant campground arriving at 10:05. We inquired about a camp store -- there is none, so no cold drinks. BUT they did have hot showers available -- 8 luxurious minutes for a quarter! We had two quarters & Molly got 4 more from the ranger so JPT and John had a real hot shower lasting 24 minutes each! We washed our hair, water shoes & backpacking towels with minty Dr. Bronner's & emerged new men even though we donned the same 2-day-old, smelly shorts & T-shirts.

The ranger gave us permission to leave our packs on his HQ porch & go to NY28 cross over to meet G&G and Christopher by noon. We actually left early & met them within 2 minutes of when they arrived around 11:10. After some discussion & on the ranger's recommendation we all drove to the GU [Grand Union grocery store] at Indian Lake for a resupply of ibuprofen, 3X4 gauze for JPT's foot, pop tarts for quick trail breakfasts & granola bars for JPT. We also got cold cokes & Little Debbie's oatmeal sandwich cookies as a treat.

Back at Lake Durant campground, the ranger allowed us in free to do our food drop at a picnic area and we commandeered two tables -- one for Grandma's delicious lunch of roast beef sandwiches, cold OJ, bananas, grapes, cold milk, LP water, cookies, pickles, apples & nectarines. The other table & a hillside spot of sunlight across the road was used to dry wet socks, clothes backpacking towels, etc., and to display all our equipment for lightening in anticipation of three 15-mile days starting tomorrow to finish up at Avery Rd. in Lake Placid on Tuesday! We got rid of extra clothing, backpacking saw, 2nd bear bag, water filter, (we'll boil and use the quicker iodine) and other items. We carefully selected no-cook or quick-cook meals from the food supply box in G&G's car trunk -- three breakfasts, three suppers and the lunches. Resupplied wraps, salami & cheese are again a big favorite with lemon drink too.

We talked to the ranger who had been examining the medallions on our hiking staffs while we were shopping in Indian Lake. He wanted to know if we were Eagle Scouts. We told him JPT is working on Eagle now and I only made Star, but went to Philmont in 1967 & the National Jamboree in Idaho in 1969. Turns out the ranger is an Eagle from Warren, NJ who went to the 1953 Jamboree at Irvine Ranch, California and also attended Philmont in the 1950s. He recalls a whole train load of Scouts going west from NJ to the Jamboree.

Tirrell Pond

We finally repacked our bags with food for 3 1/3 days and headed for the trailhead on NY28 where we waved goodbye to G&G, Molly and Christopher as they drove by. We signed the DEC register at 2:28 PM behind "Dan & Dan" just as two women emerged to sin out of their day trip. When asked, they said they saw someone at first Tirrell Pond lean-to, but did not go up to the one at the top of the pond. We disappeared back into the woods and pressed on at JPT's blistering pace & covered the 4.3 miles in 1 hour and 32 minutes arriving at the northern Tirrell lean-to at 3:50 PM. It was occupied by a young Ohio couple who were waiting for 2 friends to join them & we arrived to interrupt their little siesta. They very graciously allowed us use of the shelter to put up our tent against the vicious skeeters (worst yet) & to ensure a dry tent for a quick getaway early tomorrow. They returned to their nap while we had a great invigorating swim on the long, wide sandy beach at the top of the Pond with beautiful vies of the rock cliffs of Tirrell Mountain.

John just before a swim in Tirrell Pond

Jonathan just before a swim in Tirrell Pond

We saw lots of animal prints in the sand -- mostly raccoons it seems as the guidebook says the Tirrell lean-tos are frequented by porcupines and raccoons. We also saw what we are pretty sure are coyote prints & took a photo of them. We picked a few blueberries along the beach while we were there.

Tracks on the beach at the north end of Tirrell Pond believed to be coyote tracks

When we returned to the lean-to, we quietly set up our tent in the shelter & began supper by boiling pond water. The couple -- Nicole & Matt -- were still napping at 5:30 when their two male friends (Steve and Eric) arrived from a side hike up Blue Mt. They all decided to camp together in the tents well away from the lean-to & assured us we were welcome to it. As I write they they are singing and conversing and enjoying a night in the wilderness. They had talked about going out on the pond in two aluminum canoes that are inexplicably beached upside down without paddles or any signs of ownership here at the top of the pond. Its good to hear them as several minutes ago we heard the crash of a major tree (the third one we've heard on this trek) come from the rough dissection of their camp. I had called out twice "Is everyone O.K" & when no one answered was about to venture over to make sure no one was hurt -- then the singing began.

Ohio couple (Nichole & Matt) at Tirrell lean-to with all our gear in the lean-to

Just after supper of couscous, veg soup mix and all the Vienna sausage we thought we had refused in the repacking -- with obligatory lemonade & hot chocolate and tea, we hung our bear bag filled to the brim, then called Grandma to let her know where we were & all was O.K. We were sure we could get a cell as we could look up on Blue Mt. & see two antennas in plain view.

Our site companions were invited to tie up their bear bags using our carabiner & line set up and they gladly took advantage of our already sited and hung location. We hope to get up at 6:00 & be on the trail by at least 7:30 to get 15 miles to Kelly Pt. lean-to on Long Lake before dark. Tomorrow looks very challenging as we ascend to the highest point on the trail -- 3,000 ft. and still have much of our 15 miles to go.

Just as I was finishing this at 10:00 a couple emerged from the woods with head lamps, coming from the north on the NPT that comes into the left side of the shelter. Randy and Laurie are their names and they started at 8:00 PM! They wanted to go to the beach so I gave them directions, but warned of the bear tracks seen earlier. They had been caving today at "Chimney Rock"(?). I invited them to use the other half of the lean-to with their tent as the skeeters are very unary tonight. We tied our packs into the trees for the first time due to the known prevalence of bandit raccoons & porcupines in this area. I just don't want our equipment destroyed by them looking for food.  I end this late tonight -- 10:15. We'll see if Randy and Laurie join us later, but I'll probably be asleep as JPT has been for an hour already.

Loons again on the pond & calling goodnight to us. 

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 

Additional Glossary terms:  

Pond vs. Lake -- there is lots of debate about the differences between these two classifications for bodies of water and a Google search can provide lots of information on the various use and meaning of the terms.  Suffice it to say that size, depth, or shape of the body of water does not alone determine the classification.  Some ponds are bigger and deeper than some bodies of water designated as lakes -- and certainly vice versa since generally water bodies called lakes tend to be bigger than ponds.  Some folks view a lake as a body of water that moves in a continuous flow and direction fed by rivers, creeks, or springs (lotic waters) while a pond does not since it is the result of rain runoff or perhaps trapped glacial melt deposit (lentic). Lentic waters gradually fill in over long periods of time and the evolution is thus slowly from lake to pond to wetland. Tirrell Pond is a very large pond and most would consider and call it a lake if they did not know the name of the body of water.  

Carabiner -- is a metal loop with a spring-loaded (or screw-closure) gate that is used to quickly and reversibly connect components. They are mostly used in safety-critical systems such as technical climbing, but are very convenient for attaching bear bag straps and the haul line for quick release and to prevent knotting of the line on the straps. For more and photos see here

Skeeters -- mosquitos along the trail (especially when encountered in large, hungry, and annoying numbers).

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 

All images are from originals in the collection of the author.  
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Copyright 2015, John D. Tew
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _