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