Thursday, February 5, 2015

Travel Thursday (February 5, 2015) -- Northville-Placid Trail Part 4

Our second day on the trail, the goal was to complete just over 9 miles from our tenting stay at Canary Pond to the lean-to at Hamilton Stream. The trail book entry for Day 2 and related photos are presented below.

Day 2, Monday, August 10th

Up at 6:15 & had breakfast of oatmeal & raisins, lemon drink, pop tart, hot chocolate & coffee. On the trail at 8:40 while the two young women were still breaking camp.

Lunch stop at the Mud Lake lean-to

Hiked 3.2 miles to the lean-to at Mud Lake where we had lunch just after noon -- PB&J on wraps, the last of the salami & lemon drink with granola bars. The two young women arrived as we left & headed for Whitehouse 2.5 miles up the trail. We arrived at the suspension bridge & spent almost 2 hours in the water of the Sacandaga River. We filled our water bottles here & discovered we had to clean the filter often to have it work at an acceptable speed.

On the suspension bridge over the Sacandaga River

Molly filling water bottles in the Sacandaga River with the bridge in the background 

Fun in the Sacandaga River

More fun in the Sacandaga River

By the time we arrived here, we had seen a spectacular beaver meadow with an abandoned lodge & we got water from the stream just below the dam. We used the back-up Polar Pure iodine system for the first time & flavored it with lemon for lunch -- not bad at all.

Abandoned beaver lodge in a what is now a "beaver meadow" 

The two women caught us & left ahead of us as we left Whitehouse bound for Hamilton Brook lean-to. We had our first rain in intermittent, brief showers that rarely got to us thru the tree canopy, but did break out the pack covers twice -- just as the rain stopped!

We saw lots of orange/brown salamanders on rocks in the trail -- they moved slowly & almost stepped on several. Frogs jumped into almost every small brook and stream we crossed. Still lots of toads & one chipmunk, but no other wildlife to speak of until we saw a kingfisher at the Sacandaga River.

We did see a group of young girls -- perhaps 8, just before Whitehouse. They said they were from Camp Chingagook & were bound for Canary Lake [sic]. Seemed like a late start as we saw them at 1:35 & they didn't carry a lot of obvious overnight equipment.

We encountered more than a dozen blow downs obstructing the trail -- some with huge trees that required careful maneuvering around. Lots of black, muddy bog areas in the trail too -- boot sucking mud.

Blow downs obstructing the trail

The infamous "boot sucking mud" in a section of the trail

Molly took charge of the trail guide & read out our progress "by the book." We had a good laugh when she said a "pasteurized" -- or was it "past-your-eyes" -- footbridge lay ahead. It turned out to be a "pressurized" timber footbridge!

"Dear Ashley" jokes were frequent as we kidded Jonathan about his on-going letter to Ashley and made reference to our trail demeanor, i.e.

     "Dear Ashley: We had to kill Dad today. He was having far too much fun bouncing down the trail and leading this expedition."

We met several hikers going south on the trail for day hikes around Wells -- including a family of four who took our map pocket & map when it was left 15 feet from our pack line on the north side of the suspension bridge at Whitehouse. We originally put our packs against a spruce tree & the pitch got on JPT's pack so we moved 15 feet away.  John left the map by the tree & it was gone when we were ready to leave. John went back across the bridge & up the stone bed to the family & sure enough they had it! Somehow they thought it was abandoned though they asked if we were hiking the N-LP Trail & the map highlighted the trail in yellow!? The husband acted very embarrassed so we left it as a silly faux pas & went on our way after retrieving it.

We did not see the two women again though we thought they might put in at Hamilton lean-to. It was empty when we arrived less than a minute before it began to pour.

Supper was eggs with baco-bits & blueberry pancakes, lemon drink & hot chocolate & tea at JPT's suggestion. We rigged a tarp to cook under away from our sleeping quarters in the lean-to where we put up the tents to keep bugs off us & equipment up to dry for a quick exit in the morning -- we need to make 6 miles to Piseco Post Office by 12:00 to meet Grandma & Grandpa O'Kane for our first food drop & need to have a trail breakfast to get on the trail very early. It's still pouring & we hope it's over by tomorrow or it will be a miserable hike -- though maybe bug free for the first time.

Cooking tarp away from the lean-to. Svea stove with pot on top of it is seen lower center of photo.

Molly, John and C. took a cold bath in the Hamilton Brook with Dr. Bronner's -- JPT chose to stink another day! We were in bed at 8:15 & as I end this day's entry it is 9:29 and raining hard & steady.  Molly is asleep and snoring -- the boys are quiet in the tent abutting ours.

Up for a wet, early-morning start from Hamilton Stream lean-to.  The three fingers signifies the start of Day 3 on the trail.
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Additional Glossary terms:

Baco-bits -- are little bits of bacon that come in a plastic container about the size of a salt shaker.  They travel well, don't need refrigeration, and can be sprinkled on eggs to give a bacon flavor to them and some crunch.  They used to be available in most grocery stores. 

Beaver Meadow -- "The beaver meadow is considered by many to be the most valuable of all meadow types. Where waterways—creeks, streams, or rivers—are blocked or slowed by beaver structures, a creeping wetland is created. In addition to the myriad species that thrive in such a locale, the wetlands act as enormous biological ļ¬lters. Beaver-created wetlands not only cleanse the water, but in detaining it permit the percolation of that water to the layer that holds groundwater. When a given dam is abandoned—the beaver having eaten their way through the softwood trees (aspen, cottonwood, willow) and moved on—the land will quickly revert to forest, but with a revitalized soil base. Such is the case with western New York’s BeaverMeadow Creek Park, as well as Beaver Meadow Falls near Lake Placid in the Adirondacks."  From

Dr. Bronner's -- is a very popular biodegradable castile soap with a strong mint odor. It has been very popular with backpackers over the years.

Map Pocket -- refers to a transparent, heavy-mil plastic pouch much like a zip-lock bag that is used to keep a map clean and dry so it can be consulted even under rainy conditions.

Svea -- is the Svea 123, a brand of popular liquid fuel (white gas) backpacking stove from Sweden. The stove is made of solid brass, weighs about 19 oz., and can burn for over an hour on a full fuel tank.

Trail Breakfast -- is a no-cook meal that can be eaten while hiking on the trail.  A get up and go meal. 

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All photos are by the author or other family members and are in the family collection.
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Copyright 2015, John D. Tew
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