Thursday, February 26, 2015

Travel Thursday (February 26, 2015) -- Northville-Placid Trail Part 7

Day 5, Thursday, August 13

Signaling the start of Day 5 before leaving West Canada Creek lean-to 

Up at 6:10 AM to a very cold, damp morning at the West Canada Creek lean-to. We could see our breath & had a hard time getting out of our warm sleeping bags. Almost none of our clothing & gear that was hung all over the shelter dried over night so we were into poly-pews & Thorlos that were wet once again. Breakfast was granola bars, cinnamon pop tarts, hot chocolate, & coffee/tea. We were on the trail by 7:40 and soon came to South Lake lean-to where we went in to check the much touted view. Three men were there who were headed to Third Cedar lean-to. The two guys we saw at 2nd Spruce at lunch yesterday didn't get the South Lake lean-to & were still in bed when we saw them in tents on the shore of South Lake. We continued on and stopped for lunch at the edge of Third Cedar. Here the three guys passed us as did the two who tented at South Lake. The trail today had numerous black, muddy, boot sucking bogs, but nothing like yesterday.

South Lake

Molly and Jonathan on bridge at South Lake

South Lake bog

A section of trail consisting of boot sucking mud

JPT's staff measures 6 inches of boot sucking mud on the trail

We seemed to find our trail legs today & moved quite steadily to lunch & up to 3:00 or so talking often while hiking. It seems we get quiet & into our own thoughts of discomfort, contemplation & simply enduring as we begin to fatigue. We set a 13-mile goal in order to get to Lake Durant food drop on time & pushed to get down the trail. We all had our moments of testiness, but had lots of laughs too!

Beaver lodge in a meadow bog

Molly on split-log bridge

At Beaver Pond/Cedar Lake J & JPT went in for a quick swim & shampoo despite spotting a leech. JPT's ankle abrasion worsened & the mole skin took off some scabbed skin, so we gauzed and horse wrapped it at lunch while we put all our wet clothing to dry in spots of sun through the tree canopy. Lunch was the last of the salami & cheese on wraps with lemon drink and trail gorp.

John and Jonathan taking a swim break

At Beaver Pond we saw lots of cedar waxwings & a chipmunk who came 3/4 the way across the bridge at us then retreated. Moments later he came back & determinedly crossed over what he obviously considered his bridge. We heard and saw an osprey flying around. Saw lots of deer tracks in the muddy trail, but no deer. Bear scat & some obvious bear prints, but no bear sightings.

After a nice swim off the chipmunk's bridge. [Note JPT's horse wrapped right ankle.]

At Cedar Lake lean-to we saw a couple & their daughter with a barking golden retriever and we just passed by with a quick "Hello." A short way down the trail we caught & passed the two guys from lunch at 2nd Spruce who missed out on the South Lake lean-to and had to tent on the South Lake shore. They were already camped by the Cedar River & so were calling it a day. 

We signed the DEC register at 3:00 PM & started our 5-mile trek to Carry lean-to further up the Cedar. The hiking was steady & had many muddy, boggy areas where the trail was all but destroyed. As we got more tired, we all got a bit more cranky & trail talk came to an end as we plodded on.

Jonathan signing the trail register

We met our first N to S trail hikers deep in the woods & exchanged friendly, but quick & perfunctory "Hellos" with "have a great, dry day" and then moved on.

There was real confusion between the guide book & the USGS maps as apparently a new route on the west side of the Cedar was laid out to avoid 3 crossings now under water -- confusion led to more crankiness all around. JPT injured himself in the groin helping Molly on with her pack & we all just hoped to get to Carry lean-to & cook dinner. 

Major disappointment when we arrived finally at about 6:00 PM & found a man and his wife asleep in their tent in the shelter -- they had canoed in. The couple was from Troy, N.Y. and the wife was an LPN (nurse), but we never got their names. We set up camp & had noodle, veggie & ham stew, lemonade & coffee/tea/hot chocolate. The man and his wife proved quite friendly & we shared a fire until we retired to our tents in a small clearing beside the lean-to at 9:00 PM -- too tired to stay up to watch the Perseid meteor display. Motrins all around & in to write today's journal. Lights out at 10:19.  JPT said in his exhaustion today, "No way I'm doing the whole trail." But we'll see.

Bear bags hanging at Carry lean-to

View from Carry lean-to

Molly, Jonathan and the couple from Troy, NY in Carry lean-to at the end of the day

We all passed the 50-mile point today & I'm very proud of both Molly and Jonathan for how well they have done!

Tried the cell phone and got it to roam, but couldn't get through to G&G -- we'll try again tomorrow closer to Wakely Dam.

Saw a small family of common mergansers (ducks) up the Cedar River coming toward our lean-to, but they never came all the way.

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Additional Glossary terms:

Mole skin -- is a blister prevention adhesive plaster with light tan, soft velvety outer covering. It is designed to let any friction occur between a boot/shoe and the moleskin rather than with the skin and thereby stop blisters from developing.  Moleskin should be used as soon as a sore or "hot spot" is noticed on the foot and before a blister can develop.

Horse Wrap -- is a self adherent bandage wrap that adheres to itself without sticky adhesives. It is like 3M Coban Self-Adherent Wrap and similar wraps used by doctors and hospitals, but it is usually much less expensive (at The Tractor Store for farmers in our area) then at drug stores. It comes in widths of 2, 3 or 4 inches last time I looked and is very handy to have as a wound wrap in a backpacking first aid kit.  It came in various colors when the medical version was only basic skin-tone tan and we had bright pink and purple for this trek.  I try not to do any wilderness hiking without at least two rolls of about 5 yards. each.

Trail Gorp -- was originally a trail munch of "Good Old Raisin and Peanuts" (G.O.R.P.). It was intended to be no-cook and a quick sources of protein, fats and sugars for energy on the trail. It was originally a home-made concoction, but as often happens it became a commercial product once a market was known and versions of it can now be brought at 7-11s and in grocery stores. Most backpackers I know sill make their own, but have added M&Ms, various dried fruit bits and a variety of nuts to their "GORP."

DEC Register -- is a weather-protected sign-in sheet at various locations along trails in the Adirondacks -- including at points along the Northville-Placid Trail. "DEC" is the New York State "Department of Environmental Conservation," which has responsibility for so-called back country camping. Registration at points on trails makes it easier to determine where hikers have been and when in the event of missing people or emergencies. One should always sign in at any register along a wilderness trail like the NPT. 

USGS Maps -- are topographical maps that have by now been done for almost the entire United States. They are done on a smaller scale than the trail map in the NPT guide -- so they are larger and bulkier. We carried USGS maps as back-ups and dropped off the used ones at each of the two food drops so we only carried the ones we would need for the next sections of the trek.

Motrin -- the commercial version of the now over-the-counter ibuprofen. Always a good thing to carry on long treks through the back country in the event of injuries and or just significant muscle fatigue/swelling after a particularly long or rough day on one's feet with a full backpack!

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All images are from originals in the family collection.
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Copyright 2015, John D. Tew
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1 comment:

  1. I'm still enjoying this series and loved your "View from Carry lean-to" photo.