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Old 09-10-2017, 09:29 AM   #1
czapranski
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Join Date: Sep 2017
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Cranberry 50 Trip Report Sept. 2017

Cranberry Lake Trip Report September 04 to September 08, 2017

September 04, 2017 (up and down pleasant hike – few deer flies and lots of misquotes)
Parked at the DEC Boat Launch off Route 3 just East of Cranberry Lake Village.
Hiked clockwise to get the road walk out of the way in the beginning through Cranberry Lake then drop into the woods off Rte. 3 just East of the DEC campground. We met a woman and dog and a young female/male couple during the road walk that parked off the East Connecter Trail (Just East of the DEC Campground off Rte. 3 were we entered the woods) they were hiking counterclockwise and getting the road walk done first as well…. Albeit it in the opposite direction. We all thought we would see pass each other on the trail in the next few days. That did not happen.
Began road hike at 10:00 AM. Enter the woods East of the DEC campsite (recommend you recon the area first which can be done in 40 minutes the day you start your hike) and within 5 minutes, 2 of the 3 hikers apply DEET due to mosquitos. Breeze is strong out of the South and the sun is shining and humidity low. Great hike into “night one” camp – A primitive campsite on East Inlet Flow. We end the day with dry socks/boots and high spirits at a beautiful waterfront campsite. We set our hammocks with tarps and hit the sack. About 10PM thunder and lightning rolls in with vicious winds and intense rain. It does not let up. The wind is unrelenting with strong gusts you can hear coming a minute before they arrive. It is a kind of a growl growing closer. Good water and average privy at this site.
September 05, 2017 (endurance hike – wet muddy and minor mosquitos)
Wake up to no rain but with everything saturated. Temp 61 Degrees. Delayed getting on the trail as everything is soaked. Two of the hikers are new to backpacking so packing up and getting on the trail is a new experience and a learning one. We all remember those days. On the trail by 9:45 with sights set for a lean-to at Olmstead Pond about 13 miles away. It rained and then it poured and then it poured again. All day long we slogged through. The trails were greasy and every root and rock was slippery. Water began running down the trails and beaver dam crossings were overflowing. The temp was in the 50’s so we hiked in shorts and short sleeve tops and just decided to forgo rain gear and be wet because we felt like we were in a sauna with rain jackets (high quality ones but they can’t breathe with the humidity at 100% on both sides of the fabric). Bugs not bad due to the heavy rain but we all encounter deer fly’s which we had not expected this late in the year. Not a big issue 6 or 7 each for the entire day. Got to the lean-to which was not occupied at 6:30 after nearly a 2-hour hike from a DEC signpost that said it was 1.5 miles. They say it was more than 2 miles and complain. I get it - late in the day it is hard to cross swampy wet crossings which was the last 0.5 miles. I tell my hiking friends new to this sport that there are three kinds of miles: DEC Miles, real miles and Adirondack miles. What they just witnessed was Adirondack miles. Then like magic the rain stopped. Good water and privy. Leant-to is clean and well maintained. Built a fire to dry boots and socks with some success though all the wood was soaked. We stashed some wood under the lean-to for so the next guests would have dry wood for a fire. Rain returned late evening and it rained most of the night.
September 06, 2017 (a day of elevation challenges – mud, no-see-ums and a few mosquitos)
Loons started calling off the pond at 06:30 – what a way to wake up. Wind is quiet and rain has stopped though drippings from the trees continue. Woke everyone up at 7:30 with a planned departure of 08:30. Temp. is in the low 50’s but comfortable. We break camp hoping for some sun, or at least no rain. The goal today is the lean-to between high Falls and High Rock. Everyone is a bit sore from the mileage yesterday so we decide to play it by ear. The rain holds off but we never see the sun. We leave camp at 9:10 and take our time as the water is even higher and everything remains wet and slippery. We get to the cut-off to High Falls and decide to take a short day and dry things out. We reach the lean-to (West or 1) at 2:40 and it is unoccupied. What a gorgeous site! Looked briefly for the second lean-to but did not find it. This is a great campsite. Lean-to is in decent shape but the privy is unusable (overflowing and disrepair). We set our camp and clean up in the chilly water. Water is running high so rock side in the river is cat. 4 white water. Campsite 17 is trashed with food, 5 pairs of new water shoes, towel, trash, NY Times all left behind. They cut live trees for firewood and made notes on the back of a map printed on paper to “hike in, eat, drink, swim” and “It was harder getting here than we thought”. Obviously, they did not care to carry out the weight they carried in. Hope they stay out of the backcountry forever.
We build a fire and toast our socks on sticks like marshmallows with varying results. We hit the sack early and the rain comes.
September 07, 2017 (flat and wide with some road walk good day for high miles – few bugs)
Up the next morning at 07:30 and on the trail by 8:50 with promising skies and dripping leaves. We must make up for a short mile day yesterday and will do 13-14 miles today to get to Cathedral Rock lean-to. This stretch of the trail is flat and wide and well maintained so this is an easy and pleasant hike. Some of the trees are impressive. I wonder at the height and size of the sugar maples and have never seen anything like them even though I tap and produce syrup. We arrive at Wanaka at 1:00 in time for a downpour. It let up after an hour replaced by mostly cloudy skies. We followed the signs through Wanakena (the inset on the CL 50 2017 Five Ponds Partnes Map) guides you through the community. There is another detour due to construction that takes you left into the Ranger School then bear right down to a large building – stay to the left of the building and when your reach the other end you will see dumpsters 100 yards ahead of you – look to the right down at the water and you can see the trail enter the woods. The staff let us put our garbage in the dumpster which lightened our packs. A nice walk up through the woods to the lean to was a pleasant change from the road walk. We reached the unoccupied lean-to at 3:40 and the sun was shining. The lean-to is in good shape and privy is the best we have seen. There is even a dock at this lean-to! We enjoy a swim and last dinner on the trail. We have a fire and use split firewood stacked at the end of the lean-to. At 8 PM the rain arrives and we hit the sack. We have 7 miles left to complete the trail.
September 08, 2017 (the final miles)
Up at 06:00. The rain has stopped and on the trail at 07:20 (the newbies are getting better at getting out of camp). The trail is good with some mild ups and downs but not very quiet as it parallels rte. 3 with audible truck traffic. We arrive at the parking lot at 11:20 completing the CL50!
Notes/Cautions:
1. Except for the first and last day we had wet feet despite waterproof ankle high hiking boots. The boots did not fail but the soaked leaves soaking our legs was ongoing causing water to run down our socks into out boots, plus high water running down h trail aft heavy rain every day/night made it hard to keep dry feet. But we hike in Smartwool so our feet were fine.
2. The trail is confusing in the area of Curtis Pond if doing the trail clockwise. There is a campsite and a few trails lead in different directions including Dog Pond Loop Trail which you do not want. The last blue CL50 marker is in the middle of beaver pond so you traverse around the pond and follow red markers for several miles with no blue markers at all which gave us pause. We did not want to be on Dog Pond Loop Trail but could not find any blue trail markers. The solution is simple map and compass: Dog Pond Loop Trail Travels North and the CL 50 (despite there being np blue trail markers) travels Southeast. So, I simply checked my compass on occasion to be sure we were heading S – SE. There is a downed tree after a short beaver dam where the trail turns a hard right that my hiking partners missed mostly because they thought it was a stream not a trial as it had 3 inches of water rushing down it. Soon thereafter you come to DEC signage that assures you that you are on the CL50. For counter-clockwise hikers the DEC sign explains to follow the red trail markers so no confusion in that direction.
3. We got zero cell service on the trail - Verizon or ATT.
4. Detour through the Ranger School is not clear. When you enter and get to the tee just past the tennis courts take a right down the hill and go along the left of the building. At the end of the long building the trail will be down the hill to the right entering the woods by the lake.
5. No one needed more than ½ once of DEET for entire trip.
6. Two 20 once Gatorade bottles that I carry were plenty as water was frequent provided you can filter or treat it.
7. Plenty of trees for several hammocks at every site we stayed at.
8. Ran across no other hikers the entire trip.
9. Recommend Cranberry Lake 50 map 2017 by Five Ponds Partners. Orderered from Adirondack Mountian Club Monday morning had it in my hands Wedesday.
10. Great experience and I strongly recommend the hike!
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Old 09-11-2017, 01:59 PM   #2
debmonster
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A great trip report! Thanks for sharing and I'm glad to hear that you all enjoyed the hike, despite the wet conditions. If you had to do it again, do you think it would be better (if possible) to start the hike in Wanakena near the ranger school?

So sad to hear of what you found at Site 17. I just don't understand how / why people go to a beautiful location in the woods and then trash it.

And thanks for the note about the Five Ponds Partners CL50 map. I just saw that recently and wondered how good the detail was.
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